Can we go ahead and just agree that one of God’s greatest masterpieces was the salted caramel flavor combination. Oh. my. goodness. Crystal clear blue waters and sunsets? Who needs em’, but if I see the words “Salted Caramel” on any food item I immediately have to have a bite of whatever it is or I will die a slow painful unmerciful death. Okay fine more like I’ll throw a tantrum until I get a bite and then I’ll savor every last second of the flavor and hope it lingers and saturates every single taste bud. I could write poetry about salted caramel and the beauty it beholds. Or I could just capture it in one single word. Yum.
These Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites are seriously the way to go. They are quick, easy, and decadent! I brought these in to work and they were a huge hit. I have this thing where I immediately have to get rid of all blog food otherwise I will eat it all. This means that my awesome co-workers get to be my taste test subjects. It’s actually a lot of fun to see what they think because there is such a variety of eaters in the office. There are the “We eat normal but relatively healthy” eaters, the “Foodies”, the “More processed and unhealthy the better” and lo and behold, there are actually two Paleans! Every aspect of the food eater spectrum we have here in the office so I like to see what both sides think. It’s like asking the Jedi’s and the Storm Troopers to sample food and give you feedback. Yes it is. Don’t argue with my Star Wars reference.
So how was your weekend?! I ran my 4th Half-Marathon of the year yesterday! It was such a great run you guys. I had some friends from high school running it with me, Marin, Meghan and Laura (it was Laura’s first Half and she did great!) and then my awesome and hilarious running buddy Bree. It was this whole huge festive event. Even my parents made it out! Bree and I completed the Triple Crown series this year which is where you run three local San Diego Half-Marathons and then at the end you get a special Triple Crown medal. 39.3 miles of gorgeous San Diego. This was probably my favorite and best run ever. There was no time PR or anything fancy like that, I was just properly fueled, had a great running mix in my iPhone that got me pumped, and I was just happy to be out there running with my friends in the city I love. Normally after a Half-Marathon I tell myself that I’m never running again. This time I felt I could have ran at least 5 more miles. I felt FANTASTIC! It also helped that the weather was unseasonably cool for late August. Oh my gosh it’s late August?! EEK! This year has flown by! This means two things, one my birthday is next month, and two it’s almost time for PUMPKIN FLAVORED EVERYTHING!!!! Until then, just make these Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites to hold you over.
Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites
*Makes 24 servings
For the crust:
1 heaping cup raw pecans
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup grade B
a few pinches of pink himalayan salt
For the filling:
1 heaping cup raw cashews (soaked at least for 4 hours, overnight is better)
1/2 cup raw zucchini, peeled and diced
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons canned coconut milk, full fat, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, grade B
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
The juice of one medium lemon
For the caramel:
1/2 cup coconut milk, full fat, room temperature
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
4 tablespoons grass-fed butter (or ghee)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
few pinches of pink himalayan salt
1. Prepare the crust by placing the pecans in a food processor and grind them into fine meal. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and process again until well combined. Line the bottom of a mini cupcake pan with mini cupcake liners, then press the crust evenly into the bottom of the liners. Place the pan in the freezer to set, while you prepare the filling.
2. In a high-powered blender, process the raw cashews until they are blended. Add in the zucchini, coconut oil, coconut milk,
maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and lemon juice. For the lemon juice go by taste as not to overdo it with lemon flavor. I started by juicing half of the lemon, mixing and tasting, and adding more. Add as needed to your preference. Then blend again until a super smooth and creamy batter is formed. If your batter is too thick try adding a little more almond milk or coconut water until the desired smooth creamy batter consistency is reached.
3. Pour the cheesecake batter into a decorating bag or ziplock bag, cut a hole in the corner and then pour the filling on top of the crust almost to the top, leaving some room for the caramel. Allow to set in the freezer for at least an hour. While the filling is setting go ahead and make your caramel.
4. To make the caramel, combine coconut sugar, coconut milk, and butter or ghee in a medium sized heavy-bottomed saucepan (2.5qt./2.3L). Over low heat, whisk gently in one direction so the butter doesn’t separate, until the butter has melted, the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is combined. Then turn the heat to medium until it reaches a soft boil. Add vanilla extract, and salt and whisk until combined. Then bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk gently until the mixture becomes a smooth liquid again. Place back over heat and boil for an additional minute to thicken further. Remove from heat, whisk until mixture becomes smooth liquid again. Repeat a third time for even thicker caramel. The caramel will continue to thicken as it cools. Refrigerate or freeze to cool and thicken completely.
5. Once your cheesecake bites are hardened, fill a decorating bag or a ziplock bag with the caramel and cut off the tip. Squeeze a dollop of caramel on the top of eat cheesecake bite and use the flat side of a spoon to evenly spread over the top. Once the caramel has set sprinkle pink himalayan salt on the tops. Store cheesecake bites in the freezer in between eating sessions and remove about 15 minutes or so before serving so they can thaw a bit. Enjoy!
So how were your little bites of Heaven?! Speaking of, I LOVE to hear all the feedback you guys give me about the recipes you try. I also like to help you guys problem solve, so if something doesn’t turn out, let’s figure it out! New slogan. Yes. Most of these recipes I’ve made numerous times, so feel free to ask, and if you messed up, trust me, I probably did it too at some point. I really just want you guys to have the best experience possible making healthy food. I don’t want you to get frustrated and have a stage 3 meltdown like I normally do. It’s not pretty people.
So until next week, enjoy! Enjoy your friends, your loves, your sport, your life, your salted caramel, whatever you enjoy…just enjoy it. Whoa, salted caramel makes me say deep things. Oh and by the way I would just like to point out for the record that this is the second non-chocolate recipe in a row! I enjoy you though my Weirdos! (Non-Chocolate lovers) I don’t understand you, but I enjoy you. I also enjoy that next week’s recipe has chocolate in it. Boo-ya. Did I just boo-ya? I’m hanging up now.