Recent food news tells us that this year’s pumpkin craze is at a lower rate compared to last few culinary cycles. Currently, industry is churning out a few thousand different products with fall-time limited production of myriad pumpkin-flavored yummies. From the most commonly accepted ones, including pumpkin-spiced coffees and cookies to the most bizarre examples, as well, to say that they abound is quite the understatement! A quick search on Google yielded some strange examples of wannabe delights: pumpkin-spiced pizza, pumpkin potato chips, and pumpkin pasta sauce.
However, pumpkin has competition in the fall flavor line-up this year! It seems maple syrup could be the next food to make a come-back. Maple syrup is nothing new: We have enjoyed it for years as part of our breakfast foods, and as a powerful sweetener in baking recipes. It has countless uses.
Of course, pumpkin and maple syrup team up well in innumerable recipes!
So, it seems like a good time to review the nutritional lore of maple syrup and why it is an ingredient worth exploring, not only for its uniquely sweet taste but also, because of its vast nutritional implications.
Just as a side note though, we aren’t dampening our enthusiasm for pumpkin. So, don’t get that impression. Pumpkin still has a lot to give, and we are willing to continue to explore the versatility of this nutrient-rich vegetable, here and beyond.
But today we are really talking about a pumpkin-maple syrup synergy. Maple syrup is a fantastic sweetener and can often be used instead of refined white sugar. Unlike sugar, maple syrup has a significant number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can contribute to meeting daily nutrient requirements. Pure maple syrup has on average in 4 tablespoons serving size, more than 100% of our daily intake of manganese, 37% of riboflavin, 18% of zinc, 7% of magnesium, 5% of calcium, and 5% of potassium.
Pure maple syrup is a single, natural product produced by the concentration of sap from the maple tree. It is a natural sweetener that contains no added sugar, coloring agents, artificial flavorings, preservatives or other additives. Its simplicity allows us to include it in our recipes without fear of artificial additives that you normally encounter in corn- based syrups, for example.
Therefore, when a little sweetness is called for, choosing how you achieve the perfect taste makes all the difference. When developing our recipes, we will often use honey, another powerful sweetener with a long list of benefits (See this blog post), but at times, the better recipe match is maple syrup. These No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites combine ease of preparation with all the flavors of sumptuous autumn. The unique flavor of pecans in the crust blend and enhance the tones of pumpkin and maple in the cheesecake, delivering a clean and guilt-free dessert to enjoy anytime!
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites
1 cup of pecan meal
1 cup of dates
½ cup of Once Again Creamy Cashew Butter
4 of ounces of cream cheese (or cream cheese substitute if vegan)
½ cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice
1 cup of pumpkin puree
Start by adding dates to a bowl with warm water for 5-15 minutes to soften. Then add them to food processor, and pulse until dates form a dough-like ball. Add in pecan meal, and pulse again. For the filling, in separate bowl, start with Once Again Cashew Butter; add in cream cheese, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice, and mix well. It is much easier to mix if the cream cheese is at room temperature. To prepare the cheesecake bites, use one tablespoon of crust and press to form in a muffin pan. Then add filling up to the top of each muffin crust. Place the pan in the freezer for 1 hour and then move it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to serving. Store extras in freezer for up to 30 days.