I have to be up at 6 am tomorrow; I should probably go to sleep right about…an hour ago. But I’m not. Because this triple chocolate cheesecake is URGENT. Seriously. It would be a crime for me not to share it right now.
We’re talking about silky smooth, uber-rich-tasting chocolatey cheesecake spiked with a touch of ESPRESSO and BOURBON for unbelievable flavor, studded with chocolate chips, and topped off with a melty dark chocolate ganache.
Oh, and did I mention it’s light on calories, has only a fraction of the fat of most cheesecakes, and has no added refined sugar? No, I’m not kidding. Just about 130 calories per generous slice, and only about 150 with the chocolate drizzle.
AND it’s really easy to make. Cheesecake can be intimidating because there are so many rules–springform pan, wrap in foil, water bath, perfect timing… All good rules, but I simplified this recipe a bit by using a pie pan instead of springform. This means no worries about water seeping in from the water bath, shorter cooking time, and just a pie shape instead of the traditional tall shape. Less hassle, still with superb texture? Works for me!
For the crust I just crushed up some organic cinnamon graham crackers with a little cacao and coconut oil. Much healthier than processed cookies + butter, and it turns out crumbly and delightful.
I made this one in my 6″ pie pan to test out the recipe (and because how cute is that little dish?), but the recipe written below is for a standard 9.5″ deep pie pan. You’re gonna want lots.
To keep the sugar down, I used a natural stevia-based granular sweetener (Pyure), and it tasted fantastic! Just look for a brand that measures similar to sugar and adjust accordingly for the recipe. (This one is 1 cup sweetener = 2 cups sugar; I would avoid anything sweeter than this, like pure stevia, because the volume helps with the texture of the cheesecake.) Just be sure to check the ingredient list when buying a sugar alternative to know exactly what you are getting. This Pyure blend, for example, contains stevia extract and erythriol (a safe sugar alcohol that, unlike other sugar alcohols, does NOT seem to show digestive side effects unless in massive amounts). Here is a good overview of different natural alternative sweeteners. I would avoid any artificial sweeteners completely.
For a water bath, simply fill any dish bigger than your pie pan with with water (about halfway up the sides of the pie pan). This helps stabilize the temperature for even baking…
…which means no cracks or drying out! Yay! Letting the cheesecake cool gradually in the oven with the door cracked also helps prevent cracks.
Light, dense, and creamy all at once! I’m drooling.
And for the chocolate-lover’s bonus, don’t forget the topping. Several options:
- (Pictured) If serving immediately, simply melt chocolate with about the same volume milk, microwave a few seconds and stir, then pour over cheesecake. I typically store the cheesecake with no topping and add this drizzle each time right before serving. Melty chocolate glaze every time! For each piece, I use about 1 tsp mini chocolate chips and 1 tsp 1% milk, heat about 10 seconds, and stir. Heat longer or add more chocolate to thicken; add more milk to thin. So easy!
- For a chocolate ganache chilled on top of the cheesecake: Melt together chocolate and heavy cream (or coconut cream) using about a 3:1 volume ratio of chocolate (chopped or chocolate chips) to cream. Melt in gradually in microwave, stir, pour over cooled cheesecake, and refrigerate until set.
- For a chocolate shell: Same deal as the chocolate ganache, but use chocolate and coconut oil (instead of cream) in about an 8:1 chocolate to oil ratio.
The recipe below makes a standard 9.5″ pie size. For a 6″ pie pan (as in the pictures), divide the amounts by 2.5 and slightly reduce baking time.
- 4 cinnamon graham crackers
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, softened
- 1.5 Tbsp cacao powder*
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp bourbon
- 10 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 10 Tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup natural calorie-free sweetener**
- 2.5 Tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 oz mini chocolate chips***
- Preheat oven to 350º and grease a deep 9.5" pie pan well with softened coconut oil or cooking spray.
- Place graham crackers in a plastic baggy and crush with a heavy object. Add 1.5 Tbsp cacao and toss. Then add coconut oil and massage to combine. Add a splash of milk if necessary to achieve a slightly moist texture. (The crust does not need to clump together, though.)
- Spread crust mixture evenly into bottom and sides of greased pie pan. Bake 7 minutes, then cool completely.
- Meanwhile, combine espresso, water, and bourbon in a small bowl or cup, heat in microwave a few seconds, and stir to dissolve.
- Using a blender, food processor, or electric mixer, blend cream cheese, Greek yogurt, sweetener**, cacao, vanilla, and espresso/bourbon mixture until completely smooth. Add eggs and pulse several times until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips by hand.
- Place pie pan inside a larger baking pan filled about halfway with water. (No water should get inside the cheesecake pan.) Pour cheesecake mixture over prepared crust.
- Bake 35-45 minutes (30-35 if making a smaller 6" pie), or just until set on the edges and somewhat jiggly in the center. Turn off heat, crack oven door, and allow cheesecake to begin cooling in the oven 30 minutes to an hour. Remove and gently run a knife around the edges to make sure none of the cheesecake is sticking. Set on an oven rack until cooled completely.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before slicing and serving. See notes above for chocolate topping options.
- Enjoy your guilt-free slice of creamy chocolatey heaven!
- *I use Navita's Naturals raw cacao, but any cacao or cocoa powder will work.
- **This amount is the sugar equivalent. For calorie-free sweeteners that do not measure exactly like sugar, adjust amount accordingly. See notes above in post for more info on sweetener options.
- ***I use Lily's dark chocolate baking chips
- Inspired by recipes from Cafe Delites and Baker by Nature