Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Cheesecake by Any Other Name...

I have a problem. Well, many problems, but for the sake of this blog, let's just focus on the one. There are millions of delicious desserts out there in this world. So many that I have not one but two dessert boards on my Pinterest account dedicated to them. Where's the issue, you ask? They're all absolutely terrible for you. Anything dipped in double layers of caramel and deep fried just can't be good for the arteries. I've been trying my best to come up with desserts that don't rack up over 500 calories and still look like something you'd actually want to eat and not something you'd find on the bottom of your shoe after leaving a farmer's market. I had massive success with the strawberry bars from a couple weeks ago, but since I can't just reblog the same recipe week after week, it was time for experimentation. I decided to take on the cheesecake. Even the name itself sounds completely unhealthy, but there's nothing I love more than cheese or cake, so it was worth a shot.
And I'm really glad I did.
I know what you're thinking...'It looks like a cheesecake. So it either can't possibly taste like one or she's tricking us.' While I have been known to ramble off a lie so convincing a polygraph wouldn't know the difference (I'm still aspiring to become either Lucille Bluth or Mallory Archer, so this is a life goal), I promise you that no wool is being pulled over your eyes. Each slice of this decadent chocolate chip cheesecake is only 260 calories. That's right, it's pretty much the equivalent of eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast every morning but way tastier, so back away from the Raisin-bran. I have yet to try breakfast cheesecake, but since I've found a way to make low cal and delicious cheesecake, anything's possible. Did I tell you it's also insanely easy and quick to make? Because it is. There's even batter licking involved if you're not afraid of salmonella. It's good to boost the ole' immune system now and then.
Still not too good to be true!
Anything with premade pie crust cuts out half the battle. To knock off an extra 10 calories per slice, you can use a reduced fat pie crust. Even though I've moved to a land with a huge commissary, somehow they did not have reduced fat pie crust but Cannon AFB commissary always did. That's essentially my life in a nutshell. To make the cheesecake you'll need:
  • 1 premade pie crust of your choice (graham cracker, shortbread, low fat, etc.)
  • 1 8-ounce brick of reduced fat cream cheese at room temp
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 small container of Yoplait light vanilla yogurt (if you want a different flavored cheesecake like strawberry or key lime, you can always try a container of another flavor)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, mini sized 
  • Optional: additional regular chocolate chips for topping, chocolate syrup for drizzle
Preheat your oven to 350 and find a tray big enough to hold the pie crust. Dump the cream cheese into a large mixing bowl or your stand mixer (I envy you) and blend until fluffy. Then add in the egg whites, yogurt, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend for several minutes until everything is completely smooth. Fold in the mini chocolate chips and pour into the pie crust (smooth out with a spatula as needed):
It is now safe(ish) to lick the beater of your mixer. Just, you know, don't forget to unplug it first. But for scientific tasting reasons, forge on.
Bake your cheesecake for fifteen minutes and then cover it with foil to keep it from browning. Continue baking another ten minutes until the cheesecake is mostly set, like so:
There will still be a little jiggle. But if you've got Jello level jiggle, bake a few extra minutes.
Take the cheesecake off of the pan and let it rest on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before topping with additional chocolate chips for garnish.
It really does look prettier this way, and plus, more chocolate. Woo!
Once you've added the additional chips on top, ignore every fiber of your being and place the cheesecake into the fridge for five hours to set. You could cut the time in half by placing it in the freezer though if your willpower is pretty much nonexistent. Not saying I've done this before (but I totally have).
But totally worth it because then you get to take really pretty pictures of a nicely set cheesecake for all your social media needs. You're welcome.
Okay, full confession time. No, it's not as dense as a full fatty, fat, fat cheesecake. But you won't care because it is still just as delicious without all the guilt and hemming and hawing that comes with trying to logically reason with your waistline as to why cheesecake is a necessary food item. It's incredibly decadent, and adding a drizzle of chocolate sauce on top simply throws this recipe into my list of top five cheesecakes Kate's ever baked. I literally have no regrets with this one. It's simple to make, and  I've crafted a cheesecake that per slice has fewer calories than a PB&J. Plus it won't make you feel like a child while you're eating it, so unlike the PB&J, the chocolate chip cheesecake is a dessert for adults that suffer from an extreme need to eat dessert but still want to fit into their summer clothes. Vanity, thy name is cheesecake. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!

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