Low-Sugar Simple Strawberry Cheesecake

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It's the opening weekend of the Strawberry Festival around these parts and what better way to celebrate than with one of my favorite desserts - Cheesecake!

I did some Googling and found that most strawberry cheesecake recipes merely added strawberries as a topping, or created some sort of gooey syrup to drizzle the cheesecake with.  We had just scored a flat of free local strawberries from our neighborhood produce stand, so we had plenty to spare and I wanted the berries to be mixed in throughout the cheesecake.  I also wanted a fast and simple recipe, and something with a little twist added in (cinnamon), along with less sugar.  So, I took a basic cheesecake recipe and adapted it to create this pan of yumminess:

What You Need

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (ditch the processed junk and make your own!)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon (makes almost any crust extra-delicious!)
1/3 cup melted butter

 4 (8 oz. each) packages softened cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups chopped strawberries

1/2 cup halved or whole strawberries 

What You Do

  1. Heat your oven to 325°F. 
  2. Mix the crust ingredients, then press the mixture onto the bottom of 9-inch springform pan (I have this awesome one on my list to soon replace my traditional one).
  3. Bake the crust about 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  4. Beat the cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.  
  5. Fold in the 2 cups of berries.  Pour the filling mixture over the baked crust. 
  6. Bake for 55 minutes or until center is almost set.  Loosen cake from rim of pan, but allow it to cool before removing the rim. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. 
  7. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of whole/halved berries and serve.  Try not to eat a quarter of the cake in one sitting, like I did.

This cheesecake turned out to be that all I'd hoped for and more.  G and I felt the addition of the cinnamon in the crust was fantastic and we didn't miss the extra sugar one bit.  I loved how the strawberries were mixed in throughout the cake and I can't wait to make more - hopefully very soon, since it's prime strawberry season for us right now!

I'd love to hear whether you try this cheesecake recipe yourself.  Play around with using different berries, or even in adjusting the sugar amounts.  Share your results here!

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