My favorite candy of all time is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Favorite as in if it were the zombie apocalypse, I would be like Woody Harrelson and his Twinkies in Zombieland, searching everywhere for just one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Mmm . . . Reese’s. Anyway, believe it or not, Reese’s aren’t Paleo. Not even remotely. I know, total bummer, but fret not, I’ve got you covered. This recipe is a game changer: By the last bite you won’t even remember what a Reese’s is, let alone miss it.
So by now we all know how I feel about Reese’s right? I would pretty much just forgo all other food if I could and just live on Reese’s. That is if it was socially acceptable and if my pants would still fit. Oh and if my body would remain healthy and flourish. What?! A girl can dream can’t she?! Fine. So since I can’t live off Reese’s (just typing that makes me sad) I have to find sustainable replacements for once in awhile special occasion treats. Saturdays are special occasions right? Just kidding. But seriously. So this weekend I was super craving a Reese’s. Normally if I didn’t have this incredible blog to keep me honest, I would have just bought one, ate it, felt guilty, and then said “eh, screw it.” and move on with my life. But since I have you guys to keep me accountable, I thought, why don’t we turn this Reese’s sitch into a blog recipe! So I got to work and came up with a Paleo “Reese’s” Cheesecake for you guys. Instead of peanut butter I used almond butter and instead of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I used Sun Butter Cups, and instead of a real Oreo crust I did a fauxreo crust! It came out absolutely incredible!
You could get really creative with this recipe. You could chop up your sun butter cups and actually put them inside the cheesecake, you could put Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips inside the cheesecake or crust, you could use almond butter cups instead of sun butter cups, the possibilities are endless. I on the other hand wanted more of a simplified Mondrian style layered look. Finally the Art History class I took in college comes in handy. I encourage you to get creative with this recipe! I just started a new job and brought my leftovers in for my new work peeps to try, I think they’re scared. The post-it I left on top of the cheesecake in the fridge says “Healthy “Cheesecake” Soy Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, but not taste free!” No one has even touched a slice. It is only like 10:30am though. Fingers crossed. I let you guys know how it goes. I have also saved some slices for book club tomorrow! Those lucky bastards.
So Mr. Non-Paleo Brad himself, LOVED this recipe, I mean LOVED this recipe. This is kind of a big deal because he despises sweets, detests the “peanut butter and chocolate” flavor combination, and is not a fan of Paleo in general. I think his exact words were “Wow, this is really good.” He then ate the rest of the slice. I thought he might lick the plate. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he did, we run a classy operation. For reals.
In other blog related news I wanted to let you guys know I’m working on getting my blog switched to one where I can have a recipe plug-in, so you’ll be able to print my recipes without printing the entire blog post. Mind blowing. I know. It’s only because I love you. What were you guys craving this week? Let me know and we’ll make it Paleo!
- 2 heaping cups (8½ ounces/240 g) raw pecan pieces
- ¼ cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup, dark
- ¼ cup (18 g) cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon smooth almond butter
- ⅛ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 2 cups (310 g) raw cashew pieces, soaked at least 4 hours or better yet overnight (350 g)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup (60 ml) canned full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup, dark
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (185 g) peeled and diced zucchini
- ½ cup (115 g) smooth almond butter
- ¼ cup (35 g) coconut sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1 to 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 6 homemade almond Butter Cups or store-bought nut butter or sunflower butter cups, coarsely chopped
- Place ingredients into the bowl of a high-powered food processor. Process until crumbly and combined, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed, about 30 seconds.
- Press the crust evenly into desired pan(s), starting with the sides and working down to the middle.
- Line an 8½-inch (21.5-cm) springform pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- Prepare the dough for the Fauxreo Crust, following steps above.
- Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Place in the freezer to set.
- To make the filling: Drain the soaked cashew pieces and put them in a blender; process the cashews until they are somewhat broken down. Then add the coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Next add the zucchini, almond butter, coconut sugar, salt, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Blend until a smooth and creamy batter has formed. Taste and add more lemon juice, a tablespoon at a time, as needed; go by taste to make sure the lemon flavor is there but not overdone. Blend again to combine additional lemon juice, if added.
- Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the cheesecake batter evenly into the pan. Place back in the freezer to set for at least 4 hours.
- Remove the cheesecake from the freezer 20 minutes prior to serving to allow it to thaw. Prepare the Ganache by combining 2 cups of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently, using a rubber spatula, until the chocolate and coconut milk are completely melted and combined. Let cool to barely warm or room temperature but still pourable; if poured while still hot it may melt the cheesecake as well as the almond butter cup garnish. Once the ganache has cooled to the touch, remove the cheesecake from the pan and pour the ganache over the top, letting it drip down the sides, then garnish with the crushed almond butter cups. Another option is to reserve some ganache and transfer it to a resealable bag, then cut a corner off and drizzle the ganache over the almond butter cups as well (as pictured). Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the freezer for up to two weeks; allow to thaw for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
- My favorite almond butter on planet earth is Smooth Barney Butter. You can find it in most health food stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.
- Depending on what types of lemons you use, the flavor could be stronger or weaker. That’s why I recommending adding and tasting as you go to get the perfect flavor.
- Subs: Unsalted butter in place of almond butter in the crust. 1:1 substitution of unsweetened vanilla almond milk in place of canned full-fat coconut milk in the filling.