13 October 2013

Raw Caramel Apple Cheezecake

A couple of days ago, I posted a "Recipe Rewind", on CL's social media channels, to last year's Raw Caramel Apple recipe.
It is that time of year, after all.

The rewind/revisit sparked thoughts of the many other treats I could infuse with caramel-appley goodness. I actually sat down and made a list, each one of which I hope to be able to create and post here. For now though, I settled on the one that kept drawing my attention, and assuming you read the title of this entry before arriving at this point, there's no real surprise to be had.

So, yes, I made a scrumptiously decadent Raw Caramel Apple Cheezecake. It is a nut-based dessert, but it is not heavy or dense. The caramel apple layer also lends to less-density. In fact, I specifically made this version so that the cheezecake filling would be slightly less firm. The result was light (and delicious) and not quite so rich, so was kind of easy to eat more than one might intend.1 I should have waited until Friday, because the BF sure would have loved it.2 Thankfully, I only made a mini, two-serving cake.

While, I prefer slightly softer cheezecakes, the recipe does include options for a firmer cake. The firmer option ups the fat content3 and probably the richness, so you might to not be tempted to eat as much.4 Calorically though, it's pretty much even.5 

You can get pretty creative, in terms of pans for the two-serving cake. I used a mini-loaf mold. Other similarly-sized options are: a 4" ramekin,

- When making a small/two-serving cake, I've found the mini-blender to be the most useful. If you don't have access to a mini blender, I'd suggest at least doubling the recipe; sometimes standard blenders have difficulties thoroughly blending small amounts of ingredients.
-The blending blade shaft can get quite hot, if used continuously for too long. This won't affect the final product at all, but it can get hot enough to begin to denature the enzymes of the food touching it, which could affect the "rawness" of the cake. One solution to this is to use the 'pulse' feature of your blender, until things are mostly blended and broken down, and then blend continuously to achieve the smooth/creamy consistency.
- For a "Full-sized" cheezecake (as opposed to Cucina Libera-sized), triple the recipe, and use a 7" springform pan.
- 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in the filling yields the less-firm CL cake. For a firmer cake, use 3-4 teaspoons of oil depending on preference. You could even add up to 5 teaspoons, if you prefer a denser, richer cake.

Important! Before you begin, make sure all ingredients are at room temp, so that when you add the coconut oil at various stages, it blends and emulsifies, instead of solidifying into little oily crystals throughout your mixture. Everything should be soaked at room temp, so this shouldn't be an issue, but just a little heads-up.

Raw Caramel Apple Cheezecake
(serves 2)

For the Caramel:
  • 8-9 Medium Pitted Dates (I used Deglet Noor; soaked overnight**)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Scant 1/2 tsp Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Dash of  Vanilla Extract or few Vanilla Seeds (optional)
For the Filling:
  • 3/4 Cup (85g) Raw Cashew Pieces (weighed prior to soaking; soaked overnight*)
  • 2-4 Tbsp Date Syrup (from the soaked dates; see below)
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Apple
  • 1/4 Cup Filtered Water
  • 2-4 tsp (9-19g) Virgin Coconut Oil (warmed gently to liquid)
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract OR seeds from 1/3 Vanilla Pod
For the Crust:
  • 1/8 Cup (14g) Raw Almonds (I used sprouted almonds)
  • 3 Tbsp (14g) Sprouted Buckwheat Groats OR 3 Tbsp (14g) Shredded Coconut OR 2 Tbsp (14g) Raw (GF) Oat Groats
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • Generous pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1-3 Medium Dates (depending on how sweet you prefer your crust)
  • 1/2 tsp Virgin Coconut Oil 
* Soak Cashew Pieces for 8 hours or overnight, in enough filtered water that they are completely covered. Drain and discard the soaking water.
**Pre-soak Dates, in 1/2 Cup of filtered water, for 20-30 minutes to loosen the skin; carefully peel the dates and return them to the soaking water. Continue soaking for 8 hours or overnight

1. Combine the dry ingredients for the crust in a clean, dry mini-blender or high-powered blender. Pulse until the almonds are well chopped and the mixture is the consistency of a coarse flour.

2. Add the dates and the coconut oil to the dry mixture and blend until the dates are chopped and the mixture begins to stick together in a sort-of "dough' ball.

3. Press the crust evenly into the bottom of your desired pan/mold. It should be approx. 1/4 inch thickness. Set aside while you prepare the caramel and the filling.

4. The dates should be soft and have formed a syrup. Leaving the dates behind, remove 2-4 Tbsp of the date syrup. Set the syrup aside.

5. Using a clean mini blender or a high-powered blender, blend the soaked dates (including any remaining liquid/syrup) sea salt, coconut oil, and vanilla (if using) until the mixture is smooth... you know, like caramel. Set the caramel aside.

6. Into a mini-blender, using the chopping attachment, or a high-powered blender, add the drained cashews, the syrup from step #1,  lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of filtered water. Begin blending, adding as little water as necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to get the mixture to a smooth, creamy. Once the filling is blended and smooth, it's time to assemble.

7. Get your pan with the set crust. Directly on top of the crust, layer the chopped apples to about 1/2 to 2/3 inch thickness; keep some apples aside to top the cheezecake.
Spoon about 3/4 of the caramel over the apples, allowing it to mix in with the apples a bit and making sure it is spread evenly to the edges.
Pour/spoon all of the cashew filling over the apples, and spread it evenly to the edges of the pan/mold.
Use some/all of the remaining apples and caramel to garnish the top of your cheesecake.

8. Allow the cheezecake to set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. A larger cake should be allowed to set from 4-8 hours. I know it's difficult to wait, but the time is important to allow the cake to set, firm, and for the flavours to develop and meld.
OR you can opt for what I did: I froze my little cake, and then allowed it to thaw in the fridge overnight. The texture and consistency turned out really well.


1. It might be the healthier, raw-food version, but it's far from a low-calorie treat. Sorry :-( 
2. Yeah, that would be "Sorry" #2
3. All good fats, of course.
4. In case you think that's a good thing. 
5. Sorry to burst your bubble (if you were excited about endnote 4). I guess we're up to "Sorry" #3?
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21 July 2013

Cinnamon Crisps

It's been a long time...

There's no dramatic or even really interesting story behind my blogging absence. If you follow any of my social networking thingamabobs, you'll gather I've been alive and well. I'm sitting here writing because I wanted to post a recipe, so I decided there's no point in derailing the post with an explanation other than, LIFE.
I gratefully appreciate all of you still out there following, reading, and discovering.
A couple of months ago, I stumbled across a very intriguing cracker/cracker crisp in a local Whole Foods. I'm not quite sure how it even happened, as I never stop in the cracker aisle, and the product was hiding down on the bottom shelf - far from a well-marketed, eye-catching, eye-level placement. 1
At $7 a (smallish) bag, I was hesitant, but I was too curious about a gluten free, grain free, vegan cracker - or more appropriately, crisp.2 Ten minutes later I was strolling out with those $7 crisps clutched in my hand. Again, being too curious, I busted open that bag before I even started the car.3
The bag did manage to reach the house, but once there, the bf quickly helped to polish off the rest of the crisps. Seeing the scanty cinnamon-crumb remains at the bottom of the empty bag was mildly heartbreaking. I knew full well there was no way I was going to keep myself/us in crisps at their going rate, so I flipped over the bag to take another inventory of the ingredients. Well, well... it just so happened that nearly every ingredient was a staple in my pantry.

I winged it. The first batch came out perfect4, although I needed to roll them just a bit thinner.5 I took care of that the second time round, and this is what happened...

I went for the cinnamon version first, which I think is my favourite, using coconut palm sugar as the sweetener. I've since made rosemary herb, plain sea salt, and cheezey versions. Once you have the base for the cracker crisp, you can get crazy creative. The bf said that my cinnamon crisps are not as sweet as the store-bought,6 which is totally fine with me. If you'd like them sweeter, add a bit more sweetener to the cinnamon-topping and/or add a bit of sweetener to the dough.

Up close and personal*
*and now my devious, super-villain mind has this song stuck in it.

Grain Free Cinnamon Crisps

(makes 40-50 crisps)
  • 3/4 Cup (56g) Almond Flour
  • 1/4 Cup (30g) Garbanzo Flour
  • 2 Tbsp (15g) Ground Flax
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (10g) Psyllium Husk
  • 1 tsp (4g) Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 heaping Tbsp (12g) Coconut Palm Sugar, [or your preferred granulated sugar]
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • Parchment paper
Oven 275F/135C
1) Combine coconut sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

2) Line a rectangular baking sheet or shallow pan with parchment paper.

3) In a mixing bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients.

4) Add water and olive oil to dry ingredients. Mix well. Once the dough begins to come together, use your hands to knead the dough into a smooth ball.

5) Turn the dough onto the parchment-lined pan, and gently begin to press out the dough into a flat rectangular shape.

6) Cover the dough with another sheet of parchment paper, and roll out to approximately 2mm thickness (thicker will lead to a denser, somewhat tougher cracker). As you roll, even out edges with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. It may be necessary to periodically reposition the top piece of parchment.
*If your pan has edges, you can set the parchment on a table or other flat surface, taking care to roll out the dough within the dimensions of the pan.

7) Once the dough is rolled out to a uniform thickness, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top, using your fingers or the back of a spoon to evenly distribute the mixture all the way to the edges.

8) Bake the crisps for 8-10 minutes, then remove the pan to slice the dough into approximately 1 1/2 inch square crackers. I used a pizza cutter for ease, but a sharp knife should also suffice. Return the crisps to the oven for 10-12 more minutes or until crisp and the cinnamon sugar has mostly caramelized.

Allow the crisps to cool for at least 10-15 minutes. Store them in an airtight container, if they last that long.


1. Might want to reconsider that, WF. 
2. I admit, the word "skinny"in the label drew me in - diabolically clever marketing!
3. And came really close to becoming one of those annoying people that takes 45 minutes to pull out of a parking space. You know the ones; they're busy texting, checking their messages, putting on makeup, changing their clothes, brushing their teeth, bidding on Ebay, blogging...
4. I'm an evil genius, in case you didn't know. I even happen to have an assessment attesting to this from when I was four years old. Seriously.
5. Fine. Almost perfect.
6. Not particularly surprising.
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