Squash Cheesecake Bars

Squash Cheesecake Bars

6 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2007

Pureed winter squash gives most of the body to these leaner cheesecake bars.

Ingredients 1 serving

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  • 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

Preparation

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  • Ready In

  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 degrees . 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.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • 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.
  • Storage smarts: For long-term freezer storage, wrap your food in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. The plastic will help prevent freezer burn while the foil will help keep off-odors from seeping into the food.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 bar
  • Per serving: 144 calories; 6 g fat(3 g sat); 1 g fiber; 18 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 19 mcg folate; 35 mg cholesterol; 10 g sugars; 8 g added sugars; 243 IU vitamin A; 0 mg vitamin C; 70 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 221 mg sodium; 88 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat

Reviews 6

August 31, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Amazing! This was great! My entire family, including my 1-year old loved it. I changed the recipe a bit, For the crust: I added 1/4 c. fresh coconut flour instead of the all-purpose flour and I added 1TSP of apple pie spice ( it's all I had prepared) and I increased the butter to 3TSP. I also baked the crust for 15 minutes at 350, then let it cool for about an hour before adding the cheesecake batter. For the batter: I used whipped cream cheese (it's the lowest fat content I could find here in the Micronesian Islands, I was lucky to find THAT!) I also used pumpkin puree instead of squash, again I used what I could find. I also added the same apple pie spice to the batter and omitted the spices listed. I then chilled the batter for about an hour while the crust cooled. It's about 100 degrees here, in the air conditioned house, so putting it in the refrigerator was necessary, but it may not be where you are. I baked the dish at 325 for 35 minutes, then shut off the oven and let it sit in there for about an hour. I put it straight into the refrigerator until dinner time. We served this cold, with some salted caramel drizzle and fresh coconut flakes (my kids put coconut flakes on everything, my husband and I did not, haha.) It was fantastic! We will definitely be making this again, and trying different squashes as they become available. My kids want me to make it with sweet potato. Sounds interesting enough. Pros: Easy to prep, make ahead, variety of flavor opt
November 20, 2011
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By: EatingWell User
Tweaked the original recipe...great but the crust is too dry I followed advice of the previous reviewers. I added cinnamon (about 1 tsp? didn't measure, sorry), and a dash of nutmeg and cloves to the crust and baked it for 20 minutes. The crust seemed too dry before baking, so no wonder it came out that way too. Crust flavor was great, but I wonder if adding more milk, more butter, or omitting flour might have helped. For the cheesecake layer, I baked my own butternut squash and used 1 c mashed with a fork. I also doubled the cinnamon, and added a dash of nutmeg and cloves. I also added an additional 2 T of white sugar. After baking approximately 45 minutes at 325, and cooling 1 hr in the fridge, the pieces came our with a bit of crumbly crust in the bottom of the pan, but when I picked up the bars, the entire top separated from the bottom on some of the pieces. On other pieces the crust came off in clumps. The taste was great, just the right amount of sweet, but the presentation will be lacking. Fortunately, I'm serving it to my 2 yr old and his classmates! Pros: healthier dessert alternative, toddler friendly Cons: crust still needs help
March 16, 2010
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By: Nicole Barnhouse
I liked the subtle flavor and right out of the fridge the squares came out very clean when cut with a very sharp knife. They must be served room temperature or even warm - the cold mutes the flavor too much. My husband loves them; and this was after the look he gave me while cutting up the squash.
November 10, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
A disappointment (this is coming from a long-time fan). The crust is flat and heavy - I think the suggestions about longer baking time and the addition of spices are good ones. Plus, I wonder if the flour is necessary. The filling needs more squash flavor and sweetness. I probably won't make this again but I'll check back to see if other people attempt this recipe and make/suggest changes. Low-fat cream cheese squash bars are a great concept!
October 25, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
I added ground cinnamon and ground cloves to the crust mix. It definately needs a doubling of the squash. I served this at a party, where most attendees are not really health conscious. It was very well received. Baking the crust a bit longer results in a crisper crust if that is desired.
October 03, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
Pretty good! My first attempt at cheesecake of any kind and it turned out despite my adding 50% more acorn squash. My batter wasn't as smooth as it could have been - my fault - I think it did affect the recipe. Blend that batter, people! We talked about it after and although it is very good we might consider the following: 1: Put crushed nuts into the base. 2. Top with real whipped cream infused with maple syrup. 3. Add sliced toasted caramelized pecans. I'm sending it out to friends (the recipe) and will make it again.

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