My sweet tooth has struck again! I've been on a coconut kick lately: macaroons, Dunkin' iced coconut coffee, chocolate haystacks -- you name it, if it's got coconut listed as an ingredient chances are it's on my radar.

I was drifting somewhere between thoughts of coconut or Boston cream pies, when I saw a picture of a cheesecake and the deal was set: Toasted Coconut Cream Cheesecake ... but in bite-sized pieces. Normally I'm not a big fan of cheesecake. I'll be the first to tell you that I'd happily devour the crust and leave the filling on the plate. For that reason, I wanted to create a recipe for a lighter and creamier filling to bridge the gap between cheese cake and a cream pie.

Since my favorite part of cheesecake is generally the crumbly cookie crust, I went with vanilla wafers rather than your standard graham crackers for this coconut confection. Even though the recipe is pictured as "'bites," you can skip the cutting and serve it whole as a standard cheesecake, or slice and dice to your heart's content.

Toasted Coconut Cream Cheesecake (Bites!)

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt

1. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl until butter is fully incorporated, and is the texture of wet sand.


2. Line a medium sized baking dish with aluminum foil, folding extra over the sides of the dish. Coat with a layer of nonstick pan spray.

3. Press mixture into the bottom of the lined dish, and set aside.

For the filling

  • 16 oz. (2 packages) cream cheese
  • 1 cup vanilla or coconut Greek yogurt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth.

3. Add yogurt, eggs, vanilla sugar, and salt, and continue to mix on low speed until entire mixture is smooth -- about 3-4 minutes.

4. Pour the filling mixture into the lined baking dish, layered on top of the vanilla cookie crust. Top with even coverage of shredded coconut.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, until filling has set and coconut is toasted and golden brown.

6. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours up to overnight. If desired, you can opt to freeze the cheesecake instead.

7. Gently remove the cheesecake from the dish by lifting with the foil. Peel off the foil, and discard. Slice into bite-sized squares.

Jessica Roy is a specialty chef and caterer, food writer and chef instructor, and owner of Shiso Kitchen in Somerville. Follow her at