It’s been a little while! We were visiting my brother in Austin, TX for a week and it’s taken some time getting back into the routine. We had so much fun hanging out with him, exploring Austin and eating our way through the incredible restaurants and food trucks! I bet you’ve never imagine a dietitian would eat Lucy’s Fried Chicken, a “Pumpkinator” cupcake from Hey Cupcake or Texas BBQ When in Rome, right? Seriously though, when you find food that is authentic, homemade and looks amazing you must give it a try! (or at least share!) It’s always fun to discover new places and cuisines that you’d never find at home.
Also congrats to my brother who just passed his PT exam and will be graduating from his program next month!
Here’s a few pictures from our trip…
On another note, I can’t believe how fast this year is flying by! Have you been working on your Thanksgiving menu? Well if you’re looking for a new and delicious fall dessert, I have the perfect recipe for you! Move over plain ol pumpkin pie. Let me introduce you to these easy and amazzzzzzing Lightened Up Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars. And best of all, they are healthier so you won’t feel all guilt of packing on too many calories this Thanksgiving.
I first made these a month ago and have been working on lightening up the recipe a little more. The original recipe already used partial cream cheese and Greek yogurt, but I thought I could make them a little healthier by replacing the butter in the crust for more Greek yogurt, using dark chocolate (and a little less oz.), non-fat cream cheese and whole wheat flour. Meaning….. this recipe has the added benefit of protein and probiotics from the Greek yogurt, along with overall less fat and sugar! Score!
You would never know these pumpkin chocolate cheesecake bars are lightened up. They are so rich, sweet and creamy! The chocolate crust and swirls add an extra dimension of fudgy deliciousness!
I can’t decide which part is my favorite…the pumpkin, cheesecake, or chocolate. Mmm. The perfect trio
These are so simple and because they are cut into bars, it takes the pressure off of creating the perfect shaped whole cheesecake. Plus the bars help with portion control! If you’re like me, you’ll want to sample every dessert on the Thanksgiving table.
If you try these, comment below and let me know how they were!
- 30 chocolate wafer cookies (such as Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers)
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- pinch of salt
- 4-5 Tbsp. plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 3 oz dark chocolate chips
- 8 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened (must be at room temperature when using)
- 1/2 c. plain fat-free Greek Yogurt
- 1 c. pure 100% canned pumpkin
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave some overhang on the sides.
- In a food processor, pulse the chocolate wafers, sugar and salt until ground into small fine crumbs. Add in about 3 Tbsp. of Greek yogurt and pulse. Add 1-2 Tbsp. more as needed until crumbs are moist and stick together. With a spatula, press the crust and flatten evenly into the pan. I found this was easier than using my hands as the crust got really sticky.
- Bake the crust for 13 minutes or until firm then cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven to 325 F.
- While crust is baking, melt the chocolate chips in a glass dish in the microwave for about 30 seconds, mix with a spoon then microwave again until fully melted when mixed. Mine took about 1 min. total. Be careful not to over heat them! Set aside and let them cool to room temperature.
- Clean out the food processor and add the cream cheese (make sure its at room temperature or else it will have lumps!), yogurt and pumpkin. Blend until completely smooth. Add sugar, flour, spices, salt and eggs. Blend to combine.
- Measure out 1/4 c. of the pumpkin filling and mix it in with the cooled down melted chocolate. Pour the remaining filling on top of the crust and smooth out the top with a spatula. With a spoon, drop dollops of the chocolate evenly across the filling. Use a fork to create swirls.
- Bake for about 32 minutes or until the filling is set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. It cuts best if put in the freezer for about 15 minutes before serving.