Recipe: No-Bake Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes

Cheesecake was my favorite kind of cake when I was growing up. In fact, every year on my birthday, my family would get two cakes — a yellow or chocolate cake for the normal birthday partygoers and a mini cheesecake for moi.

But as I got older, my cheesecake affinity was minimized by the realization that cheesecake, laden with cream cheese, sour cream and sugar, was not the healthiest choice.

Well, I’m happy to now say that cheesecake is back. And it’s better than ever. These mini cheesecakes are perfectly portioned and super easy to make, and they don’t require an oven.

And in honor of the holiday season, I made a spiced version reminiscent of festive gingerbread cookies. I used Neufchatel cheese, which contains one-third less fat than cream cheese, and low-fat Greek yogurt for the creamy, better-for-you filling.

Serve these up at the holidays alongside your holiday cookie platter and they’re sure to be a hit.

No-Bake Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup walnuts

1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (about 9 or 10 dates)

8 ounces Neufchatel cheese

1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup molasses

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse dates and walnuts until a fine, crumblike consistency is formed. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners and divide walnut-date mixture evenly among cupcake liners (about 1 heaping tablespoon each). Press the walnut mixture down into the liners to form a crustlike consistency. Store “crust” in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to harden.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, add Neufchatel cheese, Greek yogurt, sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves, and using an electric mixer, beat to a smooth consistency.

Spoon cheesecake mixture over crust into each cupcake liner (approximately 1/4 cup each).

Let sit in freezer for 30 to 60 minutes or refrigerate overnight to set. If frozen, let cheesecake sit out on counter for 20 to 30 minutes to defrost before serving.

Optional: Garnish with whipped cream, crushed gingerbread cookies and/or cinnamon.

Note: Keep in the refrigerator until right before ready to serve. If these stay out at room temperature too long, they start to lose their firm consistency.

Per serving: Calories 190; Fat 10 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 15 mg; Sodium 75 mg; Carbohydrate 22 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugars 19 g; Protein 5 g; Vitamin A: 4% DV; Vitamin C: 0% DV; Calcium: 6% DV; Iron: 4% DV

Spread the holiday cheer with more delicious dishes and drinks:

Spirited Desserts Across the Country

6 Things You Can Make with Hot Cocoa Mix

Bobby Flay's Holiday Drinks

Slow-Cooker Holiday Party Recipes

How to Make Edible Holiday Centerpieces

Kara Lydon, R.D., LDN, RYT, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, yoga teacher and self-proclaimed foodie. She is a recipe developer, food photographer, writer and spokesperson. Her food and healthy living blog, The Foodie Dietitian, features seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more mindfulness and yoga into your life.

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