Read Labels or have Pink Cheesecake
Right now, there is a pink cheesecake in my oven. (I know that sounds questionable/dirty, but read on…)
Thanksgiving is upon us. This means turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, casseroles of various sorts, and pumpkin pie. If you are like me and you don’t like pumpkin pie (slash can’t eat it), you need an alternative. Enter: cheesecake.
I’ve been gluten-free for almost a year and half now. This was driven first by my being a trend-follower, and also in an effort to improve my swimming stamina, until I learned in January 2011 that I actually have a “gluten sensitivity” and must be diligent in reading labels. I’ve also been sugar-free (-ish), so dessert options are hard to come by. That’s when I began making my own gluten-free, sugar-free cheesecakes which have been praised by my friends, family and coworkers.
And that’s about all I can cook.
So, while preparing to make my cheesecake for tomorrow’s festivities, I decided to get creative and add two of my favorite ingredients to the mix: chocolate and coconut.
Everything was going well. I followed the preparation instructions correctly:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Pour glass of wine for inspiration
- Turn on holiday music (which was “Little Dummer Boy” and not very cheery, so I switched to the 90’s station and the first song was Usher’s “Nice and Slow”… win!)
Then I started the rest of the recipe…
Crust went fine. Almond meal is mad expensive, but almonds are mad cheap. So I make my own by placing blanched almonds in a coffee grinder. If my cheesecake tastes a bit like DD coffee = bonus.
Then I moved on to the filling… Again, everything was going fine until I got to the “1 tsp of vanilla extract” part. Now on my second glass of wine, and busy rocking out to Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love” then playing on the 90’s channel, I reached into my spice cabinet and pulled out what I thought was vanilla extract…except that is was red food coloring.
Two seconds later, my filling mix was pink. (Damn it!)
Not in the mood to start over and/or walk to Whole Foods for more organic (yes) Neufchâtel cream cheese (yes, again), I decided to go with it. I added the coconut flakes and chocolate bar crushed into morsels and popped that bad boy in the oven. (BTW – the chocolate was crumbled by the end of a power screwdriver because I couldn’t find my hammer and I don’t own a rolling pin…)
Thirty minutes later: my cheesecake looks like a freckled Elmo. Silver lining: if it doesn’t end up tasting great, at least it looks friendly.
What I learned today: I’m good at reading labels in the grocery store, not so much my kitchen. Also, perhaps the 90’s music station should wait until after the cheesecake goes in the oven (FYI – it’s now Ace of Base’s “The Sign” – amazing). Lastly, one could do worse than have pink cheesecake for Thanksgiving; it could be pumpkin pie.
Anywho, here’s the recipe…
Lindsay’s Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cheesecake in Pink
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2 tsp melted butter
- 1 Splenda packet (or another sugar substitute)
- 2 cream cheese blocks, 8 oz each (I like Neufchâtel because there are fewer calories. Judge.)
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 20 packets of Splenda (or another sugar substitute)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract red food coloring
- 1 ounce no sugar added coconut flakes (make sure it’s GF)
- 1 ounce no sugar added chocolate (make sure it’s GF)
- Combine crust ingredients in a bowl and press into the bottom of a pie dish.
- Place crust in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes until golden brown, then remove from oven.
- Mix cream cheese (soften it by microwaving for a minute), eggs, sour cream, and vanilla food coloring in a large bowl and beat with a mixer or wisk until fluffy.
- Once ingredients are well blended, mix in coconut flakes and crumbled chocolate morsels.
- Place in the oven, mid rack. Immediately change the temperature from 400 degrees to 200 degrees, allowing the cheesecake to bake in a slowly dropping temperature environment.
- Bake for about 60 to 90 minutes, until firm to the touch.
- Get creative by dripping leftover melted chocolate and coconut flakes on top.
- Remove from oven and transfer to the refrigerator.
- Allow it to cool completely before serving. Consider serving with fresh berries and topping off with no sugar added whipped cream. I plan to serve it with raspberries and strawberries just to confuse everyone about the color/flavor – why not?