Healthier Cookie Dough Cheesecake

A whopping two days after my birthday came…my roommate’s birthday. My lovely lovely roommate who also likes to bake, eat, eat out and talk about food almost as much as I do. And although our fridge was still stuffed with leftover cake, I thought she deserved a cake of her own.

A personal sized cake, just for her:

Just kidding. But it was reasonably sized. And almost healthy enough to eat by herself! Ish.

This is the perfect cake to make any of your friends who:

1) Love cookies. Cake is okay, but cookies = love. [I considered this, interpreted with thin chocolate chip cookies, but I thought that might be a bit much. Not to mention weird.]

2) Like all the pomp and circumstance of cake, but really just prefer a chewy cookie, or maybe a few handfuls of gooey cookie dough.

3) Find this attractive. But who may or may not have had some uber rich cakes in the past few days and want a slightly lighter but totally birthday-worthy treat. 

I was dying to try out my lovely birthday present from the attentive bf which made for a rather laborious, unattractive end product. But the taste was surprisingly mind-blowing–a hearty, buttery cookie cake forms a thick base to a very tangy and creamy cheesecake dappled with gooey morsels of healthy cookie dough that I buried in the cheesecake, hoping to disguise the taste. It’s not exactly what you might expect from cookie dough cheesecake, but I think it’s a unique, welcome surprise.

It received rave reviews from the roommate and whether or not she was lying to spare my feelings…I WOULD MAKE THIS AGAIN. (AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.) For. Sure.

Notes

1) This is a three-part creation, though it really only needs to be two steps, if only want to make one cookie dough. There are two cookie recipes below: a more traditional cookie cake that I used for the cheesecake base, and a “super healthy” recipe that remains in dough form and goes inside the cheesecake. You can very easily double the cookie cake recipe and reserve half to use as dough inside the cheesecake. It would not be my personal first choice to use the healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe as the base of the cheesecake since it got rather crunchy and shatter-y when I made cookies with the extra dough.

2) I don’t list any pan sizes below, because I made this in possibly the most clunky method possible. I baked the cookie cake bottom first, in the bottom of this. While it was baking, I made the cheesecake and other cookie dough. Then I took the cookie cake out and put the cookie dough cheesecake mixture in the (very well-greased) top of the cupcake pan and baked that. From the photos, you can tell it obviously did not retain the shape of the cupcake top very well when I plopped it on top of the base.

Next time, I might try making individual cheesecakes in a cupcake tin, putting a ratio of about 1/3 cookie cake to 2/3 cheesecake mixture and baking at 350 for 20-30 minutes together, instead of baking each separately. Or for a longer time in a 6″ springform if you have it, or even a loaf pan (I’d shy away from an 8×8 pan because the cookie cake dough and the cheesecake mixture might be spread too thin) for an unconventional end product.

Chocolate chip cookie cake
Adapted from April J.

4 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1/6 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. flour + 1 tablespoon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Almond milk, optional (or regular)
1/3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.1. Beat butter and sugars together. Add vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until well blended. Add milk, a tablespoon at a time, if mixture is too dry. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Spread dough into pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and top springs back lightly when touched.
Nutrition facts (1/8 recipe)*:  144 calories, 8g fat (5g sat), 17g carbs, 10g sugar, 1.5g protein
 
*I calculated the nutrition facts for 1/8 recipe for the sake of a round number and normal slicing habits. We generally consumed this in 1/10 or 1/12 size slices, which is more along the lines of my suggested serving size.

Cookie dough cheesecake
Cookie dough adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

Halve the cookie recipe if you don’t want extra cookie dough for eating/baking into cookies. But why?

For the cookie dough:

2/3 c. oat flour
1/4 c. ground flax
1/4 c. AP flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. brown sugar  
1/4 c. white sugar
3 tbsp. chocolate chips
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-5 tbsp milk of choice, as needed

For the cheesecake:

4 oz. cream cheese (can use reduced-fat)
1/2 c. Greek yogurt (I like Fage 0%)
1/3 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Make the cookie dough: combine all dry ingredients well. Add vanilla and oil and mix until dough starts to come together. If dough looks too dry, add milk one tablespoon at a time until it forms a smooth dough and you can ball it up. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  2. While cookie dough is chilling, beat the cream cheese, yogurt and sugar together until smooth. Blend in the salt and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add eggs and beat until combined. 
  3. Break up about half the slightly chilled cookie dough into chunks and scatter into the cheesecake batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until edges are set, but the center jiggles slightly when shook. Let cool completely or refrigerate for a few hours before removing from pan.

Nutrition facts (1/8 cheesecake recipe ): 101 calories, 6g fat (3g sat), 9g carbs, 9g sugar, 3g protein
Nutrition facts (1/24 cookie recipe): 50 calories, 2g fat (0.5g sat), 7g carbs, 4g sugar, 0.8g protein

I’ve realized that in my quest to modify desserts to be healthier, I’ve gotten more and more adept at cutting out the fact. What I’ve been doing not-so-well at, however, is cutting down the sugar. Sugar is, of course, the root of all evil and all things delicious. I know there are many substitution options for cutting down sugar–substitutes like stevia, splenda, agave, honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, etc. But sometimes I don’t want the taste that honey adds, I’ve heard that agave is even worse than sugar in some ways (high levels of fructose), splenda is a likely cancerous substance that I’m not willing to use regularly and even though stevia is touted as an all-natural, long-used-by-the-Japanese sweetener, I’m skeptical. I’m thinking that the only way to cut sugar down in recipes is to–well, use less sugar (and eat less). Developing a little-less-sweet tooth wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

Do you have any suggestions for cutting down sugar in baked goods?

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13 thoughts on “Healthier Cookie Dough Cheesecake

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    1. erika Post author

      Thanks Leah! Omg I was looking at this site full of DIY crafts (hello making neon-bottomed heels with nail polish?!) and thought of you! Can’t wait to see what amazing crafty things you come up with for the holidays :)

      Reply
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