Squash Cheesecake Bars
INGREDIENTS
  • 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. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
RECIPE BACKSTORY
This may not sound very good, but it really is! Nobody will even know there is squash in it. (FYI - I used butternut squash)