Peanut Butter Cheesecakes and Avoiding Weight Gain

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You already know that my pants don’t fit.  I don’t know about you, but I find it nearly impossible to diet around this time of year.  It is so cold out that the last thing I want to eat is salad.  What really appeals to me are dishes like chili, lasagna, fresh baked cookies… comfort food.  Add on holiday celebrations, office treats, and Christmas candy sales; I am hopeless.  Well, it is fair to say that I won’t lose any weight in the last week or so of December, but I will do anything I can not to gain more weight.  As a result, I am making an effort to lighten up some of the desserts I am making over the next few hours weeks.

cheesecake 2

Honestly, I don’t do well “giving up” anything. I don’t do well with portion control either.  The first step in trying to combat that is pre-portioning desserts.  The other thing I like to do is take out some of the fat and calories where it won’t be missed.  Previously I’ve made ice cream desserts that taste delicious but are made with lots of low-guilt ingredients.  Well, I decided to make Individual Peanut Butter Cheesecakes using lower fat cream cheese with a few more decadent ingredients to balance them out.

cheesecake 5

These cheesecakes are made with a crunchy pretzel crust, a creamy peanut butter filling and chocolate chips snuck in as a layer above the crust and throughout batter.  By the way, you’d be so proud of me.  I only ate two of them!  That may or may not be because I gave some to friends and left the rest in my parents fridge.  Sorry, Mom:-)

cheesecake 4

This recipe is actually very easy and revolves mostly around a food processor.  I figured if I needed to take out the appliance for making a crust, I might as well use it for the cheesecake batter too!

To begin, fill up your food processor with salted pretzels


Run them through until they are mostly fine crumbs


In a small bowl, pour melted butter over the pretzel crumbs

adding butter

Add sugar

adding sugar

Stir until all of the crumbs are moist

Mixing crust

Press a couple tablespoons of crust ingredients into two muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray; bake for about 6 minutes

crust pre-baking

When crust comes out of oven, layer with several milk chocolate and caramel chips

chips on crust 1

Regular chocolate chips would also work, but I really like the combination of caramel, chocolate and peanut butter; set pan aside

chocolate caramel chips

Meanwhile, prepare cheesecake batter; you can shake out the crumbs from the food processor, no need to wash it

cream cheese 1

Cream 2 blocks of cream cheese in the food processor

cream cheese 2

Add sugar, flour, vanilla and salt

adding sugar flour and vanilla

Combine well

sugar flour vanilla mixed

Add your eggs

add eggs

Measure 1 cup of peanut butter chips

peanut butter chips

Microwave about 45 seconds and stir; microwave in additional 20 second increments until chips are melted; note this will be very thick

melted pb chips

Add peanut butter to cheesecake batter

add peanut butter

Process until smooth and creamy

pb mixed in

Pour cheesecake batter into a separate bowl and fold in chocolate chips

fold in chips

Use a small ladle or large spoon to put about 1/3 of a cup of batter in muffin tins

badder in pan 1

Bake cheesecakes for about 15 minutes or until mostly firm

baked 2

Serve drizzled with chocolate and caramel or sprinkled with pretzel crumbs

cheesecake 12


Individual Peanut Butter Cheesecakes, lightened up

Makes 24 mini-cheesecakes


1 1/2 cups finely ground pretzel crumbs

4 tablespoons melted butter

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, separated

1 8-ounce block fat free cream cheese, softened

1 8-ounce block reduced fat cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup peanut butter chips*, melted

1/2 cup milk chocolate and caramel chips

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

To begin, fill up your food processor with salted pretzels and run them through until finely ground

In a small bowl, pour melted butter over the pretzel crumbs

Add 2 tablespoons sugar and stir until all of the crumbs are moist

Press mixture into two sets of muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray; bake for 6 minutes

When crust comes out of oven, sprinkle a few milk chocolate and caramel chips into each cup; set aside

Shake crumbs out of food processor and use it to prepare cheesecake batter

Cream 2 blocks of cream cheese in the food processor

Add sugar, flour, vanilla and salt; cream until well combined

Add eggs and mix well

Add melted peanut butter chips to cheesecake batter and process until smooth and creamy

Pour cheesecake batter into a separate bowl; fold in chocolate chips

Use a small ladle or large spoon to put about 1/3 of a cup of batter into each cup

Bake cheesecakes for about 15 minutes or until tops are mostly firm


*You can replace these with regular peanut butter (not natural)

The peanut butter flavor isn’t really strong; some people may prefer this but I may try increasing the amount of peanut butter chips next time (using regular peanut butter could also help)


cheesecake 7

cheesecake 11

Are you worried about weight gain during the holidays?

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30 Responses to “Peanut Butter Cheesecakes and Avoiding Weight Gain”

  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic) December 28, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    I *love* the pretzel crust idea! What an amazing way to add salt to sweet treats.

    P.S. I’m loving roasted squash to counteract the extensive chocolate consumption.

    • KeepItSweet December 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

      LOL I eat butternut squash like it’s my job. It helps a little.

  2. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite December 28, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    These look delicious! Love the pretzel crust idea! I got on the scale this morning {which was a HUGE mistake!} and wanted to die. Too many cookies and sweets for me this season! :)

    • KeepItSweet December 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

      aw, i wouldn’t mind so much if i wasn’t running out of things to wear… thank gd for leggings!!

  3. Joanne December 29, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    Ughhh let’s not talk about my pants. i am one of those crazy people who am actually trying to diet right now. It sucks.

    I actually always use low fat cream cheese when I make cheesecake and no one has ever been able to tell the difference. It’s still so incredibly rich.

    You are speaking to my soul with these little cheesecakes. Peanut butter heaven.

  4. kirsty December 29, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    looks delicious x

  5. The Taster December 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Hmm, did you say lasagna?

  6. erica @ fashionmeetsfood December 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    wow these look out of this world. I just might have to make them for the party this weekend!


  7. Cristina December 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    These look amazing…peanut butter and cream cheese= heaven ;D

  8. Veronica December 30, 2010 at 1:41 am #

    I almost always gain weight during the holidays b/c I can’t/won’t deprive myself of anything. I use the holiday excuse to eat like I’ve never eaten before. This year is the first year in many that I’ve not only kept from gaining, but actually lost weight. I read Women Food and God, which has been helping me. I recommend it!

  9. Veronica December 30, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    BTW, these sound amazing! I love all you have going on with them. Esp the pretzel crust!

  10. Justeen @ Blissful Baking December 30, 2010 at 1:48 am #

    mmm these look fantastic!! i wish i didn’t have to worry about holiday weight gain, but it’s been on my mind constantly. eating my mom’s awesome homemade food combined with not exercising has definitely been contributing to my expanding waistline :(

  11. foodies at home December 30, 2010 at 2:16 am #

    LOL I am laughing b/c at this moment I’m eating a leftover Christmas cookie! and YES…my pants are tight! Ha!

  12. tugba December 30, 2010 at 7:54 am #

    That looks very yummy yummy :) But I would not know which peanut butter to use :) never tried peanut butter. Not very popular over here.

    • KeepItSweet December 30, 2010 at 8:01 am #

      I don’t think I could live without peanut butter!!! I am sure if you found any kind it would work fine:-)

  13. TheHealthyApron December 30, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    I’m not so much worried about weight gain but I was feeling pretty sluggish after 2 weeks of way too many holiday indulgences. As a result, the scale is up toward my higher end of normal but I’m just trying to remind myself that it IS the holidays and once all the parties pass, normal eating will be back. I’ve already started eating normal again this week and feel SO much better!!

  14. Evan Thomas December 30, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Those cheesecakes sound so good. I love anything salty/sweet.
    I would never worry about a little holiday weight gain. Life’s too short for that. As long as you’re healthy in the long run it all works out.

  15. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic December 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Oooh those milk chocolate and caramel morsels will be finding their way in my grocery cart this week! ;) I try my best to keep my workouts consistent during the holidays, I feel like that is the best defense against weight gain! Also if I work out, then I don’t feel so guilty when indulging in (more) desserts ;)

  16. Peggy December 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    Genius idea with the pretzel crust!

  17. Hannah December 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    Yum! x

  18. Jamie | My Baking Addiction December 30, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    I am a sucker for any type of cheesecake. LOVE the pretzel crust…if it’s any consolation, I find it hard to diet at this time of year as well! :)

  19. Simply Life December 31, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    oh wow, this is a great idea!

  20. Meesh December 31, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Omigosh, those look amazing!!!
    I know what you mean about dieting at this time of year, I’m really going to have to crack down in the new year to make up for this past week!

  21. Kristina January 1, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Just found your blog and I love it-these recipes are so creative and look amazing! Can’t wait to see what’s next in 2011!

    • KeepItSweet January 1, 2011 at 11:23 am #

      Thank you!!! So glad you like it:-)

  22. jazzy elizabeth January 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Such a good idea. Happy new years! x hivennn.

  23. kayley smith August 26, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    i absolutely love the sound of this! but living in UK its very hard to find peanut butter chips could i used smooth peanut butter from a jar instead and how much do you think i would need?

    • KeepItSweet August 26, 2011 at 9:41 am #

      I think 3/4 cup-1 cup of creamy peanut butter would do it!


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