Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars (low carb, gluten free, no added sugar)

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When inspiration hits, it’s a lot like getting hit by a truck. Ignoring it is incredibly difficult.

A totally hypothetical example: seeing some “snickerdoodle sandwich cookies with cream cheese frosting” on sale and then thinking of how great that sounds for three days straight.

Outside of this totally hypothetical example, we all know how I feel about cookies. (TL;DR: High. Maintenance.) But the flavor combination was irresistible. Anything cinnamonAnything cream cheese. But cookies? No. Life is too short for that.

And this is where the Truck of Inspiration™ came hurtling merrily down The M’Academia Nut highway. Cheesecake bars. Of course. Bars are my everything. I would make everything into a bar version if I could (AND I HAVE). THE ANSWER WAS CLEAR. We were making snickerdoodle cheesecake bars.

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But this brought about its own set of challenges. I was immediately imagining a graham cracker crust. This does not fit very neatly into a low-carb or grain-free diet. Then the Truck of Inspiration™ made an entirely legal U-Turn and came back around at top speed.

PECANSWhether you pronounce them “pee-can” or “puh-kahn”, we can all agree that (second only to the macadamia), the pecan is a superior nut:

With a little cinnamon and nutmeg, you’ve got yourself the perfect graham cracker crust analogue. No need for butter with the natural oils in the pecans providing all the binding power. And how could we forget the sweet, crunchy cinnamon “sugar” topping, so crucial to the snickerdoodle experience?? We could not.

So now the problem is that I ate all of these already and I’ve been thinking of making them again for three days straight. I don’t need inspiration for that one. Maybe I need the Truck of Distraction™.

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars (low carb, gluten free, no added sugar)

Recipe adapted from Shugary Sweets

Yields: Around 24 – 30 bars

Ingredients:

Crust:
2 1/2 cups pecans
2 tbsp granulated sweetener, OR 1 tbsp granulated sweetener plus 1 tbsp sugar free brown sugar substitute
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Filling:
2 8 oz packages cream cheese (I used neufchâtel), softened
3/4 cup granulated sweetener, OR 2/3 cup granulated sweetener plus 2 tbsp sugar free brown sugar substitute
2 egg whites, or around 1/4 cup egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 butterscotch or molasses extract, optional
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Topping:
1/4 cup granulated sweetener
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.

To make crust, place pecans, spices, and sweetener into a food processor or high-speed blender and process until pecans form a crumbly mixture that begins to ball and stick together (make sure to stop before you’ve made pecan butter!).

snickerdoodlecheesecake8Ugh I love pecans so much.

Press crust into the greased 9×13 baking pan and par-bake for about 8-10 minutes.

For the filling, beat cream cheese with sweetener, egg whites, vanilla, butterscotch or molasses extracts (if using), and cinnamon using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer. Beat for a few minutes until fluffy and smooth. Pour over pecan crust and smooth with a spatula.

 

In a small bowl, combine sweetener and cinnamon for topping. Sprinkle generously over the cheesecake layer.

Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until topping has browned and filling jiggles only slightly. Once cooled, refrigerate until completely set and cut into squares. Keep any (unlikely) leftovers in the fridge.

IMG_5647ALL HAIL THE TRUCK OF INSPIRATION™

Nutritional Info (Calculated for 26 servings):

snickerdoodle cheesecake nutrition

Cinnamon Crunch Tea Cookies (Low carb, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free)

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, there’s nothing more touching than the moment your special someone turns to you and says those three little words: “Eat this cookie.”

Because anyone that really loved you would definitely want you to eat these. That’s how you know the love is real.

And that’s what so great about Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t matter who your special someone is – fancy paramours, family, friends, your reflection in the mirror – we’re all allowed to embrace the gigantic amount of chocolate on sale for no reason in the middle of February. Plus: excuses to incorporate pink into food! I for one am SOLD.

Cinnamon (not chocolate for once) felt right for Valentine’s Day. Actually, cinnamon feels right for most holidays. And days. And mostly I just like putting cinnamon in everything.

Also in unrelated news, I recently had a coupon for $2 off clotted cream. And get this – my fridge appeared to have an empty space just about clotted cream jar size!! Complete coincidence.

Cinnamon (of the popular ‘Cassia’ variety) actually has a fairly long history of health benefits, too! To name a few:

Add that to a festive soiree of low carb nut flour, healthy fats, free from gluten, dairy (well, minus the clotted cream) and OF COURSE no added sugar, and we’ve got ourselves a winner!

HENCE: cinnamon crunch tea cookies. Crunchy on the outside, all sweet ‘n’ spicy – but soft and light on the inside. It practically melts in your mouth.  They taste fabulous as is, but then I went and glazed ’em. Honestly, because I wanted – no, NEEDED – pink somewhere. Add a spot of tea, a dab of jam, and a dollop of clotted cream (please do this if dairy doesn’t kill you), and you just guaranteed those three little words will lead to something even better. You know what I mean. Actually eating these cookies.

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Cinnamon Crunch Tea Cookies (Low carb, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free)

Recipe adapted from Mom’s Own Words and recommended by my friend Lindsay, who is a genius and a true visionary.

Yields: around 12-18 cookies (depending on how small or large you make them)

Ingredients: 

Cookies:
4 large egg whites, beaten until just frothy
2 cups almond flour or any nut flour (I used Honeyville walnut flour)
2/3 cup granulated sweetener (I used Swerve)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling/Topping:
2 tbsp granulated sweetener
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (more or less depending on how ~spicy~ you like it!)
1 1/2 tsp sugar free brown sugar substitute, optional (I used this)

Glaze:
1 tbsp hot water or milk of choice, more or less depending on the consistency you want
1/4 tsp vanilla, or other extracts
1 /2 cup powdered sweetener
1-1 1/2 tbsp softened cream cheese, optional (I used this dairy free spread just for kicks)
Red food coloring, optional (IS IT REALLY OPTIONAL??)

(NOT) optional, for topping:
Clotted cream
Reduced sugar/sugar free jam or jelly of choice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, and mix well to create a batter.

In a small bowl, whisk together filling ingredients. Sprinkle just under half of filling into batter and mix in, but do not fully incorporate, so that it remains streaky.

Use a tablespoon to drop 12-18 evenly spaced cookies on the lined pan. Sprinkle with remaining topping.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes until cookies begin to lightly brown and slightly bounce back at the touch.

For the glaze, whisk cream cheese (if using) and milk or water together until smooth. Beat in powdered sweetener and vanilla extract until combined. Add one or two drops of red food coloring for perfect pinkery! Pipe or spread over cooled cookies. Delicious served warm or cooled!

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Nutritional Info (As 15 servings, calculated with almond flour and glaze, and without toppings):

tea cookie nutrition