There are ways to make a rich dessert healthier, and this one is my family’s favorite. It is not as sweet, and if people need to sweeten it a bit, each serving can be individually drizzled with real maple syrup as a finish. Here’s a tip: lightly grease your springform pan and base with coconut oil. It adds flavor, and will help the cheesecake easily pull away from the sides of the pan.

Ingredients:
• 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs or gingersnap cookie crumbs (gluten free works, too)
• 1/4 cup butter, melted
• 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
• 1/4 cup or more of real maple syrup
• 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten

TOPPING:
• 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine the cracker/cookie crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at 325° for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.
3. Pour into crust. Place pan on middle rack. Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes, or until center is almost set. Combine the topping ingredients; spread over cheesecake. Bake 5 minutes longer.
4. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife or silicon spatula around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-14 servings.
You can do a number of things to customize this cheesecake. Mark pieces with pecans around the edge. Or, you can chop up a ½ cup of pecans, sprinkle on top, and drizzle maple syrup back and forth. If you choose to do that, Publix carries a 12.5 oz bottle of real maple syrup that is reasonably priced. Sweeten to taste.
By: Anna Hamilton

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