Healthier Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars (100% whole grain)

These healthier peanut butter cheesecake brownie bars are 100% whole grain, use natural peanut butter and are totally naturally sweetened!

If you follow several blogs, then I bet you’re wondering what’s with the dozens of cheesecake recipes today. It’s Cheesecake Day! Roxana from Roxana’s Home Baking rightly thought that we should celebrate the wonders of cheesecake, and so over 65 of us are.

When I first made these bars, I was really doubtful. Doubtful because I hadn’t really found any peanut butter cheesecakes out there with natural peanut butter. I thought that there had to be a reason – that they came out runny or not-so-peanut-buttery or something. Even when I took them out of the oven, I wasn’t hopeful. The topping looked rubbery! I didn’t even want to taste them because I was sure I had another disaster on my hands.

Healthier Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars – 100% whole grain, use natural peanut butter and are totally naturally sweetened!

Luckily, it was all silliness. They were perfect! The topping just doesn’t look very cheesecake-y. I knew I’d have my typical control issues with these so I tossed them in the freezer. On Friday night, I was fortunate enough to have Ali and Marta, two lovely food bloggers, over to dinner. I pulled these out for dessert along with some peanut butter brownies I’ve been working on for the book (and yes, I fed them almost identical dishes despite having half a dozen other goodies sitting around. I’m a very forgetful / bad hostess). I think it’s safe to say that they enjoyed them even with the crushed egg shell in the cheesecake portion (whoops :D))

So the cheesecake layer was plenty peanut butter-y and the part that I really like is that I sweetened it with honey. Use some coconut sugar for your brownie portion and these are totally naturally sweetened. Yay! Right? :) It was my first time to naturally sweeten cheesecake. I always thought it was impossible! Hence the lack of cheesecake recipes on here.

Healthier Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars – these use natural peanut butter, are totally naturally sweetened, and are 100% whole grain!

They’re also 100% whole grain. You can use whole wheat or whole spelt. What you can not use is my arch nemesis, whole einkorn. I’ve tried out oodles of recipes with whole einkorn and I’ve determined that we’re not compatible. I want to be friends with einkorn but it doesn’t want to be friends with me. :( I love the three recipes I’ve come up with it – but I’m not so in love with the 20+ einkorn failures I’ve had.

But back to the cheesecake! These brownie base of these cheesecake bars is super fudgy. And also super thin as you can hopefully see in the above picture. The top bar with the thicker layer is just that way because I didn’t do a very good job patting it into the pan. You can ignore those little specks of bran, though. After 5 years of whole grain baking and trying 15+ different brands of whole wheat flour, I came across the first one that didn’t seem to care to grind the flour very finely, resulting in very noticeable pieces of bran.

The cheesecake layer is a little softer than your typical straight-up classic cheesecake but awesome nonetheless. I’m sure your taste testers will be able to deal with it. ;)

And look! A few other people made cheesecake for Cheesecake Day.

Baked Cheesecakes: No Bake Cheesecakes: Cheesecake Beverages: Cheesecake Cookies and Bars: Cheesecake Desserts and Treats: Frozen Cheesecakes and Treats:

Healthier Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars

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Rated 5.0 by 2 readers
Healthier Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars (100% whole grain)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients

    For the brownie base:

  • ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated or coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup (56 grams) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted1
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 egg large yolk, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup (83 grams) whole wheat or whole spelt flour
  • ¼ cup (29 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the peanut butter cheesecake layer:

  • 1 8-ounce (225 grams) package cream cheese2, room temperature
  • ½ cup (128 grams) natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (80 grams) honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line an 8"x8" (23cmx23cm) pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, melted fat and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Add the egg and egg yolk and stir just until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
  5. Add the dry mix to the wet and stir just until no more streaks of flour remain. Spread on the bottom of the prepared pan. It will be very thin.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, honey and salt until well combined. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  7. Spread over the brownie base and bake for 14-16 minutes or until the middle is no longer jiggly.
  8. Let cool completely and then refrigerate for 2 hours before servings.
  9. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Notes

  1. If you use unrefined rather than refined coconut oil, these might have a slight coconut taste to them.
  2. If you don't live in North America where they have bricks of cream cheese and you only have the kind that's meant for spreading on bread, you need to drain the whey out of your cream cheese before baking with it. Place 300 grams of cream cheese in the center of a cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel and wring out the liquid until you have 225 grams of cream cheese.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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28 comments on “Healthier Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars (100% whole grain)” — Add one!

  • Emily of Sugar Plum says
    August 13, 2014 @ 6:30 am

    These bars look amaaazing! I love that they’re whole grain!

    Reply
  • Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
    August 7, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

    Love that you made a healthier version of peanut butter cheesecake! These sound great!

    Reply
  • holly waterfall says
    August 5, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

    Ooooh I love how you took the healthy route with these! Whole grain in cheesecake?! WINNER in my book. PINNED!

    Reply
  • Kristi @ My SF Kitchen says
    August 5, 2014 @ 2:26 am

    These look perfect!!

    Reply
  • Tara
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    says
    August 3, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

    These look incredibly awesome!!! I would like two of them please right now and I haven’t even had breakfast!!

    Reply
  • Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
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    says
    August 1, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

    Healthier, chocolate, brownie and cheesecake?
    Yeah, “I DO.”
    That was me marrying you. My hubs will understand.
    Pinned!

    Reply
  • Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking says
    July 31, 2014 @ 11:13 pm

    These brownie cheesecake bars oh my goodness! They look insanely good!
    If I ever visit Berlin you must make these for me just like to did for Ali and Marta! How fun that you got together!
    Congratulations on the cookbook!

    Reply
  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says
    July 31, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

    Yes, please! Loving this healthier version! Pinned!

    Reply
  • Anna (Hidden Ponies) says
    July 31, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

    I love when things work out when you least expect it! This looks so creamy and delicious!

    Reply
  • Aimee @ ShugarySweets says
    July 31, 2014 @ 4:37 am

    You make healthy look so good Erin. PINNED :)

    Reply
  • Liz says
    July 31, 2014 @ 3:13 am

    They DO look awesome!!! And that they’re a wee bit healthier than the usual cheesecake treats is a lovely bonus!

    Reply
  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says
    July 31, 2014 @ 2:43 am

    I am dying for this!

    Reply
  • Lyuba@willcookforsmiles says
    July 31, 2014 @ 2:34 am

    WOW, good looking bars! You said healthier? I’ll take a dozen ;)

    Reply
  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough says
    July 30, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

    So glad these turned out because HOLY YUM. Chocolate and peanut butter and cheesecake all together has got to be the best thing ever.

    Reply
  • Nora (A Clean Bake) says
    July 30, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

    I’m giggling a little thinking about you force feeding those brownies to Marta and Ali (lucky ladies!). :)

    Reply
  • Shaina says
    July 30, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

    Omg these look amazing. So rich and dense and filled with flavor! Yum!

    Reply
  • Lisa @ Wine & Glue says
    July 30, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

    It looks like they turned out amazing!! I mean . . . you really can’t go wrong with peanut butter cheesecake :) Pinned!

    Reply
  • Cate @ Chez CateyLou says
    July 30, 2014 @ 7:18 pm

    I love that you made these healthier! They look so peanut buttery and delicious! Your blog friends are so lucky that they got to sample two of your pb desserts! Happy Cheesecake Day!

    Reply
  • Julie says
    July 30, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

    PB + Chocolate = always a winner!

    Reply
  • Lisa @ Garnish with Lemon says
    July 30, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

    Peanut Butter cheesecake for the win!

    Reply
  • Heather @ French Press says
    July 30, 2014 @ 6:17 pm

    LOVE that you made each party of this dessert healthier :) and it looks delicious

    Reply
  • Sue {munchkin munchies} says
    July 30, 2014 @ 5:34 pm

    I’ll have to try this! I adore peanut butter, and heaven knows I could eat healthier and more guilt-free. :)

    Reply
  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today says
    July 30, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

    It this the cheesecake I had the last time we saw each other? The same one that disappeared the next day I had it in my fridge? It is so super good!

    Reply
  • Betsy | JavaCupcake.com says
    July 30, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

    I love that you made peanut butter and chocolate healthier, Erin!! I’m definitely going to make these!! PINNED!

    Reply
  • vanessa says
    July 30, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

    Hello, do you think this could also be made with almond butter?
    Thank you.
    Vanessa

    Reply
    • Erin replies to vanessa
      July 30, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

      Hi there! I haven’t tried it but yes, I think almond butter will work. :)

      Reply
  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies says
    July 30, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

    As you were mentioning not finding any recipes using natural peanut butter, I realized I’ve NEVER HAD A PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE! How is this even possible?! Even better if it’s paired with brownie, as cheesecake should always be.

    Reply

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