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Lightened-Up Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Fresh and delicious, don’t feel guilty about these bars!

When it comes to desserts, we don’t think we’ve come across a lemon treat we didn’t like. Whether it’s lemon cupcakes, lemon bars, or lemon meringue pie, there’s something about the perfectly sweet and tart, mouth-puckering fruit that gets us every time. Unfortunately, sometimes our sweet tooth can get a little out of hand, so we try to find options that are on the healthier side, so we can feel indulgent, without worrying about our waistlines later. Here, we’ve got deliciously citrusy, low-fat, lemon cheesecake bars – they’re silky smooth and absolutely delectable!

The trick to these delicious bars is to use reduced-fat cream cheese and plain Greek yogurt. We also used coconut oil instead of butter in the graham cracker crust, and only added one-third cup of sugar to the cheesecake filling…now that’s something we can feel good about! If you want something a little lighter that still packs a huge flavor punch, these bars are for you!

Serves 9-12

45 minutes active; 3-4 hours inactive

  • For crust:
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • For filling:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 300º F.
  2. Line a 9x9-inch baking dish with foil or parchment. Make sure to leave extra overhang to easily lift bars out of pan when finished.
  3. To make the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs and coconut oil in a medium bowl until completely combined, then firmly press into an even layer in bottom of baking dish.
  4. Place in oven and bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Add cream cheese to a large bowl, and beat with a hand mixer on high speed (or a stand mixer) until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  6. Lower speed to medium, and, one ingredient at a time, add yogurt, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Make sure to completely combine each ingredient before adding the next.
  7. Once filling is completely smooth, pour on top of crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until filling is firm and does not wiggle.
  8. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to refrigerator and let cool an additional 3-4 hours, or overnight.
  9. Once completely chilled, remove from pan with overhanging parchment or foil. Cut into squares, garnish, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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