After a month of planning, waiting, and drooling, I met up with two of my closest high school friends at the Cheesecake Factory two weeks ago. We dressed up in our cutest skirts and heels to celebrate the occasion, then stood around in the crowded lobby for an hour with slightly pinched toes (oh karma!) until the hostess led us to a table.
We chatted through the bread basket and shared stories in between bites of our salads and pasta, but all conversation ceased once the dessert arrived. As staunch chocoholics, we skipped over all of the cheesecakes and selected Linda’s Fudge Cake instead. With towering layers of cake and thick frosting studded with mini chocolate chips, that slice was pure heaven on a plate. My friends politely nibbled on their dainty bites, but I cut off huge chunks to shovel in my mouth and happily scraped the dish clean when they pronounced themselves “too full to finish.”
That’s what friends are for, right?
Despite choosing that chocolate cake, we still spent a large portion of our hour-long wait staring at the display case of cheesecakes. We pointed at the Snickers, Kahlua, and Toasted Marshmallow S’more, but my eyes lit up when I spotted the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough one tucked away in the back corner.
I could bake that myself!
To make my version, I started with a small batch of your favorite eggless cookie dough. You’ll actually freeze it twice—once before shaping it into tiny balls and another time after—because that makes the cookie dough stiffer and easier to work with and helps it keep its shape when you add it to the cheesecake filling. Be sure to use a spatula for folding it in since an electric mixer’s beaters would break apart the cookie dough and blend it into the filling!
While I kept the same Oreo cookie crust as the Cheesecake Factory, I deviated a little from their original as I mixed up the filling. I prefer a sweet vanilla flavor over the taste of their slightly tart plain, and I nixed the nuts they included inside and on top. Instead, I substituted extra mini chocolate chips to ensure every bite contained chocolate or cookie dough (or both!), but you could easily switch back to finely chopped walnuts or pecans.
My Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake is sweet and creamy, secretly skinny, and packed with protein (13.9 grams per slice!). With 845 fewer calories than the Cheesecake Factory’s, you’ll love the guilt-free feeling you get after eating a piece!