Squash Cheesecake Bars


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Why I Love This Recipe

This may not sound very good, but it really is! Nobody will even know there is squash in it. (FYI - I used butternut squash)


Ingredients You'll Need

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


Directions

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.


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.


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