If you haven’t already noticed, this summer I am all about the no-bake desserts. With limited time available and no desire to make the A/C work any harder than it already is, no-bake desserts are a perfect option. Not only are these cherry cheesecake bars an easy summertime treat but they are also a great addition to your 4th of July picnic or party.
As with every dessert I make I try to make it as healthy as possible without the taste being noticeably off. These bars are no different. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust made with fattening butter, this crust is made with olive oil containing heart healthy fats and omega-3 rich walnuts. The walnuts add a touch of extra flavor to the crust to make up for the loss of richness when butter is cut from the equation. To keep saturated fat in check in the filling, regular cream cheese is swapped out for a blend of reduced-fat cream cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt. You can even make these bars gluten-free if you make the simple exchange of gluten-free graham crackers for regular.
Whether you want to pass a delicious dessert at an Independence Day themed picnic/party or simply desire an easy, no bake summer dessert for your family, these no-bake cherry cheesecake bars are sure to never disappoint!
No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars
- Half of a 14 oz. box of Graham Crackers; preferably whole-wheat
- ½ cup chopped Walnuts; toasted
- ¼ cup Sugar
- 1/3 cup light Olive Oil
- 2 (8 oz.) pkg. Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
- 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
- 6 tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 cans Cherry Pie Filling (you may not need all of the 2nd can)
- Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Drizzle with the oil and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 13-x-9 inch baking dish.
- Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over the crust. Spoon the cherry topping over the filling until no filling shows through the topping. Cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: CAROLYN MALCOUN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017
Anything that claims to be no-bake always catches my eye because it is synonymous with quick and easy, two words I enjoy hearing or reading. Being a stay at home mommy I am always looking for things that are quick and easy. Sure I stay home all day but that doesn’t mean I am full of free time. I am constantly doing homework for my college coursework as well as chasing around a very active 21 month old girl, all while trying to combat active Crohn’s Disease, which can sometimes make me want nothing to do with food for extended periods of time. Finding things that are no-bake fit perfectly into my schedule and I’m sure many others who have busy lifestyles. When I am craving something sweet, these bars are quick and take very few ingredients (with most ingredients being pantry mainstays) making them the perfect go-to treat.
If all of that was not enough to entice you into trying these bars, the fact that they taste like a cross between a Rice Krispie Treat and a Baby Ruth should. Peanut lovers will rejoice at these bars that are full of peanut goodness. Not only do these bars use peanut butter but they are also filled with chopped peanuts, making them chewy, crunchy, and all around satisfying.
Since these bars only require six ingredients and are rather simple to make there are not too many warnings to be concerned about. I think the biggest mistake people can make is not greasing the pan liberally enough because these bars are sticky and if you neglect the pan of the grease they need it will surely result in the bars sticking as you try to cut and remove them from the pan. Also be very cautious when melting the chocolate. Melt over a double boiler stirring constantly making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the top pan or melt in a microwave. If you choose to melt in the microwave, do very short intervals and stir a lot to make sure the chocolate melts evenly and does not get overcooked and separate.
Note: The following makes approximately 24 bars. Store in an airtight container. Bars are best consumed within 2 days of being prepared.
No-Bake Goody Bars
- 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Light Corn Syrup
- 1 cup Peanut Butter
- 1 cup Salted Dry-Roasted Peanuts; chopped
- 6 cups Cornflakes
- 1 (12 oz.) bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips; melted
- Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan very well (I used nonstick cooking spray). In a large pot, bring sugar and corn syrup to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the peanut butter and chopped peanuts, stirring until the mixture becomes smooth. Add the cornflakes and gently stir until the peanut butter mixture is evenly distributed (there should not be any dry cornflakes).
- Place the mixture into the greased pan and press evenly across the pan and into the corners with a greased spatula. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the bars and spread evenly with an offset spatula to cover the entire surface (bars should not show from underneath the chocolate). Allow the bars to cool completely and chocolate to set, approximately 30 minutes. Slice to desired size and serve.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014