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Katherine's Favourites

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

Home & Garden

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In keeping with the local and seasonal ingredients that I try to use as much as possible, Iíve had pumpkin and squash overflowing in my kitchen for the past several weeks.  Thereís only so much squash a small family can eat each week, and eating it is made more difficult by the fact that squash isnít particularly conducive to being whipped up in a flash at 5:30 pm, when Iím rushing around trying to get some food on the table.  It always seems to require more forethought than I give it!    

So, a few days ago, when the pumpkin / squash count was getting out of control, I decided to bake a few and mash them, then put the whole lot in the fridge for use as required.  This has proven to be a good plan.  Weíve had squash mixed into a variety of dishes but, best of all, having it precooked enabled me to satisfy my latest dessert craving for cheesecake.  

 Iíll confess that I donít really like pumpkin.  I even avoid pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  Iím wild about cheesecake, though, and figured this would be an easy way to use up a significant amount of cooked pumpkin without having to eat it consciously!  The squares turned out great, with a strong pumpkin flavour and thick chocolate marbling.  Apparently, they were a hit with my husbandís coworkers, so thatís a good sign!  

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

Crust: 

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

 ľ cup granulated sugar

 2 tbsp butter, melted

 

Stir together until well moistened.  Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the ends, and lightly grease it.  Press crumbs evenly into bottom of pan.  Bake at 325 F for 10-12 minutes or until set.

 

Filling:

2 cups low-fat cottage cheese

2 packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

ľ cup cornstarch

Puree the cottage cheese in a food processor.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.  Pour into a bowl.

  2 eggs, beaten

  2 tsp vanilla

  ľ tsp salt

Mix in only until blended.  Remove 1-1/2 cups of batter and set aside.

  1-1/2 cups pumpkin, cooked and pureed

  ľ cup brown sugar

  ĺ tsp cinnamon

  ľ tsp nutmeg

Add to remaining batter.

  1/3 cup baking cocoa

  1 cup chocolate chips, melted

Add to the reserved batter.  Stir until thoroughly blended.

Pour pumpkin mixture into crust-lined pan, then spoon chocolate mixture on top in small rounds; swirl together with a knife.  Bake in preheated oven at 325 F until edge of filling is set, about 45-50 minutes.  Let cool in pan for at least an hour, then move to a rack.  (I discovered that the squares are best if refrigerated, otherwise they get very soft.)

Adapted from the ďSimply in SeasonĒ cookbook by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert


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Saturday, November 05, 2011