One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving has always been cooking with my mom in the kitchen. I will be totally honest with you though, I was never a big fan of the actual eating part of the Thanksgiving food. Not because I was scared to take in all the calories, although that definitely caused some issues later on in my teenage years, but before all of that I just didn’t really like the types of foods served. My mom had to make me baked beans and our famous green jello that I would eat as my dinner until it was time for dessert (because I was ALWAYS up for the sweets).
I have definitely changed my ways when it comes to all the dishes served and now I pretty much love everything that Thanksgiving food has to offer but I still haven’t changed the fact that dessert is always my favorite.
I joined Recipe Redux last month, where I get to share a themed recipe once a month with other dietitians who love to create fun, healthy recipes. I was so excited when I found out the first theme for this month was “Trimming The Table” and showing off your healthy holiday dessert (because I am all about the dessert...if you haven’t already gathered that).
I decided to create a recipe that was a combination between my husband’s favorite dessert and a Thanksgiving tradition. My husband LOVES cheesecake about as much as I love Friends and Coffee, it is scary how much he loves it. I have actually never made a cheesecake before (or for him) because I never thought I could make it as good as they serve it up in restaurants and I would want to make it a bit healthier so he may just hate it. I decided to give it a try though and ohhhh boyyyy was it good (and so easy)!!!!
I added some full fat greek yogurt in replace of some of the cheese and used a healthier crust to cut some of the sugar and fat out. I topped this beauty with a caramel pecan mixture that is absolutely delicious and was hard to not lick it out of the pan. I will quit my rambling though and let you just give it a try for yourself...
What Do You Need?
For The Crust:
- 1 1/2 cup of low fat graham crackers crumbs
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For The Filling:
- 2 packs regular cream cheese (8 ounce packs)
- 1 cup full fat greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
For The Topping:
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 7 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1/8 tsp salt
How Do You Make It?
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Crumble your graham crackers and measure it out (I threw the graham crackers in a bag and used a rolling pin to break them apart). Mix together the crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T sugar in a medium bowl and stir well but keep it crumbly.
- Press the crumbs onto the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan and a little bit up on the sides but not all the way up. Bake the crust for about 5 minutes and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and greek yogurt and mix with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Combine the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust making it as even as possible. Place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, it may still be somewhat jiggly in the middle when you remove from the oven and that is okay.
- Once the cheesecake is cooled down, place it in the refrigerator (I placed mine in the freezer to speed up the process and it still was delish) and wait about 45 minutes to an hour.
- While you are waiting, you can dish up the caramel topping by combining the brown sugar, whipping cream, butter, vanilla extract, and salt in a large saucepan. Stir until combined and then let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove caramel mix from the heat (will still be pretty thin) and let it sit for about 30 minutes or until it is thickened. Pour in the chopped pecans and mix well.
- Pull the cheesecake out of the refrigerator or freezer and pour the caramel mix on top, creating an even amount all over. Place the finished product back into the fridge to sit for about 2 hours minimum or overnight so it can be ready to serve up and enjoy.