Monday, January 19, 2015

Low Carb Brownie Cheesecake

 Ok, so, it's the new year, you're trying desperately to stick to your New Year's resolution to lose weight, but you're struggling. Am I right? The problem with "dieting" is that you always feel deprived. You automatically think to yourself "I can't have that, I'm on a diet." You've also programmed your mind to think that a "diet" version of something is not going to be as good as the real thing. Am I right? WRONG!
 True story: I made this cake for a birthday party, and was greeted at the door by someone who said something along the lines of "Here, let me take that from you!", as if to say "This looks so good, I'm going to eat the WHOLE thing!" And then I said "well, actually, it's low carb", (basically saying I'm going to save this for the guest of honor who is on a low carb diet) and my greeter crinkled her nose and said "Ew, I don't do low carb".  I wanted to say "Wait, are you kidding me?? A minute ago, you wanted to eat the whole thing!" The point is there are LOTS of "diet" recipes that taste as good as the real thing! And frankly, if I hadn't said "this is low carb", no one would have ever known. That's the beauty of a good low carb recipe. So basically the best diet is the one where you don't feel like you're on a diet. No more feeling deprived, and no more "diet" versions of things that don't taste good. Of course, you may have to use a few ingredients that are different from the ones you'd usually use, but isn't that the point? Like I always say, if you go back to eating what you did before, you'll go back to weighing what you did before. Trust me when I tell you you'll forget all about that when you're sporting your new slimmer body this summer!
Oh, and speaking of different ingredients....
 This recipe uses a sugar substitute called erythritol which is becoming increasingly popular. It can be purchased in certain health food stores, or at Whole Foods markets, or simply by ordering it online. Yes, it's expensive, but I think it's worth it, and like I said, you won't care about that when you hit your weight loss goal. I like it because I think it tastes better than some sugar substitutes, (no aftertaste) and it doesn't cause any side effects as some sugar alcohols do, if you know what I mean. It's also gluten free, doesn't promote tooth decay, and doesn't cause any blood sugar spikes so it appears to be a good sugar alternative for anyone who is diabetic. The brand name is called Swerve, and I'm definitely a fan. No, I am not being compensated to say this. I'm just telling you that I tried it and liked it. I'm can't say that I will use it in EVERYTHING, but when I'm craving something sweet like a rich and delicious chocolate dessert, I'll definitely be coming back to this recipe again and again. I found it on a blog called All Day I Dream About Food.
It is DEFINITELY a keeper!

Brownie Base:
½ cup butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
pinch salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup Swerve Sweetener or granulated erythritol
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Cheesecake Filling:
1 lb cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
½ cup Swerve Sweetener or granulated erythritol
¼ cup heavy cream
½ tsp vanilla extract

 For the brownie base, preheat oven to 325F and butter a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap bottom of pan in foil. In a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup, melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave in 30 second increments. Whisk until smooth. Alternatively, you can melt them together over low heat in a small saucepan. In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat eggs, Swerve and vanilla until smooth. Beat in almond flour mixture, then butter/chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until set around edges but still soft in the center. Let cool 15 to 20 minutes. For the filling, reduce oven temperature to 300F. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, Swerve, cream and vanilla until well combined. Pour filling over crust and place cheesecake on a large cookie sheet. Bake until edges are set and center just barely jiggles, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Run a knife around edges to loosen and then remove sides of pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours. Serve with sugar-free chocolate sauce or ganache.

Serves 10. Each serving has 6.2 g of carbs and 2.1 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 4.1 g.

I opted not to add the chopped nuts, but if that's your thing, go for it.
I noticed that the Swerve sweetener didn't really dissolve completely into the brownie layer of the cake, and retained a sort of granulated sugar texture. Not that it was a bad thing, just that it was noticeable. It did, however, completely dissolve into the perfectly dreamy creamy cheesecake layer, which I wanted to dive into, face first. OMG so good.

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