GFGL RECIPE BLOG: Nutella Graham Cracker Crust Cheesecake


This recipe will pay homage to my lovely mother. I decided to create a birthday cake to give to the lovely woman who gave me not just life, but the strength, creativity, and independence that has made me who I am today.  Our house rule is that it’s not officially your birthday until you blow out a candle. Being that that was the only criteria, I had a lot of wiggle room. Like I’ve mentioned countless times before, I get a small joy from putting healthy tweaks on recipes. Then I encourage (read: coerce) my family and friends be the guinea pigs to test if the changes were a turn for the better or for the worse. Hopefully it’s for the better and they realize that the healthy swap isn’t as earth shattering as they thought it would be-however, you can’t win em’ all.

I saw a graham cracker crust that was featured in the July issue of Bon Appetit that featured Nutella- and if you know me in the slightest, have read my signature for any other recipe, or just have a half a brain cell-then you’d know that this was a no brainer. Since I had my crust out of the way, I then had to decide on a cake. Our fridge was equipped with both cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. The ball started rolling in my head and I decided to try using both ingredients along with cream cheese to increase the protein, while decreasing the fat and overall calories from the traditional cheesecake. I don’t know if I’ll be winning over the hearts of all the New Yorkers and their recipes, but I thought it was pretty damn good. Here’s what I came up with.

“Mommy’s” Nutella Graham Cracker Crust Cheesecake (Serves 16)

2 T Nutella
1 T Butter
1 oz dark chocolate
9 Graham Cracker Sheets
1 T Sugar
2 T Milk, 2% (or heavy cream)

1 package cream cheese, light or regular
½ C Greek yogurt, plain
1 C Cottage cheese, 1% Milkfat
1 & ¼ C Sugar + 3 T Stevia (if you don’t have stevia, add another ¼ C sugar)
1 T vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp salt
3 large eggs
¼ C blueberries

For the crust, melt the first three ingredients, while crushing the graham crackers or putting into a food processor. Combine all ingredients until incorporated and then press into a lightly greased baking disk or spring form pan. Put into a 350 F oven on the middle rack for 10 minutes.

For the filling, let the yogurt and cottage cheese “dry” by using a fine strainer, or a colander lined with a cheese cloth, large coffee filter, or multiple paper towels. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Then process cottage cheese and yogurt until smooth. Make sure everything is incorporated (may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl), then add the cream cheese after it comes to room temperature. Add zest, vanilla, salt, and process until blended. Then add eggs one at a time and process until smooth. Lightly spray the inside of the baked crust and pour in the filling. Put the crust pan on a cookie sheet, and pour the cheese filling into it. Scatter the blueberries across the top. Wrap aluminum foil around the pan like a “collar” and put into a 500 F oven for 10 minutes, and then without opening the oven, turn down the temperature until 200 F and keep in the oven for about 75 additional minutes (or until center of cheesecake is 150 F). Rotate the cheesecake halfway through baking it looks to brown on one side. Separate the cake from the edge of the pan and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serves 16 for ~ 200 calories/ slice.

The cake is thick, but not too dense to where you feel sick afterwards. I don’t often pull off a great dessert swap when it comes to making it healthier, but I was very proud of myself as my mom bit into the cake and her eyes lit up with delight. As soon as she put her fork down and saw my expression she questioned, “Okay, so how healthy is this?” I’ll admit, it probably won’t be forcing the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to be making its own “cheesecake” category on the MyPlate any time soon, but it’s much more guilt-free, and in my opinion absolutely divine (however, I may be slightly partial). The Nutella crust was a little weak for my liking, but I am also a little desensitized to the taste because I eat it so much. If you’re like me, I’d suggest throwing in another tablespoon. Hope you enjoy this little piece of heaven as much as I did. Let me know what you think!

Sealed with a kiss of Nutella,


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Categories: GFGL Recipe Blog, Home, Sections, Your Nutrition

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