Cheesecake (especially pumpkin cheesecake) is one of the most indulgent desserts there is, and it is oh-so-satisfying. However, it’s anything but good for you. Typical cheesecake is made with loads of sugar to balance the tartness of the cream cheese, plus a buttery crust, sugary fillings, etc. If you’re following WW, a typical slice of cheesecake also clocks a whopping 18 points!
Naturally, I set out to create a dessert that lets me have my (cheese)cake and eat it too, with all of the flavor and none of the guilt. Tis’ the season for all things pumpkin too, so I chose a pumpkin spice flavor profile. Truly, this was a series of tests to see if it was truly possible to make a better-for-you cheesecake that isn’t loaded with weird ingredients. There are plenty of faux-cheesecake recipes floating out there using sugar free pudding mix and things of the like, but I wanted the real deal. So, the experiments began. The result? A delicious mini pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust that is rich, creamy, and just ~4 WW SP depending on your plan. You read that right – FOUR. These are also perfect to make for a crowd, so with Thanksgiving around the corner, if you’re having a (socially distant, safe) gathering, these are sure to be a hit.
Lightening up pumpkin cheesecakes
It’s no easy feat. Typical cheesecakes are comprised mostly of cream cheese and sugar. Both delicious, but super high in fat, calories, and points. I sought to make some sneaky substitutions that would still yield a delicious, creamy result, while reducing the fat, calorie, and sugar content.
Neufchatel cheese (or light cream cheese) is the star here. By replacing cream cheese with a lower-fat, lower calorie version, you still get the texture and flavor of cream cheese, without the not-so-good stuff.
Supporting act: nonfat Greek yogurt. My favorite substitution strikes again! Greek yogurt makes this cheesecake super creamy and gives a nice tartness, like you’d expect from a traditional cheesecake.
Sour cream adds a bit to the tartness factor as well, but if you don’t have any, just substitute with more greek yogurt.
Lastly, my crust hack is nothing short of genius. It’s so simple, it’s almost too easy?
The crust hack
Normally, I make crust with a combination of crushed something (graham crackers, cookies, etc) + butter + brown sugar. However, in the quest to make these are low-point and healthy as possible, I had to figure out a better alternative.
This hack is so simple, it seems silly to even call it that. But here it is.
The crust is just the cookie.
No recipe required. Just plop a gingersnap cookie (which is only 1 SP) into a cupcake liner, top with cheesecake batter, and bake. The cheesecake batter will soak into the crust and soften it, while the liner helps it keep its shape, so you get a soft, flavorful gingersnap crust without any added butter/sugar.
More lightened up recipe ideas
Looking for some more desserts that won’t leave you feeling blah? If you like these pumpkin cheesecakes, check out some of my other recipes:
- Pumpkin Fluff Dip
- Healthier Apple Cider Donuts
- Healthier Pumpkin Chocolate Drop Cookies
- Light Key Lime Pie Dip
- Lighter Chocolate Cupcake
- Light Lemon Cake Donuts
- Healthier Funfetti Cinnamon Buns
Healthy Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- Mixing Bowls
- Muffin Pan
- Piping Bag
- 10 ginger snap cookies
- 6 tbsp low fat cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese room temp
- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp sour cream sub with Greek yogurt if you don’t have any
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- Light Cool Whip and crushed ginger snap or pumpkin pie spice for topping optional
- Preheat oven to 325F
- Stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla, and eggs and mix until uniform.
- Sift in 2 tbsp flour and pumpkin pie spice and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour batter over gingersnaps, so that liners are 3/4 full (roughly 3-4 tbsp batter per cheesecake)
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until mostly firm.
- Allow cheesecakes to cool completely in the pan for (roughly 30 minutes), then transfer to the fridge to cool completely.
- Once fully cooled, top with dollop of Cool Whip and crushed gingersnap crumbs or a shake of pumpkin pie spice. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Enjoy!