These small bites are just the right size to satisfy sweet cravings, and they’re made lighter with fat-free ingredients. A simple kitchen trick transforms crisp pizzelle cookies into cookie cups.
Many people use January to rethink their eating habits and reduce indulgences. I personally think that 2021 is not the year for reducing any small pleasures we can come by (so far). Here, dessert is – and will always be – on the menu.
However, the holidays brought many rich things to our plates in the form of stately layer cakes, decadent chocolate, and so much candy. A few lighter desserts are in order, I think. These small cheesecake cups are made with creamy fat-free yogurt and cream cheese, so they taste absolutely indulgent but won’t weigh you down.
Ready-made pizzelle cookies are the crunchy crusts for the cheesecakes, and they’re formed into cups using a quick kitchen hack. Placed between damp paper towels, the flat brittle cookies steam as they are heated in the microwave, and then they are pressed into muffin tins to form the cup shapes. It’s a fun and oddly satisfying task. Plus, as you work, your kitchen will smell like an ice cream shop where they press their own waffle cones – almost like vanilla cake!
Biscuit pug was seriously into these cheesecakes, and bummed out that he didn’t get a taste. I made sure to give him a puppy treat since he was so polite as to not hop on the table.
Pizzelles can be found ready-made at most grocery stores in the deli section or Italian foods section. I used vanilla pizzelles for these cheesecakes, but occasionally I’ll find lemon available. They would be wonderful in this recipe, as the cheesecake has light lemony flavor from fresh lemon juice.
The pizzelle cups can be made well in advance and stored in a zip-top bag. Fill them just before serving so the cups stay crisp.
Each cheesecake is 3 Weight Watcher points, if you have such considerations, and 2 without the cherry on top. Use a quartered strawberry in its place for no additional points cost. See my recipe notes if you’re not doing any sort of lightening up – full fat preparations are included.
Lightened Up Mini Cheesecake Cups
- Standard size cupcake pan
- 16 ready-made vanilla pizzelle cookies
- 1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
- 8 oz. fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup fat-free whipped topping
- 1 tablespoon confetti sprinkles
- 16 maraschino cherries patted dry
- Dampen two paper towels with water; do not wring out. Towels should be wet but not dripping. Place two pizzelles between the paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds. Pizzelles should be hydrated and floppy. Remove one pizzelle and immediately press it into the cavity of a muffin tin; use a small bottle or cup that fits inside the muffin cavity to press the cookie all the way to the bottom, forming a cup. Hold until the cookie is set, about 1 minute. Remove from the cup when the cookie is firm. Repeat with the remaining pizzelle. Microwave the pizzelles two at a time, repeating the forming instructions, until all the pizzelles are cup-shaped.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the yogurt, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. Fold in whipped topping until just combined. Transfer to a disposable piping bag or a large zip-top bag with a corner snipped. Just before serving, fill each cup with the cheese mixture (about 3 heaping tablespoons). Add sprinkles and a cherry on top of each cup. Serve immediately.