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Pumpkin Cheesecake

I’m not sure what I love more; cheesecake or pumpkin pie.  Fortunately with this Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe that is easy to make I don’t have to choose.  You all know I love to take traditional recipes and make them healthier and lighter and this version is certainly turning a guilty pleasure into a guiltless pleasure. Be sure to let me know how yours turns out.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour, 5 minutes Serves 8

1 10-ounce bag gingersnap cookies, crushed (about 2 cups)
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup natural buttery spread (such as Earth Balance or
Smart Balance), melted
1 tablespoon Sucanat*
*Sucanat is an unrefined, unprocessed sugar that is a more healthful
alternative to refined brown sugar.

3 8-ounce packages reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup Sucanat
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
Whole or chopped toasted pecans for garnish

To Make Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch
springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil. In a food
processor, pulse together the cookies and pecans until they’re finely
ground. In a medium-size bowl, combine the cookie mixture with the
melted butter alternative and the Sucanat; mix thoroughly. Press the crust mixture onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven; set it aside. Keep the oven on.

To Make Filling: In a large mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese and Sucanat until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice; beat until smooth.

To Assemble and Cook: Pour the filling into the baked crust. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to get all the filling. Bake the cheesecake until the center is set and the edges begin to crack, about 1 hour, 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven; cool for 20 minutes.

Chill uncovered for 6 hours. Garnish with whole or chopped toasted pecans. Enjoy!