If you're looking for a special dessert to make for an upcoming gathering or special holiday meal, you are going to LOVE these cheesecake squares.
They cheesecake squares are creamy.
And delightfully decadent.
I used to make a cheesecake years ago back when I lived in California. It was creamy and delicious and always a hit. While I'm actually not a huge fan of cheesecake in general, what I loved about this recipe was that it was lighter and less dense than the traditional blocks you'd see.
Then my husband went gluten-free, and I was a bit lost and clueless with the whole cooking/baking gluten-free thing. That meant I simply stopped making many recipes that used wheat or contained gluten, including the cheesecake that had a graham cracker crust. And so the recipe got tucked away, and it eventually went into storage when we moved to Hong Kong.
This past summer, with a desire to re-create some of my favorite recipes, I decided to dig out all my old recipes from storage and brought them back to Hong Kong with me. With plenty of gluten-free cooking experience under my belt, I revisited my cheesecake recipe and made a few tweaks.
To make the the cheesecake gluten-free, I made the crust nut-based by using pecans. I also eliminated the refined white sugar from the original recipe and replaced it with maple syrup, but I also used less so it is not too horribly sweet.
Needless to say, I was THRILLED with the results! It turned out as just as good, if not better, than how I remembered it!
These cheesecake squares are close-your-eyes-oh-so-good delicious all on their own...
...and even more lip-licking fabulous with fresh whipped cream...
...and mind-blowing-sensory-pleasing phenomenal when topped with fresh whipped cream and a sweet and tangy berry sauce!
While I do like this cheesecake plain, I love it even more with the fruit sauce because, really, how can you go wrong with this beautiful blend of creamy and sweet and tangy and nutty, all in one spoonful???
You can dress up these cheesecake squares in so many ways! Just think of it...chocolate sauce, crumbled cookies, chopped nuts, and of course, you can never go wrong with fresh fruit. Or you can stick with the classic cheesecake square, enjoying it in all its pure simplicity. Either way, you're bound to have a winner with this dessert that everyone will love.
Creamy Cheesecake Squares with Nut Crust
- Preheat oven 375 deg F (190C).
- Add whole pecans to food processor and pulse until texture is similar to a ground flour.
- Add almond meal and coconut sugar and pulse a few times to blend.
- Add melted butter and mix well into nut mixture.
- Press nut mixture in a parchment-lined baking pan (see baking pan sizes notes below). Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat well until mixture is smooth. (See note below.)
- Pour cream cheese mixture over nut crust in pan and spread evenly, making sure to spread it to the edges of the pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Set oven temperature to 425 deg F (230C).
- Combine Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix together with a whisk until well combined.
- Pour over Layer 1 in the pan and use the back of spoon or a spatula to spread evenly to the edges.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Bring cheesecake to room temperature completely before covering with foil or pan lid.
- Refrigerate cheesecake overnight.
- Cut cheesecake into squares. Serve with fresh whipped cream and fruit sauce, if desired.
- The pan I used was 8.25 x 11.5 inches, which is not your typical size, but a 9 x 11-inch pan should work the same.
- You could also use an 8x8-inch pan, but make sure the sides are tall enough to accommodate the extra thickness.
- When beating the cream cheese mixture, do not worry if there are tiny little lumps of cream cheese remaining. As long as the majority of the mixture is smooth, the little lumps will melt when baked and you won't notice anything.
- This recipe can be made using a deep-dish pie plate so the cheesecake can be served as slices. Simply make sure to press the crust up the side of the dish as well as the bottom.
- The cheesecake freezes well! Freeze uncovered first, then wrap in foil and seal in a ziploc bag.
- Tastes great topped with chocolate sauce, chopped nuts, chocolate shavings, fresh fruit, crumbled cookies, etc.
Updated March 19th, 2019 with pan dimensions.