Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Cover recipe- Cooking Light, Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake: December 2010

I recently got married and one of the things on our registry was a springform pan. I’ve never made my own cheesecake, but I’ve always loved how rich and creamy it is and figured having my own pan would be a great way to make a healthier version of one of my favorite desserts. But after almost one year of marriage, I had yet to pop open the pan. That is, until the latest issue of Cooking Light landed in my mailbox.

Cheesecake is typically high in fat and calories and bursting with flavor. I’ve tried a few healthier versions of cheesecake in the past, but I’ve been disappointed with the taste. So when the cover line from this issue read, “Our richest cheesecake,” I knew I had to try it and see if this Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake not only tasted like a full-fat version, but was also worthy of the coveted cover spot.

Print Print Recipe

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 45 min + chill time and cooling time

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min

Ingredients:

4 ounces chocolate graham crackers
3 tablespoons canola oil
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
2 (8-ounce) packages block-style 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Wrap outside and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil.

3. Place crackers in a food processor; process until finely ground. Drizzle with oil; pulse until combined. Press mixture into bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 8 minutes; cool on a rack.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

5. Place cranberries, sugar, liqueur, and water in a saucepan; boil. Cook 8 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture is syrupy. Cool 20 minutes. Place mixture in a food processor; process 1 minute or until smooth.

6. Combine 1 cup sugar and cheeses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Add whole eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

7. Place 2 egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form using clean, dry beaters. Fold beaten egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour filling over crust. Spoon cranberry mixture over filling; swirl together using the tip of a knife. Place springform pan in a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 2 inches. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until center of cheesecake barely moves when pan is touched.

8. Turn oven off. Cool cheesecake in closed oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven. Run a knife around outside edge. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours. Serves 12.

Tips:

*The recipe called for only 4 ounces of chocolate graham crackers, but if I made this again I would bump it up to 4.5 or at least 5 ounces. The crust got pretty thin in a couple places while I spread it out.
*The cranberry mixture was absolutely delicious and I would consider doubling the amount called for so I could use it for something else (ice cream, on toast, or even alone by the spoonful).
*I would have liked a little more clarification in Step 7: “Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until center of cheesecake barely moves when pan is touched.” At 50 minutes, the cheesecake seemed almost as jiggly as when I put it in; it was far from “barely” moving. I cooked it for an additional 30 minutes and didn’t notice a change in movement, but the top was getting more and more brown, so I stopped the total time at 80 minutes and continued with the directions.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 wedge
Calories per serving: 321
Fat per serving: 14.1g
Saturated Fat per serving: 6.1g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">333g
Fiber per serving: .9g
Protein per serving: 10g
Cholesterol per serving: 81mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 37.8g

SourceCooking Light, December 2010

The results:

I served this to some of my girlfriends who all gave it rave reviews and even asked to take some home to their husbands. But the best part was how it tasted. I love that I could eat a slice and not feel too guilty about what I was consuming. The flavors mingled so well together that nobody would be able to guess this was a lightened up cheesecake.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Oh my, yes! I’ve made several recipes from Cooking Light and applaud them every time for how simple their recipes are, and this was no exception. I thought a cheesecake would be difficult to make, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this came together. Not to mention, the beautiful red swirl compliments the chocolate crust and white from the cheesecake—this dessert was made for a holiday get-together.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.


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17 Responses to “Chocolate- Mint Bars”

  1. 1

    Tracey — March 10, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    I love the chocolate/mint combo so these look fantastic to me! Even better that it’s a CL recipe :)

  2. 2

    Cookin' Canuck — March 11, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    These sounds like a wonderful, lightened-up treat to indulge in. Perfect for St. Paddy’s Day.

  3. 3

    A Bowl Of Mush — March 11, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Ooh I want one now! Yum!!

  4. 4

    Jenny Flake — March 11, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    That last photo is so gorgeous! making me want a mint bar asap!!

  5. 5

    Sandra Simmons — March 11, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    THANK YOU for posting the WW points! I would love to make this but 7 is steep and would just multiply since I would probably eat the whole pan!

  6. 6

    Tracy — March 11, 2011 @ 9:53 am

    Perfect for St. Patty’s Day! Yum!

  7. 7

    Laurel — March 11, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    These look so delicious, and pretty! We’re featuring all things GREEN this week on the M&T Spotlight and I’d love for you to submit this. http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight

  8. 8

    Evan Thomas — March 12, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

    Yum! I would hope for a fudgier brownie but even so these sound terrific. I made a recipe similar to this back in January. Dare I say they were my favorite brownies ever?

  9. 9

    Brian @ A Thought For Food — March 12, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    One of my favorite things that my mom makes is a chocolate mint bar… that’s exactly like this.

    I just read your note that said that they’re good cold… YES! We always kept them in the freezer. It’s so much better that way.

  10. 10

    bridget {bake at 350} — March 12, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    Oh, I’m so craving chocolate and mint right now. Have something planned for next week, but it’s not light….and it SHOULD be; I’m *trying* to be good! ;) Darn those WW points!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Lori!

  11. 11

    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — March 12, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    I’ve been making a non light version of these for holiday gift baskets for yeasr. I’m anxious to try these and see the difference.

    One thing; that top layer used to be a problem until I started using a warm knife. Dip your knife into very hot water before slicing the squares, it should help to keep it from cracking without having to let the dessert warm up.

  12. 12

    grace — March 13, 2011 @ 12:09 am

    bliss. yes, these are perfect for good ol’ st patty’s day, but they’re more than welcome in my belly any day. :)

  13. 13

    anjali — March 14, 2011 @ 12:02 am

    These look so delicious! I have a feeling I’ll be making these someday soon.

  14. 14

    Jeannie — March 17, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    looks so good! I am so drooling !

  15. 15

    Heather — April 17, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    Made this yesterday and I must say it’s delish!!!!!! Cannot stop eating this and I still need to bring it to my moms for Sunday dinner!!

  16. 16

    WEndy Moor — December 17, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    THESE ARE SO GOOD. My sister made them last year. Couldn’t believe they were “light.” So glad I found this recipe :)

  17. 17

    Pat Kachold — December 20, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    I call them Frango Mint Bars. They are one of my must bake Christmas bars.
    I’ve been making these for at least 20 years. Don’t remember where the recipe came from but they are a seasonal favorite of mine. I do make them on special occasions When asked. Everyone should have this recipe in their recipe box.
    Yummy

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