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These Peppermint Cheesecake Bars are easy to make and have the most amazing texture! They’re the perfect Christmasy THM S and low carb dessert! You don’t even need a spring-form pan to make them.
“Uh…wait a minute,” you may be saying. “It’s the beginning of April.” Yeah, about that…. I currently have a very long backlog of recipes waiting to be turned into blog posts, so you’ll be seeing some more seasonally inappropriate recipes before too long if I can get my act together. I worked on this cheesecake recipe back in December but when it still hadn’t worked out perfectly by try #3, I abandoned it until February when I gave it another whirl and PRESTO! It was amazing. And I totally did not mind eating peppermint cheesecake in February, so I didn’t think you’d mind doing the same in April. I’ll resurrect this recipe around the holidays and pretend it’s new and only my faithful fans who follow me in every season will be the wiser. 😛
The secret to an amazing cheesecake texture.
But seriously, the texture in these cheesecake bars is amazing! I fiddled and fiddled with the ingredients and finally came up with a smooth result that was creamy and not too dense. I think the cream of tartar helped. “Yo, what’s the cream of tartar for?” you may be asking. I used it in this Black Raspberry Cheesecake recipe awhile ago and found that it helps keep the cheesecake from getting so dense. I think it adds stability (cream of tartar is often used when whipping egg whites for a meringue), thus allowing aeration. Don’t quote me on that, but I liked the result and highly recommend using it. Just leave it out if you don’t have it. The cheesecake should still be good.
So why didn’t you use a spring-form pan?
Cuz I didn’t feel like getting it out, assembling it, washing it, and having 16 servings of cheesecake in my fridge, calling my name, that’s why. I LOVE my 8″x8″ Pyrex glass pan with rubber lid. It stacks so nicely in the fridge – definitely unlike a spring-form pan. And an 8″x8″ feels less intimidating than a spring-form to someone who’s never made cheesecake before, know what I mean?
How do I prevent cheesecake from cracking?
- Don’t forget to bring your cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to room temperature before mixing up the cheesecake.
- Let the cheesecake cool slowly in the oven after baking as directed in the recipe.
- Use all full-fat ingredients.
Speaking of which…
Should I use full-fat or reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream?
Short answer: Either will work.
Long answer: Using all full-fat ingredients will give you a firmer cheesecake with less cracks, but I used 8 ounces of full-fat cream cheese and 8 ounces of reduced-fat cream cheese because I actually like the texture best when using a combination of both full and reduced fat. I used reduced-fat sour cream to cut down on unnecessary calories. If you’re doing keto and you want to use all full-fat ingredients, go right ahead! I calculated the nutrition info at the bottom of the recipe with the combination of ingredients I used.
Yeah, I’m actually probably going to start adding nutritional information to my recipes even though THM doesn’t require counting and I personally don’t count. I mean, I count stuff like money in my wallet (when there’s any in there), but not fats or carbs or calories. Two reasons for the change: 1) people ask for nutritional info all the time and I realize that I’m speaking to a larger audience than just Trim Healthy Mamas, and 2) Google search results actually like when bloggers provide all the extra little details like calories and prep time in a recipe card. Eventually I hope to go back through my old recipes and do a lot of updating, so I may be able to go back through old posts and add nutrition info there too someday. We’ll see.
Peppermint essential oil versus extract
I personally find that I can get a better peppermint flavor (less astringent and toothpasty) using peppermint essential oil than I can when using peppermint extract. I’m not an essential oil person and don’t really have any interest in becoming one (no offense, but I don’t think I’m a good fit for your multi-level marketing squad), but I do use a few oils on occasion for cooking or trying to make natural skin products (not much luck in that department yet). Please do your own research regarding ingesting essential oils and use peppermint extract if you prefer. I’d start with 1/2 teaspoon of something like Watkins brand peppermint extract and increase until you get the right amount since it’s so strong and can easily be overdone. I used 8 drops of peppermint oil in this recipe, which is probably a bit strong for some of you, so start with 6 drops and add more if desired. My friend Gwen has a good article here on safely using essential oils as flavorings.
UPDATE: My mom said she used 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract in place of the peppermint essential oil and loved the recipe!
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As always, check out the Notes section of the recipe for extra info. Check out the links in and below the recipe to see the products I use and recommend. Some of the links included in the recipe and blog post are affiliate links, which means that if you make purchases through these links, I make a small commission (but your price doesn’t change).
My cookbooks Necessary Food and Convenient Food contain about 400 low-glycemic recipes each, separated by carbs and fats and free of refined sugar and flour (like all the recipes here on my website). I grew up on my momma’s good cooking, and the recipes in these books are mostly just old family favorites made healthy! Now that I’m married, I’m gravitating even more toward quick and easy, and my newest cookbook definitely reflects that! CLICK HERE to check out my cookbooks in more detail and purchase.
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- 1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons THM Super Sweet Blend
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) salted butter (melted)
- 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese (room temperature)
- ½ cup sour cream (room temperature)
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons THM Super Sweet Blend (or more, to taste)
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6-8 drops peppermint essential oil (or peppermint extract, to taste)
- 7 drops red food coloring
- CRUST | Whisk the almond flour, cocoa powder, and Super Sweet Blend together. Add the melted butter and mix well. Press the crust mixture (it will be wet) into a greased 8"x8" baking dish and pre-bake at 350* for 8 minutes.
- CHEESECAKE | While the crust is pre-baking, make the filling. Beat the cream cheese (using a hand mixer or stand mixer) until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat again until smooth. Add the eggs and beat again. Add the Super Sweet Blend, vanilla, cream of tartar, and 6 drops of peppermint oil and beat for a minute to make the filling a little thicker and fluffier. Taste and add more sweetener and/or another drop or two of peppermint oil if desired and beat again.
- When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the cheesecake filing over the hot crust and shake the pan a bit to smooth the top. Drop 7 drops of red food coloring around the top of the cheesecake and use a knife to make a swirl, similar to a peppermint candy. Shake the pan gently again to smooth the top out.
- Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes until browning a little around the edges and mostly set but still a little jiggly in the middle. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door cracked open for 10 minutes to cool, then finish cooling the cheesecake on the counter before covering and refrigerating. Refrigerate overnight before serving, if possible.
-As always, feel free to use your favorite low-glycemic sweetener to taste in place of the THM Super Sweet Blend I used! Various sweeteners vary in strength, so taste and adjust to find the right amount.
-I used 8 oz. full-fat cream cheese and 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, but both will work. Full-fat cream cheese will give you a firmer result with fewer cracks, but I actually like the texture best when using a combination of both full and reduced fat. I used reduced-fat sour cream to cut down on unnecessary calories. If you're doing keto and you want to use all full-fat ingredients, go right ahead! I calculated the nutrition info with the ingredients I used.
-The cream of tartar is used to keep some air in the cheesecake so it's not as dense. I think it gives the cheesecake a great texture, but you can leave it out if you don't have it.
-Please do your own research regarding ingesting essential oils and use peppermint extract if you prefer. I'd start with ½ teaspoon of something like Watkins brand peppermint extract and increase until you get the right amount since it's so strong and can easily be overdone. I personally find that I can get a better peppermint flavor (less astringent and toothpasty) using peppermint essential oil. I used 8 drops, which is probably a bit strong for some of you, so start with 6 and add more if desired. UPDATE: My mom said she used 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract in place of the peppermint essential oil and loved the recipe!
-Of course you don't HAVE to use the food coloring if you'd rather not, but it makes the cheesecake so pretty! I know there are healthy options out there involving beet root powder if you're inclined to experiment, but I have no experience with them personally.
-Net carbs calculated by subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols from total carbs.