Tuesday, October 21, 2014

pumpkin cheesecake //gingersnap crust//pumpkin caramel


I've been totally slackin' on the blog posting. I've been making a lot of recipes but a lot of them needed tweaking.... This beauty of a recipe was one of them, and boyyyy oh boy its so worth the work I put into tweaking/perfecting it.

This time of year brings out the baker in me, and fall flavors constantly whiz through my mind. Every year, my signature dish I bring to thanksgiving is a Bon Appetit Pumpkin Cheesecake with gingersnap crust and a sour cream marshmallow topping. This year, I wanted to do a snack size version that wouldn't be such a gut buster. 

Mission Accomplished! The bulk of the "cheesecake" is actually blended fat free cottage cheese.... and don't you dare be scared off by that! I HATE cottage cheese. The texture makes me wanna yak without even having to eat it. I recently started experimenting with blended cottage cheese, and it has transformed the ingredient for me. It lends an amazing smooth and rich element, without feeling heavy like cream cheese can. 

I recommend sweetening the cheesecake to taste, depending on which kind of sweetener/sugar you use. Just sweeten it to your liking before you add your eggs! I sweetened mainly with stevia, plus a small amount of coconut sugar and a bit of brown sugar. This recipe absolutely doesn't need the pumpkin caramel, but I couldn't pass up the pumpkin caramel I found it at Trader Joe's last week. If you do want to do a caramel on top, use any caramel sauce you like!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Gingersnap Crust and Trader Joe's Pumpkin Caramel

2 cups of gingersnap cookie crumbs (or cookie of your choice)
4 tablespoons coconut oil (or other neutral oil or butter)

8oz reduced fat cream cheese (I used Trader Joe's light organic whipped)
1 16oz container of cottage cheese ( I used Trader Joe's organic fat free)
1 cup organic canned pumpkin
1/4 cup organic coconut sugar 
2 tablespoons organic brown sugar
17 packets Pure Via stevia (equivilant to a little less than 3/4 cup sugar)
*if using just regular white and brown sugar, 1/2 cup each
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon organic unbleached white flour
2 eggs 
2 tablespoons egg whites (or another egg)

Line an 11x7 baking dish with foil, leaving a few inches hanging over so you can easily pull out cheesecake after baking. Grease the foil evenly with oil.

crust: Preheat oven to 350f. In a food processor, combine cookie crumbs and oil until evenly combined. Press mixture into greased pan, patting it until even. Bake for 12 minutes.

cheesecake: Reduce heat to 325f. In a food processor, blend cottage cheese until smooth, scraping sides until blended. Add cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, flour, and sugars. Sweeten to taste, then add eggs. Blend until even. Pour over crust*, bake for 45 minutes. Let cool completely, carefully lift the cheesecake out using the excess foil as a handle. Place in fridge for 30 minutes, cut into squares. Top with caramel sauce and coarse sea salt to taste. 
*I had some extra filling left over, so I put a gingersnap cookie at the bottom of a silicone muffin liner in a muffin pan, and poured leftover cheesecake filling on top (made 3 mini cheesecakes) and baked for 25 minutes. 

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