Yesterday, I walked outside without a coat. Now, if you live in the Midwest, that statement requires no further explanation. If you don’t, even my explanation will probably have you scratching your head. It finally hit 50 degrees for the first time since last October (ok, maybe I exaggerate by a week or two), and it was gorgeous. For me, that means I choose to make fewer heavy winter recipes and more springlike creations, like these light and oh so yummy frozen cheesecake bites.
Technically, the cheesecake part of these frozen cheesecake bites should be in quotes since I didn’t use the traditional cream cheese in them. Instead, I made yogurt cheese, which has a few benefits. I used the new Müller® Ice Cream Inspired Yogurt to make the yogurt cheese, which is already flavored perfectly, so I don’t need to add any additional sugar or flavors to make my frozen cheesecake bites (even though the Müller® Ice Cream Inspired Yogurt already has less sugar than many other yogurts). In fact, this recipe has only six ingredients.
I think it’s fun to make yogurt cheese, too. My first trial of Müller® Ice Cream Inspired Yogurts inspired this fun and unique recipe. They come in mint chocolate chip, vanilla bean, and raspberry chocolate chip (the flavor I chose for this batch of frozen cheesecake bites, but can you imagine a mint chocolate chip version? Yum!). They remind me of the yogurt I used to enjoy when I lived in Europe. That rich, creamy flavor is what told me I had to find a way to bake with these.
How to Make Yogurt Cheese
Yogurt cheese is something I had heard about but never tried to make before. Essentially, you’re draining the whey out of the yogurt, which creates a firmer yogurt that can act like cream cheese. You’ve seen your yogurt before where it has a little water on the top that has separated, right? That’s what you’re draining off when you make yogurt cheese, but there’s a whole lot more than just that bit you see.
When making yogurt cheese, if your yogurt already has a little separation, that’s great. Don’t stir it back in the way you usually would. Instead, drain it off before you even start the process. Once you’re ready, get a colander and a bowl it can rest in. You’ll also need cheesecloth (or a kitchen towel without nubs or even just a coffee filter). Place your cheesecloth or other sieve into the colander which will allow the whey to drain out while holding the yogurt in.
Add the yogurt directly onto the cheesecloth, and don’t worry, it won’t go through!
Tie off the cheesecloth with a string or rubber band or otherwise cover your yogurt, then return it to the fridge to sit overnight. The yogurt will remain in your cheesecloth, but the whey will drip out. The next day, go ahead and gently squeeze your cheesecloth to get out as much of the whey as possible without forcing the yogurt through. Because Müller® Ice Cream Inspired Yogurts have 6% milkfat (which mmmm is part of why it’s so creamy), it isn’t as thin as some other yogurts, so you may not get as much whey out as you do in other yogurt brands, but that’s fine.
Once you have all your whey removed from your yogurt cheese, scrape it into a container, being sure to run a spatula over the cheesecloth to get out as much yogurt as you can. You’ll notice that it’s much thicker and firmer than it was before you started the process, though it isn’t quite as dense as traditional cream cheese. At this point, you’re ready to bake, though you can leave your yogurt cheese in the fridge in a sealed container for up to a week before using it. Though I chose to bake with it, this would also make a great spread on bagels in place of cream cheese.
Making Yogurt Frozen Cheesecake Bites
One thing I love about these mini frozen cheesecake bites – aside from the fact that they’re mini, chocolate covered, cheesecake bites, of course – is that you can make them on your schedule. Since they’re frozen, they’re a great thing to make ahead for a party and then just pull out when you’re ready to serve dessert. With the small pieces, these frozen cheesecake bites are exactly what I need for a quick little treat. Just one or two frozen cheesecake bites, and my sweet tooth is satisfied. They aren’t overly rich, but they’re delicious and full of flavor. Ok, I admit it. If I had the container sitting next to me right now, I’d be popping one after the other into my mouth.
There are several steps to making these frozen cheesecake bites, but you don’t have to complete the recipe in one go. That’s something I love in a recipe. With two kids who keep me on the go, I love a recipe where I can work on it for just a little bit and come back to later. You need to make the yogurt cheese, bake the cheesecake, let it cool, freeze it, cut it, then dip the cheesecake into melted chocolate. You can stop at any point in the recipe and come back later in the day or the next day.
To make the cheesecake, and melt your butter. Prep an 8×8 square pan (or a 9×9 pan, like I did) by placing tin foil inside it up all the sides. This makes for easy removal once your yogurt cheesecake is baked. Make sure to spray tin foil with nonstick spray.
Place your graham crackers in a food processor and pulverize them into crumbs. Alternatively, place them in a bag and use a rolling pin to pound them into crumbs. Pour your melted butter over the graham crumbs and pulse to combine.
Add them to your prepared pan and gently press them to form the crust.
Bake for 10 minutes until you start to smell the graham cracker crust. While it’s baking, prep your filling. Add eggs to your bowl and beat them until they’re light and frothy. Add a quarter of the yogurt cheese and mix until it’s incorporated and lightened. Turn the speed down and add the remaining yogurt cheese. Mix until thoroughly combined, then turn it up and mix for thirty seconds.
Once you remove the crust, turn the the oven down to 325 degrees and pour filling over the crust. Ensure it reaches the edges, then return it to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Unlike most cheesecakes, you don’t have to worry about this cracking. That makes cutting them into squares much easier later.
After baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool. Once chilled, stick it in the freezer for a couple hours or overnight. When completely frozen, pull the tin foil from the pan and carefully remove it from your cheesecake.
Using a sharp knife, cut your cheesecake into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes. If you use a 9×9 pan, you make 9 rows and columns for 81 mini cheesecake squares. An 8×8 pan creates you 8 rows and columns and 64 squares.
Try to handle them as little as possible to minimize any flaking of the graham cracker crust on the bottom. Melt your chocolate, and dip each square into the chocolate. Set it on a piece of wax paper or a silpat after you dip them.
For tips on how to get that smooth chocolate look you want, check out my video tutorial.
Once they harden, gently remove them from the paper and place them into a container and return to the freezer. This only takes a few minutes because you’re dipping the cheesecake bites frozen. The finished frozen cheesecake bites keep in the freezer for up to a month – if they last that long!
Have you ever made frozen cheesecake bites? What flavor would you make first?
This delicious and easy frozen cheesecake bites recipe uses flavored yogurt in place of cream cheese and uses only 6 ingredients.
- 4 5.3 ounce containers Muller yogurt
- 9 graham crackers, pulverized
- 6 T butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 12 oz dark chocolate
- 1 t coconut oil (or other oil or shortening - not butter)
- Make "yogurt cheese" to use in place of cream cheese. Line a colander with cheesecloth and add the yogurt. Tie the top and place in the fridge with a bowl below the colander to catch the whey. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Gently squeeze the cheesecloth to remove as much liquid as possible. Scrape the yogurt cheese into a container.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Melt your butter. Prepare an 8x8 pan by lining it with foil up the edges and spraying the foil with nonstick spray.
- In a food processor, pulverize your graham crackers to crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse to combine. Add the graham crackers to the pan and gently press into place. Bake for 10 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Beat your eggs until fluffy. Add a quarter of the yogurt cheese and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining yogurt cheese and mix until incorporated then turn up the speed slightly and mix for 30 seconds.
- When the crust is baked, remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 325 degrees. Pour the prepared filling onto the crust and smooth to the edges if needed. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Let the cheesecake cool, then freeze for 2 hours or overnight.
- Once the cheesecake is frozen, remove from the pan and tin foil. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 64 one inch cubes.
- Melt your chocolate over low heat in a heavy saucepan with the coconut oil. Stir regularly until melted. Using a fork, dip the cheesecake bites one at a time into the chocolate, coating thoroughly then shaking to remove excess chocolate. Carefully place dipped cheesecake bites onto a sil pat or piece of waxed paper to harden.
- Once the cheesecake bites are fully hardened, remove from the sil pat and place in a container, returning them to the freezer. They will keep in the freezer for up to a month.
If you make this in a 9x9 pan, use 12 graham crackers and 8 tablespoons of butter for the crust. The filling will work as listed but will be a slightly thinner layer. You will also end up with 81 cheesecake bites instead of 64.