For most of us, a day that involves a bite or two of cheesecake sounds like a pretty good day indeed. Smooth, creamy, decadent, while giving in to our two biggest instinctual food cravings – sugar and fat – cheesecake really knows how to bring it. However, its shockingly high calories, which come almost entirely from bad saturated fats and refined sugars, means cheesecake isn’t only bad for your waistline, it’s also bad for your heart, your brain, your immune system, and much more. Suffice to say, cheesecake is usually reserved for the once-in-a-blue-moon list of desserts… until now. Using smart-swaps for both the fat and sugar components of cheesecake creates a convincingly delicious treat without the unhealthy consequences. Plant-based saturated fats (like cacao butter and coconut butter), can act similarly to animal-based ones (like butter and cream cheese) in recipes from a structural standpoint, but do not have the same detrimental cardiovascular effects. Additionally, refined sugars can be replaced with more natural sugars like maple syrup, and even considerably reduced with natural sugar-free sweet substitutes like stevia. So the next time you get a craving, feel good about giving in to it with our fully upgraded, low-sugar, berry-studded cheesecake bites recipe…and make a good day even better.
Low-Sugar Raspberry Cheesecake Bites
These low-sugar bites of decadence get much of their sweetness from sugar-free stevia and offer a rich, cheesecake-like experience thanks to coconut butter and cacao butter. You can also replace the stevia with an additional 1 tablespoon maple syrup instead. Makes 16 bites 2 tablespoons raw pecans 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon Sea salt ½ cup coconut butter ¼ cup finely chopped cacao butter 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 8 drops liquid stevia ¾ cup raw cashews 1/3 cup fresh raspberries, halved Set aside a dinner plate with 16 small paper candy cups on top (you do not need a candy tray). Finely chop the pecans into an almost flour-like consistency. Transfer to a small bowl and mix with the cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Set aside. Fill a sauce-pot with a couple inches of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and place a heatproof bowl that is slightly larger than the pot on top. Add the coconut butter and cacao butter to the bowl, and let slowly melt for a few minutes. Once fully melted, remove the butter from the heat, and transfer to a food processor using a silicone spatula. Add the maple syrup, stevia, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Pulse until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the processor to push the mixture back near the blades, and add the cashews. Process until the nuts are partially broken down, or the size of small gravel. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Remove 16 raspberry halves and set aside for garnish. Add the remaining raspberries to the cheesecake mixture and gently stir the mixture to incorporate – some of the berries should partially smash, adding some color, while others remain whole, for texture. Use a melon-baller or spoon to divide scoops of the cheesecake mixture into the 16 candy cups. Press down to flatten slightly, then dust with the pecan mixture, about ¼ – ½ teaspoon per cup. Cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour longer before serving to become firm. Store the cheesecake bites in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.