Happy 1st Birthday Recipe Redux! As the first and only recipe challenge for and by Registered Dietitians, Redux has inspired me to create many healthy and interesting dishes to date. To celebrate, this month’s challenge was to create bite sized celebration desserts. Bite sized desserts have been a huge trend on the wedding and event circuit over the past few years, beginning with small food genius Peter Callahan of 'Bite by Bite'. They allow a mindful way to deliciously celebrate and savor while being nutrition conscious.

These light cheese cake bites make easy ingredient substitutions to reduce sugar and fat. I use Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese, Greek yogurt, less sugar and some whole wheat flour to make each bite a little healthier without sacrificing flavor. Because, really, who wants to eat something healthy that doesn’t even taste good?  Although I have to admit, there is …enough…butter in the batter. A few bite sized cookies are nothing to worry about in the scheme of things.

Lite Cheesecake Thumbprints

Adapted and Health-ified from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook- Makes 30

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Neufchatel Cheese
  • ¼ C sugar (batter) plus 1/8 C sugar (filling)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½  C all purpose flour
  •  ½ C whole wheat flour
  • Raspberries ( or blueberries) for topping
  • Note- protein powder could be added to the filling if desired

Directions:

In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, beat Neufchatel cheese on medium speed until fluffy, scraping sides of the bowl as needed. Add 1/8 C sugar and a pinch of salt, and beat until smooth. Add 1 egg yolk, Greek yogurt, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and transfer to the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F with the racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, ¼ cup sugar on medium until well combined. Add the remaining salt and egg yolk. Beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour, mixing until just combined. Chill for 10 minutes.

Shape tablespoon sized dough bits into balls and place onto parchment paper covered baking sheets. Create thumbprint indentations (I used an index finger to make the holes deeper). Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven and make indentations again. Return to the oven and bake until cookies are golden, 7-9 minutes more. Cool completely.

Fill the center of each cookie with filling, mounding slightly. Return to the oven and bake until the filling is firm, 7 minutes. Transfer and cool again. Top with raspberries. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

 Time to celebrate!

-Carlene RD

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Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.