Mini Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Bites

 I LOVE the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts, whether it's in my coffee or dessert, it is usually my go-to choice in restaurants (unless, of course, they have S'mores, but that's another recipe for another day.)  I found a recipe on Pinterest for these Nutella cheesecake cupcakes and I wanted to cut down on some of the steps to make it a little faster and easier.  As an added benefit, the recipe was lightened up, cutting 100 calories and 7 grams of fat!)  And while you don't have to buy as many ingredients for this recipe (and thus save time at the grocery store too!), I did choose products that may be a little more expensive (i.e. evaporated cane juice vs. regular sugar).  But it also did make a larger quantity, so perhaps it does all even out.


For my chocolate hazelnut flavor, I chose Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter spread.  I find that it is not as sugary as Nutella and I actually like the nutty texture.  But again, this recipe can be made with your personal preference.  It will be blissful either way because you can't go wrong with chocolate and cheesecake.

Ingredients:

21 cupcake liners

21 cream-filled chocolate sandwiches (Oreo, Trader Joe's Jo-Jos, etc.)

2- 8 oz. package cream cheese (I prefer the reduced fat or Neufchatel version because it tends to be a little softer and easier to mix.)

1/3 cup almond milk (regular or light, plain, unsweetened)

1/3 cup evaporated cane juice

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In cupcake pan (regular size), place one cupcake liner into each cup.  Place one cookie into cupcake liner.  No need to crush the cookie or mix with butter.  Just place it whole inside.

In a large mixing bowl or Kitchenaid mixer, blend cream cheese on semi-low speed just to combine.  Add milk and continue to mix at low speed to minimize splashing.  As milk gets incorporated, you can increase the speed.  Once combined, add evaporated cane juice (or sugar).  When smooth, add eggs, one at a time and continue mixing.  Add vanilla and chocolate hazelnut butter and stir on low speed until cream cheese and chocolate mixture are mixed (no swirls).  I may have licked the spoon (and maybe the measuring cup) after adding the chocolate hazelnut butter.

Place about 3-4 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the cupcake mold, about 3/4 full or a little more. 

Bake for 25 minutes.  (I baked 2 trays simultaneously (on the middle and high rack), and then switched and rotated them halfway through.)

You can decorate each cupcake with some whipping cream, toasted hazelnuts, or fruit, or enjoy just by themselves.

Nutrition (per cheesecake, no topping)

Calories: 189 cal; Carbs: 17 gm; Fat: 12 gm; Protein: 4 gm

(Just as a comparison to the original recipe)

Calories: 290 cal; Carbs: 24 gm; Fat: 19 gm: Protein 5 gm

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