Sometimes I think that the food-blogging world is a little like the universe: ever-expanding. Virtually every day I seem to discover new, interesting food blogs that I have never come across before. I love this fact, because it means that there is an endless supply of fresh ideas on how to prepare, cook, and consume food. But at the same time, it means that I can lose sight of other blogs that I’ve already been following. There are simply too many wonderful blogs out there and too many great home cooks. I truly wish there was time in the day for me to hit all my favourites and comment on their new recipes, while still finding time to manage my own blog, home and family. I have a rule of trying to hit my friends’ blogs at least once a week. But after almost 2 years as a food blogger, I seem to have made an awful lot of blogger friends.
One of these blogger friends is Diane of Created By Diane. Hers is a lovely blog, filled with lovely creations, all created by…you guessed it…Diane. Like so many of my blogging friends, I can’t actually eat most of her creations, but I can gaze at them longingly. And I find myself doing that quite often. A few weeks ago, however, she put up a creation that I knew I had to find a way to make. These little Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites were adorable and contained several of my favourite holiday flavours in one little bite.
Diane’s original recipe used Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookie Dough for the cookie crust, but that obviously isn’t an option for me. So I set about imagining what I would want my gingerbread cookie dough to be like. I knew I wanted a soft texture that crisped up around the edges and a flavour that had a nice gingery bite to it. I was pretty sure I could achieve the right texture with coconut oil, which always lends a wonderful tenderness to baked goods made with almond flour. I tinkered with the spices until I felt I had the right combination of gingerbread flavour without having it be overpowering. The cheesecake filling part was easy, I didn’t have to adapt much about Diane’s recipe except the sweetener. I did find that I needed a little more filling than she did, but it was easy to make a quick extra bit to fill the last few cookies.
The Results: These were a hit with everyone in the family except my son. To be fair, he didn’t even try them because he steers clear of anything called cheesecake. But the rest of us adored them. The two girls were big fans and kept hoping they could have some after each meal. I popped one my mouth whenever I wanted a sweet treat, and my husband enjoyed them too. I really feel that my son missed out, because they weren’t overly cheesecake-y at all. The flavour was a lovely sweet gingerbread, with a hint of a vanilla cheesecake, and perfect for the holidays.
And there is no question in my mind that were I to serve these to the uninitiated, they would have no idea that they were low carb or gluten free. They were just good, plain and simple, and definitely something I will be making again.
Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup erythritol
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp molasses
16 drops stevia extract
6 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp powdered erythritol
1 tbsp whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
15 drops stevia extract
Preheat oven to 350F and line 24 mini-muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, erythritol, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum. Stir in egg, coconut oil, molasses and stevia until dough begins to clump together.
Form by hand into approx 1-inch balls (this recipe made exactly 24 for me, so if you find you’ve made your balls too small or two big, go back and redistribute dough). Place dough balls in prepared mini-muffin cups.
Using the end of a wooden spoon, make a well in the center of each ball, pressing dough up against sides of prepared muffin cups.
For the filling, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered erythritol, cream, vanilla and stevia until fully combined. Place the mixture in a pastry bag with a large round tip, or in a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. Squeeze a few teaspoons of filling into the well of each cookie.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes, or until cookie edges are lightly brown and firm to the touch and filling is set. Remove and let cool.
Makes 24. Each Cheesecake Bite has 3.1 g of carbs and 1 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 2.1 g.