Recipe: Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Squares

peanut-butter chocolate-chip cheesecake squares. A simple, not-too-sweet treat!

So I decided to add another recipe to the repertoire of not-too-sweet treats I’ve been sharing here. I made these the other day and Ben declared them “The perfect dessert.” They’re filling and indulgent, without being too sweet.

I developed this recipe out of a desire for a go-to, not-too-sugary, not-too-processed cheesecake recipe. I couldn’t find one so I had to make one up. The greatest challenge was coming up with a good crust.

Growing up, I knew how to make cheesecake crusts using one of two standard ingredients: either store-bought graham-cracker crumbs or Oreo cookie crumbs. Those were your options. You added more sugar and some butter (or margarine!) to either one of these bagged ingredients and pressed it into the bottom of your pan before adding your filling.

When I started to transition to real/traditional foods, I realized that these staple items in my pantry had to go. They were filled with obnoxious non-food ingredients like hydrogenated oils, artificial flavours, and of course, high-fructose corn syrup.

I started playing around with simpler ingredients. Turns out, you can make an excellent crust using just flour, sugar, and butter (and cocoa, if you want).

This recipe still has plenty of sugar, so you don’t want to make it often or eat it all in one sitting. It also still contains white flour. But it’s definitely less sugary and processed than the recipes I grew up with, and I’ve decided it’s acceptable as an occasional treat.

In this recipe, I’ve added cacao nibs to add some rich, chocolatey flavour and textural intrigue without adding more sugar, but you can omit them or substitute chocolate chips.

peanut-butter chocolate chip cheesecake squares

Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Squares

Note: it’s best to make cheesecake with room-temperature ingredients. So take your cream cheese,  eggs and peanut butter (if applicable) out of the fridge an hour or so before you start. This will give you a smoother batter, and you won’t have to beat it as long, which helps prevent cracking during baking.

Also note that this recipe requires you to bake the crust on its own for a bit before adding the rest and completing the baking.


  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted

Combine all the ingredients in a square 9-inch glass pan, and then pat it down in the bottom of the dish evenly. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Let it cool a bit before adding the filling.

 Cheesecake filling:

  • 2 bricks (1 pound) cream cheese
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar (sucanat, evaporated cane juice, or coconut palm are all good)
  • 2 eggs
  • handful raw cacao nibs (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips

Mix all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a mixer with the paddle attachment just until blended. Pour onto the cooled crust. [Updated to add: sprinkle on chocolate chips]

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Serves 9 (If everyone’s being self-disciplined)


If you’re in the mood for chocolate cheesecake, omit the peanut butter and add 3 tbsp cocoa powder.

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  1. I’m assuming you sprinkle the choc chips on before baking? This looks FAB!! Thanks!
    PepperReed recently posted..Back in the Land of the Living!My Profile

  2. Emily W says:

    Oh my word this is TORTURE! I’m living in a hotel room right now (because Brian’s in North Carolina for work for awhile) and I’m sitting here munching on carrots, with no way to make this amazing recipe. It looks fantastic though and I love that you invented a way to make something so delicious looking with real food! I’ll have to give this a try at some point.

  3. Looks Good! Will have to try this..except I’ll have to substitute a few of the items since I don’t use butter, cheese or milk.
    Rose recently posted..Milk…Is It Really Good For You?My Profile

  4. Hmm. I made the chocolate version and, while delicious, the cream cheese did not…cream properly, or something. So there were like chunks of cream cheese suspended in the rest of the chocolate. The cream cheese was room temperature, so I’m not sure why this happened. No matter how long I beat the batter, it didn’t seem to break down any further. Advice? Maybe I’ll try the PB version and see if that makes a difference.

    • Hi Katie! You know what? I made the chocolate version last week and had the same problem. (It had been a while since I’d made it last, so I had forgotten a few minor details). I think next time I’ll beat the cream cheese first with just a few tablespoons of milk to make sure it’s nice and creamy before adding the other ingredients. And for the PB version, I think beating the PB and cream cheese together first before adding eggs (etc) would also improve the texture. I’ll need to make a note of that in the recipe above. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!!

  5. This looks absolutely delicious! I might have to try this for the next family gathering. If make it now except my husband hates cheesecakes and I’m still trying to keep from giving Ana sweets.
    Michele recently posted..Motherhood With A Toddler – Sleeping ArraignmentsMy Profile

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