I’d been scouting around for just the right dessert to share for Fourth of July. Something delicious, pretty, and so easy you could be out enjoying the holiday instead of in your kitchen fussing over pastry. Then, like a minor miracle, into my inbox came a recipe from Snack Girl, who sends me healthy snacking tidbits everyday, for an 87 calorie cheesecake.
87 calories? For cheesecake?
I figured the recipe had to be polluted with all sorts of laboratory-engineered, impossible-to-pronounce ingredients. But that’s not Snack Girl’s style. And alas, the list of ingredients could be recited by any first grader (minus the Neufchatel cheese, unless they’re a French first grader, that is).
The key is relying on low fat dairy products for the filling, using a small cookie for the crust, and keeping the portions petite. Right up my alley. So we gave it a whirl. The cheesecakes were so easy, even a “just turned nine year old” could do the job.
So pull your ingredients together, grab a kid or two, and get baking. It will take you 10 minutes, tops. Even the littlest among you can help with the decorating.
Below you’ll find the recipe, with one minor tweak. I used gingersnaps instead of Nilla wafers. My version pops the calories up to 99 each, but adds a little layer of flavor that goes just right with all those colorful berries, fruits that seem tailor made for the Fourth of July.
MINI BERRY TOPPED CHEESECAKES
Makes 15 mini cheesecakes
Fifteen 1 1/2 to 2-inch ginger snaps (Midel or other brand)
8 ounces Neufchatel cheese (see note)
1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese (no salt added)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries for decorating
Special equipment: paper muffin tin liners
Preheat to 325 F and place rack in center of oven. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Set one cookie into the bottom of each liner.
Put the Neufchatel cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla into a large bowl and use a beater to mix until smooth, with no obvious lumps remaining from the cottage cheese.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin tin.
Bake until the cheesecakes are just firm in the center, 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and chill. Decorate with berries just before serving.
Note: Neufchatel cheese is similar in taste and texture to cream cheese, although naturally has about 1/3 of the fat.
Adapted from a recipe by Lisa Cain