Lightened-up lemon blueberry cheesecake bars

lightened-up lemon blueberry cheesecake barsI’ve never met a cheesecake I didn’t like. You name it — chocolate, cherry, strawberry, blueberry…the decadent creaminess is something that I crave every so often. That being said, I’m SO happy that lightened-up cheesecake exists (mostly thanks to Greek yogurt)! Since blueberries are in season and we had a few cartons in the fridge, I decided to try out a lemon-blueberry version of these cheesecake bars. They turned out AMAZING and they were a huge hit with the hubby (and his best man)!

lightened-up lemon blueberry cheesecake barsI used coconut oil to make the graham cracker crust, which gave the bars a very subtle coconut flavor. The thick layer of cheesecake filling is densely sweet, tart and ridiculously creamy with little bursts of lemon zest and blueberries in each bite. Let me tell you, these taste exactly like the real thing but you’ll never miss the fat and calories! The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for them to chill for 3 hours, so plan ahead!

Lightened-up lemon blueberry cheesecake bars
Yield: 16 servings | Serving size: 1/16 of recipe
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 40 mins | Total time: 55 mins

Ingredients:
Crust:
9-10 graham cracker half-sheets, coarsely ground (1 cup)
2 and 1/2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or butter or margarine)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Filling:
1 8-oz package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 single-serve package of plain 0% Greek yogurt (about 3/4 cup)
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions:
1. Line an 8×8 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. In the bowl of a food processor*, place graham cracker sheets and pulse until coarsely ground and crumbs fill 1 cup.
4. Transfer graham cracker crumbs to a medium mixing bowl and mix with melted coconut oil with your hands until combined.
5. Transfer graham cracker mixture to prepared pan, pressing mixture into the bottom of the pan to cover.
6. Bake crust uncovered for 7-8 minutes until golden-brown then remove from oven and set aside.
7. In the bowl of food processor, place cream cheese, yogurt, flour, vanilla, sugar, egg whites and blend until combined.
8. Add lemon zest and juice and pulse until combined.
9. Pour filling mixture over crust in prepared pan and smooth it out with a spoon or spatula. Drop blueberries on top of filling.
10. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered, then cover with aluminum foil for another 7-10 minutes until cheesecake is set.
11. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes) then chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before cutting into 16 pieces. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
*I used a food processor for both the crust and filling, but if you don’t have one…don’t worry! You can crush the graham cracker crumbs with a Ziploc bag and meat tenderizer (or back of a spoon), and you can mix the filling with a handheld mixer.

Recipe adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction
Photography: Lighten Up Recipes


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