Sunday, June 1, 2008

Butternut Squash Cheesecake Bars

I bought a butternut squash to make a risotto recipe. But, before I could get around to using the squash, I made another recipe with rice that made enough leftovers that I will not want rice for a very long time. So, I had to think of something else to do with this squash. Mmmm....cheesecake.

The oatmeal in the crust is really good, it's soft, like a breakfast bar...maybe Nutrigrain or Quaker oatmeal? I thought they were kind of flat, but I could have probably made them in a smaller pan to get a thicker filling. They turned out pretty good (I had three of them already). They aren't too sweet or rich. They would be great to have in the Fall.

Makes 18 bars
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 4 hours (including cooling & chilling time)

9 low-fat graham crackers (4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking or steel-cut)
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons nonfat milk
8 ounces nonfat cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
1/2 cup squash puree
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray

2. Process graham crackers, oats, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 cup flour and butter in a food processor until finely ground. Add milk; pulse until completely moistened.

3. Transfer the graham cracker mixture to the prepared pan and evenly pat into the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, reduce oven temperature to 325°. Beat both cream cheeses and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, scraping down the sides occasionally. Beat in squash puree until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Finally, beat in vanilla, cinnamon, salt and the remaining 3 tablespoons flour. Scrape the filling into the pan, spreading evenly over the crust.

5. Bake until set and the edges are light brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into bars.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per bar: 146 calories; 6 g fat (3 g sat, 1 g mono); 37 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 1 g fiber; 209 mg sodium; 79 mg potassium.1 Carbohydrate ServingExchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat

TIP: To make your own squash puree, halve and seed one medium acorn or butternut squash. Place, cut-side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven until soft, about 50 minutes. Cool, then scrape out the flesh with a fork. Or simply use frozen (thawed) or canned squash puree. Find frozen squash puree near other vegetables in the freezer section and canned squash near the canned pumpkin.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.


Nina Lincoff said...

Hi Melissa-

I hope this message finds you well! My name is Nina and I'm a writer for SHAPE magazine.

I'm be working on a recipe roundup "Veggie in Desserts" and I was wondering if it would be alright to use (and get a photo for) this recipe. Of course, I'd credit you and link out to the site page. Please shoot me a message at n.lincoff@gmail.com if that works!



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