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Celebrate National Cheesecake Day and Blueberry Season with a Low Carb, Grain Free Treat!

 

Cheesecake Bars with Blueberry Sauce

Blueberry Harvest

Happy National Cheesecake Day! Woohoooo!

OK, I honestly had no idea that there was such a day until I saw a few posts about it this morning on Facebook 😉 but as luck would have it, I had already baked low carb cheesecake bars this morning to have when my parents come over for dinner this evening. My cheesecake was inspired not by a national day for decadent desserts, but rather by wanting to celebrate our bountiful blueberry harvest. My husband and son and I went picking this past Saturday, and since the weather was so perfect (75, sunny and breezy) we ended up with 20 pounds of berries before we realized it!

This is an easy-peasy recipe. I promise.

I start with the same almond flour crust that I used in the raspberry streusel bars and the frozen raspberry cheesecake bars. Then I added a layer of cheesecake batter that I zipped up in the food processor. Super simple. Add to that a blueberry topping that consists of a few cups of blueberries simmered down on the stove until they thicken up, and sweetened with a couple tablespoons of erythritol. Delish!

Low-Carb Cheesecake Bars with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

Crust Layer:

  • Cheesecake out of the oven2C blanched almond flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2T butter (or coconut oil )
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1T water
  • 1 tsp Truvia or other sweetener

Make the crust: blend all crust ingredients together in a food processor. Line a 9″ by 9″ baking dish with parchment and press crust mixture firmly into pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 (I turn my pan halfway through baking.) Remove from oven and set aside.

Cheesecake Layer:

  • 12oz cream cheese, softened (1 1/2 packages)
  • 1/2C sour cream
  • 1T vanilla
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4Tb erythritol
  • Zest of one lemon

Make cheesecake filling: In a stand mixer or food processor, beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream and beat to combine. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla, zest and erythritol and beat (on medium) until well-combined, but not whipped. Pour over crust and smooth out. Bake for 20 minutes, I turned pan halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Remove and let cool completely. 12 servings, Less than 4 carbs per piece before adding topping.

Cut into serving size pieces and top with your choice of low carb toppings or just have plain.

Topped with fresh blueberry sauce

Blueberry Sauce

The blueberry sauce was made by simmering 2 C of fresh blueberries for 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and syrupy. I then stirred in about 2 Tb of erythritol to add a little sweetness. Cool and spoon over cheesecake bars to serve.

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Recipe: Frozen Raspberry Cheesecake Bars {Gluten Free}

How would you like a decadent frozen treat that adds up low in carbs, but high in taste and satisfaction? Just in time for the holidays? I used my 9″x9″ square stone baking dish for this, and cut it into 20 bars. By my calculations, following this recipe, that is under 4g of carbs per piece! Guilt-free and perfect timing for your 4th of July celebrations.

It seems that lately, I’ve been focusing a lot more on information about the wheat free, low carb lifestyle, than I have about the food! Trust me folks, I am still cooking and baking… and taking pictures and writing notes, but with summer so busy, I haven’t had as much time to pass the recipes along to you! Well, sometimes it just takes something REALLY special to break a pattern, and this recipe is it! MMMMM.

I had been thinking for a while that the crust recipe in Raspberry Streusel Bars would be a fabulous cheesecake crust, and that became the first layer in these yummy bars. Made with almond flour, butter and Truvia, it makes for a delicious cookie-style crust that stands up well to the other ingredients. Layer 2 is all about cheesecake! Rich and thick, it gives the real substance to this treat. The 3rd layer is where the raspberry comes in, though you could certainly change this up with your favorite flavors or experiment. Top it all off with a layer of sweetened whipping cream, and you have an amazing summer treat. While serving it chilled would be great, frozen was fabulous!

And don’t fret….. it may seem like a long list of ingredients at first glance, but you will notice that several of the ingredients (whipping cream, sour cream, vanilla, sweeteners) are used in more than one layer. It was just easier to list them separately for assembly purposes.

Frozen Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Crust Layer:

  • 2C blanched almond flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2T butter (or coconut oil )
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1T water
  • 1 tsp Truvia or other sweetener

Cheesecake Layer:

  • 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2C sour cream
  • 1T vanilla
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4Tb erythritol

Raspberry Layer:

  • 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1T erythritol
  • 1C Smucker’s low sugar raspberry preserves

Whipped Topping:

  • 1/2C heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp Truvia
  • 1T vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Make the crust: blend all crust ingredients together in a food processor. Line a 9″ by 9″ baking dish with parchment and press crust mixture firmly into pan. Bake for 15 minutes (I turn my pan halfway through baking.) Remove from oven and set aside

3. Make cheesecake filling: In a stand mixer, beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream and beat to combine. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and erythritol and beat (on medium) until well-combined, but not whipped. Pour over crust and smooth out. Bake for 20 minutes, turned pan halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Remove and let cool completely.

4. Make raspberry layer: Whip the cream until it begins to get stiff. Add sour cream, and erythritol and beat to combine. Fold in the raspberry preserves. Spread over the cooled cheesecake layer. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up.

5. Make the topping: Whip the cream on medium high until soft peaks begin to form. Add vanilla and Truvia and continue whipping until firm. Spread over raspberry layer. Chill or freeze completely before serving. Cut into 20 bars. (Tip, To cut while frozen, I scored the top and then used my food blade to press through.)

Makes 20 servings; 4g carbs each.

 

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Cheesecake and Energy Bars, Salvaged from Bitter Brownies

Serendipity?

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…..

 

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