One of my college best friend’s husband works for KIND and he challenged me to create something new and innovative with KIND Healthy Grains (Oats & Honey Clusters with Toasted Coconut) on my food blog. Challenge accepted! I mulled over a few brainless recipes such as crumbles and crisps and was met with a “mmmm…” – I realized quickly Brad was looking to up the ante and really have me show off what this cooking blog is all about. I needed to get inventive, creative and dig a bit deeper – I WAS READY! Some creative thinking and some advice from my Dad (an incredible foodie and trained chef) yielded this recipe…KIND Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake…now, I hear you…a cheesecake? How inventive is that?! But, stay with me…what’s unique about THIS cheesecake is the crust. I used the KIND healthy grains to create a whole grain, low glycemic crust. Who needs to grind up graham crackers to make a crust when you have KIND grains?!
What really excited me about this challenge was finding a way to keep the integrity of the grains…not just grinding them up in a food processor and overloading them with sugar, but protecting the grain and continuing the healthy concept of a low glycemic index. I was able to do this by mixing the grains with a small amount of butter, brown sugar and chopped pecans.
The cheesecake filling is a made with maple syrup and pumpkin puree and lends a slightly spicy and savory flavor. While this recipe might seem a bit out of place for a Spring blog post you must understand the 4th Sunday of every March in the state of Maine is ‘Maine Maple Sunday’. This is the best time of the year to get fresh off the tree Maple Syrup! Maine Maple Sunday is a right of passage into the Spring season for locals and finding a local sugar maker is a top priority for me each Spring season. My parents do their due diligence as blog supporters and load me up with fresh Maine Maple Syrup each March so I can stock my pantry for all of my baking needs!
I must admit after my first bite of this cheesecake I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the boring old graham cracker crust – why toss crumbs into the bottom of a springform pan when you can have a crunchy grain and nut crust enhance the cheesecake and add flavor with honey and toasted coconut! Challenge conquered…now on to the next KIND product! Stay tuned…
- 1 1/2 cups KIND Oats & Honey Clusters with Toasted Coconut Healthy Grains
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 pounds cream cheese (4 - 8 ounce bars), at room temperature
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- Cut a parchment round to fit the bottom of an 8" springform pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the crust mix the KIND grains, brown sugar, and chopped pecans together. Add in melted butter and mix until nut/grain mixture is well coated. Press into bottom of the parchment lined springform pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Once crust has cooled completely wrap the bottom of the springform pan with a double layer of foil. Cheesecake will be sitting in a water bath and this will help prevent the water from seeping into cheesecake as it cooks.
- Using a stand mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy using medium speed, for roughly 3 minutes. Turn speed down to low and slowly pour in the maple syrup, until completely mixed. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each, until well combined.
- Pour half of the cream cheese filling into the crust. Place the bowl back onto the mixer and add the pumpkin and spices and mix until well blended. Pour the remaining mixture into the springform pan, on top of the mixture already added. With a small spatula fold and swirl the pumpkin layer into the bottom layer.
- Place foil wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan and place onto middle rack of the oven. Add roughly 3/4 inch of boiling water to the roasting pan, creating a water bath for the cheesecake. Bake until cheesecake is set, about 75 minutes. Cheesecake will be set but slightly jiggly in the middle.
- Remove from oven to a wire rack and fold back the foil to allow cheesecake to cool. Cool completely. Refrigerate uncovered for 12-24 hours. When ready to serve run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake before unmolding the springform pan.