Not sure if you guys have noticed but I’m changing things up a bit at Goodness Guru HQ. When I first started my blog I was 19, I was in an ok place with food, but not amazing and I was very naive to wellness culture growing all around me.
Disclaimer: I am not strictly anti wellness. Health is a privilege and not something we should take for granted, however, health isn’t simply the absence of disease or even just physical health. A holistic definition of health encompasses physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual well-being. These different aspects of health must all be equally valued and so a bit of sugar, wine, late nights etc all have a place in our lives.
As such, I want to move away from my more stereotypically “healthy recipes”. I definitely still enjoy these and totally feel like they have a place as they’re delicious. But I also want to include a wider range of different ingredients on here that demonstrate my all foods fit approach and well, because they are delicious and healthy too.
Baked vanilla cheesecakes used to be one of my favourites. I remember having the most delicious slice at a fancy restaurant in London called the Wolsey way back. I had the most sweet and juicy hand-picked British premium strawberries from Jubilee selections and strawberries with baked vanilla cheesecake sounded like a dream come true, not forgetting the crucial addition of chocolate because chocolate with everything, am I right?
After a quick trip to Sainsbury’s I pretty much had everything I needed. Not going to lie, cream cheese and digestive biscuits are a lot easier on the bank balance than dates and all those grams of cashew nuts. I also find a raw base of nuts and dates never really gets at the buttery, crumbly goodness of the classic cheesecake. It’s the bit I always missed. Base is crucial for a top knotch cheesecake although one ingredient popular with all wellness bloggers I used in my base was peanut butter, an epic addition.
Reaching for the butter and caster sugar reminded me of baking before my eating disorder. It took me right back to my Easy Peasy children’s cookbook I adored in my early teens. I know it may feel a little uncomfortable using ingredients when they’ve been “scary” for so long, or maybe they still are, but I find it help to break things down. Cream cheese and yoghurt are rich sources of calcium important for bones and teeth, the body recognises caster sugar and maple syrup in the exact same way, digestive biscuits are fortified with iron, calcium, niacin (B3) and thiamin (B1), these are essential vitamins and minerals. Eggs are a good source of protein and butter contains B12. Strawberries are also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants and these British hand-picked strawberries from Jubilee selections are the perfect little heart shape and so sweet and juicy.
I think cheesecake was definitely intended to simply be delicious, but breaking it down also helps to see it’s not the devil in disguise and does contain some important macro and micronutrients. I loved baking these cheesecakes with my boyfriend one evening, I definitely recommend baking with a friend for fun and I also shared them with a group of my closest girlfriends at a brunch full of silliness and giggles. Food is about so much more than just nutritional value, preparing and eating these were part of a much bigger picture of my overall health and wellbeing!
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
In a food processor blitz the digestive biscuits into a crumb. Add the melted butter, peanut butter and salt and continue to mix until the mixture will stick when compressed.
Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases and press about a tablespoon of biscuit base into each one. Everyone likes the base so no holding back!
Add the cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and mix using an electric whisk (or hand if you don’t have one). Crack in the eggs and continue to beat. Finally add the greek yoghurt, sugar, vanilla, vanilla seeds and an extra pinch of salt.
Divide the cheesecake mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. It may seem a little runnier than usual but will set when baked. The cheesecakes are ready when the top is just turning golden brown. You will notice they rise and then collapse whilst cooling, this is totally normal.
Leave the cheesecakes to cool without handling. Once cool enough place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour, or longer.
Once chilled, wash the dry the strawberries. Remove the cheesecakes from their cases and place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Bash the crunchie into a beautiful golden crumb. Melt the chocolate in separate bowls. Using a knife or whatever utensil you have around drizzle the cheesecakes with melted chocolate. I like a mix of dark and milk chocolate. Then dip the Jubilee selection’s strawberries into melted chocolate and use them to top each individual cheesecake.
There will hopefully be some strawberries left over to dip in chocolate and sprinkle with bashed up crunchie for the perfect platter. Or sprinkle the crunchie over the top of the cheesecakes. Whatever you prefer. This would also work great with a bashed up flake, more digestives or ginger nuts. Whatever you like.
Return the cheesecakes to the fridge to cool. Serve cold, preferably with good company.