I always love entering the cooking contests at our Big Fresno Fair. It's a fun challenge to make something unique with the designated food product - not to mention a little extra dough if you win. This year I entered the Malt-O-Meal Creations contest. I thought it would be using something porridge-like Malt-o-Meal hot cereal we all grew up on. But the company is out to promote their cold cereals so I had to come up with a unique recipe using on of their cold cereals.
After visitng three local grocery stores, I finally checked the web site and found the cereals were sold at our local Walmart. I came home with a huge back of Honey Nut Scooters, which are similar to Honey Nut Cheerios or Honey Trader O's, which I prefer. Then I had to dream up something to make.The contest is judged on Creativity, Taste and Ease of Recipe.
I have to admit I let weeks go by. I was stumped. Then one day my friend Bev showed up at my house with a slice of cheesecake. We marveled at how inexpensive cheesecake is to make and how glorious and rich the result. I decided to rev up a cheesecake using the cereal in the crust. I knew this couldn't be just any cheesecake. It had to be different. I decided to employ one of my fave flavors - Chai Tea.
I'm a Chai lover. If you haven't had Chai, it's a tea using Indian-inspired spices. The word chai literally means tea. This tea feels very fall to me - full of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Everyone mixes their chai a little differently. I've noticed Chai is becoming all the rage in local cafes and even Jamba Juice serves a Chai-licious smoothie that's inspiring.
I made a couple cheesecakes to perfect the crust and Chai filling mixture. Of course, I cut the sugar used in most cheesecake recipes in half. The following recipe was the result. My family and I had fun heading down to the Big Fresno Fair and watching the judging. Surprise, surprise - 100 percent of the entries were desserts. The judges did deliberate.
They announced the winners and my "Chai Cheesecake with Honey Nut Crust" was awarded 2nd place and $50. I was very excited to stand next to Pearl, the first place winner. She was the sweetest old lady who was blind and had entered 20 other desserts in the fair as well. Her Raspberry Crunch Pie deserved first!
For the recipe, check out our recipe blog here.