By definition, cheesecake is creamy, luscious, rich and decadent.
But the Center for Science in the Public Interest put the Cheesecake Factory's 6 Carb Original on its 10 Worst Foods You Should Never Eat list. Calorie-count.com concurs, giving commercially prepared cheesecakes a D+.
The culprit is saturated fat, which typically hovers at 30 to 50 grams per serving. An average person who consumes a 2,000-calorie diet with 30 percent calories from fat should consume about 67 grams in an entire day.
Two ways to beat a failing grade?
These Cheesecake Bars use a base of reduced-fat cream cheese.
Then we reduced the portion size from a thick wedge to a snack-size square, just enough to satisfy a craving.
-- Makes 12 bars
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese (not fat-free), softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 tablespoon 1 percent milk
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
12 fresh strawberries, fanned
1/4 cup semisweet morsels, melted (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with release-type foil.
Using a mixer, cream butter and brown sugar together. Add flour and mix until combined. Measure out 3/4 cup of this mixture and reserve for topping.
Press remaining mixture in bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add egg substitute, milk, lemon juice and vanilla; blend until smooth. Spread over crust. Sprinkle reserved mixture evenly on top of filling.
Bake for 22 to 24 minutes; allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate at least 1 hour. Cut into 12 squares and top each square with a strawberry fan. If desired, drizzle chocolate over top.
Per bar, without chocolate: 166 calories, 8 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 24 milligrams cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 117 milligrams sodium, trace fiber
Analysis provided by The Kansas City Star.