New York-style cheesecake is one of my all-time favorite desserts. The combination of toasty, buttery graham cracker crust and thick, tangy cream cheese-loaded cake is at the top of my “favorite indulgences” list, and I have a feeling I’m not alone in this devotion. Not only do I love to eat it, I also love to bake it. I take pride in pulling a perfectly baked cheesecake out of the oven, free of much-dreaded cracks and best eaten when topped simply, with fresh strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.
Unfortunately for my sweet tooth, daily cheesecake consumption doesn’t fall into what’s considered a balanced diet. And as I’ve become older and more aware of the quality and types of food I put into my body, I find myself indulging in this notoriously heavy dessert less often, reserving it for only the most special occasions.
So when the craving struck on a random weekend (no special occasion in sight), it was time to take to the kitchen in search of a healthier, easier-to-make alternative. And thus, these no-bake Greek yogurt cheesecake cups were born.
The texture of these little beauties leans more towards a pot de crème or rich pudding versus a baked version, but the addition of cream cheese (yes, it’s still in there) means plenty of cheesecake’s signature sweet tang. To lighten things up a bit, I’ve substituted half of the cream cheese with thick Greek yogurt, which lends an intensely smooth, creamy texture that’s lighter on guilt but never on flavor. And since I’m always looking for ways to get more protein and probiotics in my diet, these cups are the *perfect* excuse for a little late summer indulging.
I love the idea of serving these to a group in a “build your own” format. Before serving, lay out a spread of fresh fruit, nuts and toasted coconut and then let your guests or little ones top their cups with as much summery goodness as they please. Enjoy!
For the crust:
- 12 graham crackers
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
For the cheesecake:
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (thick or strained brands work best)
- 1/4 cups honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- fresh fruit of your choice (berries, peaches, mango, kiwi)
- slivered almonds, toasted
- shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
- To make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until fine crumbs form. Add the melted coconut oil and pulse until crumbs are moistened and hold together when pinched between your fingers. Divide the crumbs between 4-6 ramekins or dessert cups (depending on desired serving size) and firmly press into the bottoms.
- To make the cheesecake: Clean the food processor so there are no crumbs in your filling, then add all of the cheesecake ingredients to the bowl. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cups. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, place fruit, nuts and shredded coconut into small serving bowls. Allow your guests to top their cheesecake cups with the toppings of their choice and enjoy!