Saturday, August 1, 2009

Adventures in Baking with Natural Sweeteners

I have been wanting to stop using refined sugar and to start using healthier, more natural sweeteners. I ignored my pantry when making shopping lists, then one day it happened.
It was Sunday and Scott felt like having cake. He decided that cheesecake was a good choice, if I was up to it. I gathered my ingredients and went to the pantry for the sugar. I thought I had 2-3 packages left, but realized it was flour, not sugar. So, my creative mind went to work and this is what I came up with. I even used the 1/3 less fat cream cheese (neufchatel). The baking time isn't exact since I need to use a smaller spring form pan next time, so just keep an eye on it. It came out very good after chilling for a while and it was amazing after chilling over night. Try it!

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 finely chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 - 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened.
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325. For crust, put graham cracker crumbs and pecans in a small bowl. Melt butter and add to bowl. Mix until coated. Press into bottom of a small to medium sized spring form pan.
In a large bowl, place both packages of cream cheese, agave nectar, and honey. Mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, stir until completely combined. Add flour, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix until smooth. Pour filling into spring form pan. Bake for 30-40 min, until inserted knife comes out clean.
Ideas for toppings: cherries, strawberries, chocolate, raspberries, mango, and my favorite.. crushed pineapple!