Tiramisu Cookie Cups – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Tiramisu Cookie Cups @dreamaboutfood #lowcarb #glutenfreeCreamy tiramisu filling in little coffee-flavoured cookie cups.  Low carb tiramisu you can eat with your fingers!

I love mascarpone, but apparently mascarpone doesn’t love me.  It does not at all like my attempts to make it do what I want it to do.  It’s all very well if I eat choose to eat it on its own, spread on a muffin or paired with some berries.  But I often see wonderful creations with mascarpone, creamy concoctions atop cakes and tarts and I so very much want to make them.  They look so light and fluffy and after all, mascarpone is so similar to cream cheese, it should be easy to whip into whatever shape I want it take.  Oh the hubris of thinking you know how mascarpone will behave!

I have made a handful of desserts with mascarpone and exactly 50% of the time, the mascarpone has done exactly what I wanted it to do.  The other 50%, it has become a curdled, clumpy mess.  The first time it happened, I was trying to make a low carb mascarpone frosting for a Flourless Chocolate Torte.   I thought it might be the result of using sweeteners other than sugar that made it separate out.  When I searched online, it seems it had happened to other people but it wasn’t an overly common occurrence and there weren’t any very good suggestions to fix it.  Then the next time I took a chance on a creamy mascarpone filling for Tiramisu Chocolate Cups, it didn’t happen at all and I chalked it up to a fluke.

Tiramisu Cookie Cups @dreamaboutfood #lowcarb #glutenfree

This time, I was using my own Homemade Mascarpone and I was so excited to try it in some yummy recipes.  I had a wonderful idea for these coffee flavoured cookie cups, filled with creamy mascarpone and sprinkled with cocoa powder.  Tiramisu you can pick up and eat with your fingers, how great is that?  Except the minute I tried to mix my mascarpone, it separated out into whey and curds.  It was virtuously instantaneous; I had barely touched the mascarpone before it separated.  I hadn’t even added any sweetener yet, it was just the mascarpone on its own, behaving as badly as a spoiled child.  I was nearly in tears, seeing all of my lovely homemade mascarpone, seemingly going to waste.

Tiramisu Cookie Cups @dreamaboutfood #lowcarb #glutenfree

I despaired of finding anything to help, but this time the internet divulged some information that was considerably more helpful.  Someone on some message board somewhere in cyberspace pointed out that mascarpone has a tendency to become un-emulsified (i.e. the fat and liquids separated) and I needed to add an emulsifier to bring them back together.  This person suggested flour but then that would rather defeat the purpose of making a gluten-free dessert.  So I turned to a trusty and useful gluten-free ingredient, guar gum, and sprinkled a bit in, then started mixing the mascarpone back together.  And lo and behold, it actually worked!  The mascarpone even stayed together and willingly let me add some cream and sugar-free coffee liqueur to it without rebelling.  My relief was palpable, I didn’t have to toss out my gorgeous cookie cups or my lovely homemade mascarpone and I ended up with a dessert I could actually serve to people!

The moral of the story:  mascarpone isn’t as easy going as cream cheese and it will flout you if you presume to think so.  But even if it rebels, don’t despair.  You can save your lovely dessert with a little ingenuity and an emulsifier.

Tiramisu Cookie Cups @dreamaboutfood #lowcarb #glutenfree

Tiramisu Cookie Cups

Yield: 24 cookie cups

Serving Size: 2 cookie cups

Creamy tiramisu filling in little coffee-flavoured cookie cups. Tiramisu you can eat with your fingers! Low carb and gluten-free.


    Cookie Cups:
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol
  • 1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp stevia extract
  • Tiramisu Filling:
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/3 cup powdered Swerve
  • 1 tbsp coffee liqueur (preferably [homemade, sugar-free coffee liqueur|http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2013/01/homemade-coffee-liqueur-sugar-free.html)
  • 1/8 tsp stevia extract
  • 6 oz mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp guar gum (if necessary, to re-emulsify)
  • Cocoa powder for sprinkling


  1. For the cookie cups, preheat oven to 325F and grease a mini muffin tin (24 mini-muffin capacity).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, erythritol, espresso powder, baking powder and salt.
  3. Stir in butter, egg and stevia until dough comes together.
  4. Form by hand into approximately 1-inch balls and place dough balls into prepared mini-muffin tin. This recipe will make exactly 24 so if you've made your balls too big or too small, go back and redistribute the dough.
  5. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of each mini-muffin hole. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are lightly brown and cookie cup is puffed up a bit.
  6. Remove from oven and use the end of a wooden spoon to gently create a nice well in the center of each cookie cup. Let cool.
  7. For the filling, ship cream with powdered erythritol until it forms stiff peaks. Stir in coffee liqueur and stevia extract.
  8. Gently fold in room-temperature mascarpone. If it separates and gets clumpy, beat in guar gum 1/4 tsp at a time until comes back together.
  9. Spoon or pipe filling into cooled cookie cups. Sift cocoa powder over top and refrigerate 20 minutes to set.


Serves 12 (2 cookie cups each). Each serving has 5.5 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.5 g.


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  1. These are so cute! Love these little cups!

  2. Could these be any cuter? I think not.

  3. How cute are these! Love little bite desserts.

  4. What a great idea! You always have the best ideas on low carb things!

  5. Such beautiful little bites, Carolyn! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow! This sweetener looks like a dream come true! Good for baking too, YAY! Is almond flour lower in carbs than regular flour? These look soooo amazing, what a GREAT idea!

  7. So stinking cute! I feel like these are both a good and a bad idea for me- typically the smaller a yummy treat is, the more I feel I can eat. And these look delicious! Yay to the google gods for supplying you with the emulsifying trick!

  8. Good to know about the mascarpone! I’ve never had any separating out experiences but I have a container in the fridge and who knows how it will behave. These tiramisu cookie cups are the perfect bite-sized desserts!

  9. These are super cute and look delicious! Thanks for solving the great mascarpone mystery! I have had the same problem – the first time I thought it was the sweetener, the second time it was just the mascarpone and the same thing happened so I was stumped! It’s so delicate that I’ve found I can only mix it by hand, very gently – any mechanical mixer seems to annihilate it instantly! Good to know there is a way to bring it back if it happens to me again though! I’d never heard of the stabilizer trick – think xanthan gum would work the same as guar gum?

    • Carolyn says:

      Yes, I just happened to have guar gum instead of xanthan this time. I think xanthan would work fine!

  10. Making an actual tiramisu never seems to work for me (long story!), but I love the flavors of tiramisu, so these cookie cups are perfect and won’t fall over! I’ll have to try making mascarpone by hand too.

  11. Oh wow. I’d have been curled up in a ball if I’d seen my hard work separate like that. Kudos to you for pressing on and finding a way to fix it. Thank you, too, for sharing it with us! The tiramisu cups look delicious. I’m tempted to make them today, but Hubby wouldn’t be able to stop at one or two. The fact that they’re so easy to serve up would have him finishing the batch in one sitting. Someday though.

  12. These are beautiful!

  13. These are so fun. I would start to eat “just one” and then 12 would go missing!

  14. I love that we were both thinking Tiramisu this week Carolyn!! These look fabulous!

  15. These look fantastic. Tiramisu is one of those desserts I can never get enough of.

  16. Such a cute, bite-sized dessert!

  17. What a fun idea, making Tiramisu cookie cups! Very original :) I’ve never worked with mascarpone, so reading you’re story was kind of like, wait, what?? You’ll have me all nervous the day I decided to try it out for the first time! At least I know the emulsifier trick now… thanks for the tip!

    • Carolyn says:

      It doesn’t always happen with mascarpone so give it a go and at least you know how to fix it if it does!

  18. These are such pretty little bites!

  19. I was cruising the Internet today looking for fermentation products (I’m making sauerkraut). I stumbled on a Mascarpone recipe that differs from yours in one particular ingredient: it includes tartaric acid (not cream of tartar). I can’t say whether his formula would break down or not, but it’s worth checking out: http://www.stumptownsavoury.com/search/label/cheese about half way down the page.

  20. Bite-sized desserts are the best–especially, now, with Tiramisu! And, what a spectacular discovery that a little guar gum acts as an effective emulsifier for mascarpone. Love this dessert recipe, Carolyn!

  21. OMG love these!!! You know I love bite sized treats, did you make these just for me….wishing I had some right now!
    Great flavors :)

  22. Carolyn..I saw these on Pinterest many times the past few days an thought “I’ve got to get over there and get the recipe!” They look and sound sensational, and frankly..I need to start cutting sugar and carbs from my diet (not my blog lol) because I want to eat healthier. I’m already planning on your mango creamsicles… soon!

  23. Sarah max says:

    Just FYI I made these tonight and used a level tablespoon of dough for each cup and it worked out perfect! :)

  24. I can’t buy marscapone anywhere near me and don’t have time to make, could I use cream cheese instead?

  25. I don’t have a mini muffin pan. Would the dough hold it’s shape if I baked it free form? If not, which would be better? Baking them in a regular pan and making larger tiramisu cookie cups OR baking the cookies small and round and making a cookie sandwich with the filling?

  26. Hi there. Love the cute little things!

    Wanna try making them but is it possible to use regular sugar in this recipe? Would it be the same amount?

    Also what is stevia extract? Never heard of it here on Asia? Can we replace that with anything else?

    Can’t wait to try these !

    • Hi there. Yes you can use sugar. Stevia extract is a sweetener so skip it and do about 1/2 cup sugar in the cups and 6 tbsp sugar in the filling. Hope that helps!

  27. How would you convert the almond flour with these? My son has allergies to nuts. With other recipes I’ve been swapping coconut flour. But I’m not sure that would work with these.

  28. Carolyn,
    May I email you?


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