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Just Dessert: Guilt-Free Chocolate Cheesecake


Chocolate Cheesecake

Makes: 14 servings


1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup fat-free milk
2 8-ounce packages reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese, softened
8 ounces fat-free sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Chocolate curls


  1. In a bowl, stir together the graham crackers and butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Chill while preparing the filling.
  2. In a saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat; cool for 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheeses with a mixer until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla; gradually beat in the gelatin mixture. Divide the cream cheese mixture in half; gradually stir the melted chocolate into one half.
  4. Spread half of the chocolate mixture onto the crust. Spoon half of the remaining cream cheese mixture onto the chocolate mixture in small mounds; swirl them together with a butter knife.
  5. Spread the remaining chocolate mixture on top. Spoon on the remaining cream cheese mixture, and swirl again. Cover; chill for 6 hours or until set.
  6. Loosen the cake from the pan with a knife before removing the side of the pan. Cut the cake into wedges; top with chocolate curls.

Nutrition facts per serving (1 slice): 216 calories, 17g carbohydrate, 13g fat (7g saturated), 1g fiber

Make Dessert More Diet-Friendly

Toss the Eggs
Most cheesecake recipes call for eggs, but using gelatin as a binding agent cuts calories and fat, says Marisa Moore, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson. Bonus: No baking makes this dessert a cinch.

Trim the Fat
The average slice packs 38 grams of fat (22 of them saturated). We cut two-thirds of the fat but didn't nix it altogether, because it delivers that classic creamy, silky texture.

Raise the Bar
"Bittersweet chocolate has less sugar and more antioxidants than milk chocolate," Moore says. Its disease-fighting nutrients help decrease plaque buildup in your arteries and may improve blood pressure.

Top It Off
To create perfect curls, run a vegetable peeler along the edge of a chocolate bar. For a bigger antioxidant boost, Moore suggests using a small mesh strainer to dust the cake with cocoa powder before serving.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2010.