So most cheesecakes probably start with a yummy craving or perhaps a special occasion in mind… this one started because of a flopped batch of brownies! I am admittedly new to gluten-free (wheat-free) baking, and I have to readjust what I have learned about how ingredients work together, because the dynamics are different. Several days ago I made a batch of brownies that turned out, well… let’s say much more bitter than sweet! I am a major fan of dark chocolate, but this recipe had WAY too much unsweetened chocolate and not enough of everything else to counter-balance it. I almost think the recipe may have been printed incorrectly. They looked great and smelled great, but even with a dollop of whipped cream, we could not enjoy them. Grrrrrr!
Energy Bites: As anyone of you that bakes with the gluten-free flours (almond and coconut) knows, these and other ingredients are relatively expensive, and I was just not willing to toss the whole of it into the garbage, so I set about finding creative uses for the brownies as a base for other things. The first thing I did was use about half of the brownies to make energy bites. I zipped the brownies in the food processor (one of my new best friends these days) along with dates, shredded coconut, dried cherries, walnut butter, and a drizzle of honey to help bind it together. I pressed it into a pan lined with parchment and froze it for a little while and then cut it into chunks. My son has been eating these energy bites all week! I realize that this really isn’t a recipe, but maybe it can serve as inspiration to others who find themselves with a batch of something-or-other that just didn’t turn out as well as you hoped, to transform it into something else that is edible 🙂 This concoction is not as low-carb as most I post, but my son can definitely handle more healthy carbs in his diet.
Cheesecake: As I was wandering through food blog postings yesterday, I saw Nicole’s post at La Petite Baker. She made a pretty simple and delicious-looking cheesecake, covered in hot fudge, and that sprouted an idea in my head! I decided to use the other half of my failed brownies as a crust by adding a little more sweetener (I use erythritol) and a little butter, blending it in the food processor again, and then pressing it into my springform pan. I altered her filling recipe only slightly, by replacing the sugar with erythritol and using 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, and 1/2 cup plain yogurt, and replaced the sugar in the topping with sweetener as well. Since the crust was chocolate, I decided to use fresh strawberries as a topping instead of the fudge. It turned out lovely! I admit that we should have waited overnight to dig into the cheesecake as recommended, but the guys would have none of that, so it was definitely softer than intended. It has set up very firmly by this morning though.
I had my reservations about altering a baking recipe because baking is much more of a chemistry project than cooking is, and I am also new and hesitant with sweeteners. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, and is not as sweet as sugar, but it is “natural” and doesn’t spike blood sugars the way the real thing does, so it is ideal for low-carb and diabetic diets. I don’t know if I will ever get used to using sweeteners in place of sugar, so it means that sweetened treats will simply be fewer and further between. The cost is also a factor, as erythritol is quite pricey, no matter how you justify it.
Now I am wondering, since I de-glutenized and un-sugared the cheesecake recipe, can I have it for breakfast?? 😉 Muahahaha…..