This recipe for orange cheesecake bars reminds me a bit of the frozen Creamsicle bars that I used to love when I was a kid. These delicious dessert bars are the perfect addition to your collection of cheesecake recipes.
The tasty recipe is a cross between a cheesecake and sugar cookies, delightfully flavored and baked and then sliced into handy bar servings.
These easy orange cheesecake dessert bars combine reduced fat cream cheese with sugar free orange jam and fresh orange zest along with white baking chips and Cointreau liqueur for a finishing touch that would be the pride dessert of any fancy dinner party.
And with the holidays right around the corner, this yummy cheesecake bars recipe will be the delight of your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert table! For a delicious sweet treat, they aren’t even too bad in the calorie department which is something to consider this time of the year!
The recipe is super easy to make. Just prepare the crust (made from packaged sugar cookie dough, so it is very fast to do), then add the topping mix, bake, then cool and finish with the creamy white chocolate mixture.
The orange creamsicle bars can sit in the fridge all day and be ready at dinner, which gives you time to tend to other tasks.
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Here is how to make these orange cheesecake bars.
Gather everything you need before you start. For me, this is one of the most important cooking tips that a home baker can do. Nothing is worse than getting part way through a recipe only to discover you are missing a key item.
You’ll need these ingredients:
- refrigerated sugar cookie dough
- fresh orange zest
- reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- granulated sugar
- sugar free Orange Marmalade
- Triple sec or Cointreau (orange extract also works if you don’t like alcohol in recipes)
- heavy cream
- orange gel food coloring
- white baking chips
- Fresh mint
Directions for the easy orange creamsicle dessert
Using a packaged cookie dough means that the crust is super easy to make. No need to take out your food processor! Just press the packaged cookie dough evenly on the bottom and partially up the sides of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and then sprinkle the crust with orange zest.
This gives a fresh burst of citrus flavor to the base of the bars that is just amazing!
Combine the reduced fat cream cheese, sugar, marmalade and Cointreau in the bowl of a stand mixer for about 1 minute until the mixture is well blended.
The mixture will have some chunks from the orange marmalade which will give it lots of yummy orange flavor as well as a bit of texture.
Next, beat in the eggs until the mixture is very creamy – about 2 minutes, then spread the batter over the prepared crust.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the center of the creamsicle cheesecake bars is set. It is important the the center of the cheesecake is set so that the bars slice well. Cool for an hour in the fridge.
While the cheesecake is cooling, you can make the dreamy orange cream white chocolate ganache topping.
Making the topping
Combine the whipping cream and orange gel food coloring in the microwave safe bowl. Just a few drops will give you a nice orange color.
Heat the mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until it just starts to boil.
Add the butter and white chocolate baking and heat again and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is creamy.
I did this in 10 second increments to make sure the chocolate didn’t seize. You will need to stir well between each heating to make sure that the chocolate morsels melt well.
Spread the white chocolate and cream mixture over the top of the cooled cheesecake bars evenly. You can easily see where the Creamsicle connection comes into play when you are spreading the orange layer.
The topping covers the top of the cheesecake in much the same way as the orange outer layer coats the ice cream in Creamsicles.
NOTE: My ratio of cream and butter to chocolate chips results in a very thin topping that is more like a ganache than a layer. (it oozes over the sides of the cheesecake when cut.)
If you want a more layered dessert, just reduce the cream slightly and add more white chocolate chips so that it sets more firmly.
All that is left to do now is put the cheesecake bars back into the fridge until everything is chilled and firm.
Serve the orange cheesecake bars garnished with fresh mint and wait for the rave reviews!
Tasting these orange cream cheesecake bars
Every bite of these delicious cheesecake bars is a taste sensation. The cookie dough base will make you wonder if you are eating bars or cookies.
And the cream cheese and orange marmalade filling is tangy and not too sweet with a rich cheesecake taste.
The top layer is sweet and creamy and finishes off the bars with a light sugary taste. Since it is thin, it acts like a ganache when the bars are cut and drips down the sides, covering the cheesecake layer.
The whole dessert is the perfect combination of a textured bottom crust with a creamy middle finished off with sweetness without a sugar overload. My kind of bar dessert!
Garnish with some fresh mint for an even brighter taste. You could even drizzle the bars with some sugar free chocolate syrup for a delightful orange chocolate taste!
Nutritional Information for these easy orange cheesecake bars
This recipe makes 24 bars. Each bar works out to 176 calories with 5.5 grams of saturated fat and 11.6 grams of sugar. This is not too bad for a dessert that tastes as decadent as these orange creamsicle cheesecake bars do!
If you are following the WW plan, these bars work out to 6 freestyle points each.
Keeping the calories lower is easy
In this recipe, like so many of my recipes, I take a traditional dessert idea and try to make it lower in calories, fat, and sugar.
Since orange cheesecake with cream and white chocolate would be pretty off limits to most diet plants, a few tweaks makes this dessert more weight loss friendly.
There are lots of ways to make a traditional cheesecake recipe more diet friendly. For this recipe I made these substitutions:
- Switch out the full fat cream cheese for a 1/3 lower fat variety. Since you will be using 2 packages, this can save quite a bit in the fat grams calculation.
- Keep the sugar to just a scant 1/4 cup. (You can also use Splenda or another sweetener in place of sugar to save another 2 grams of fat and about 10 calories per slice)
- Use a sugar free orange marmalade for a bright orange flavor. This saves 117 calories and 36 grams of sugar on the whole recipe.
- Limit the amount of white chocolate chips. I only used 1/2 cup for the topping. Even though the topping is very thin, it still adds a load of flavor and sweetness.
- Add orange zest for extra flavor as well.
Making just these few changes will save a no-no dessert into a “yes, please” sweet tooth temptation.
Key note: Another way that the calories are kept low is by portion control – a key to more healthy eating. I could have made this into a normal cheesecake in a spring form pan, but would have ended up with about 12 servings at most. There are 24 bars in this recipe which halves the calories just by the baking method.
This orange cheesecake bar recipe is the perfect new sweet treat to add to your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert table and is perfect all year round for a burst of summer time freshness.
Take some along to your next pot luck gathering. The bars will be a hit for sure!
Pin these orange cheesecake bars for later
Would you like a reminder of these delicious creamsicle bars? Just pin this image to one of your dessert boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in January of 2014. I have updated the post to add new photos, a printable recipe card and a video for you to enjoy.
If you don't want to use alcohol in the recipe, orange extract will also give an enhanced orange flavor. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases but the price is the same for you. Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 10.2gSaturated Fat: 5.5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: .5gCholesterol: 34.5mgSodium: 135.8mgCarbohydrates: 18.6gFiber: 0gSugar: 11.6gProtein: 2.7g
If you don't want to use alcohol in the recipe, orange extract will also give an enhanced orange flavor.