I’m posting this now so you can stop by the store on your way home from work tomorrow. These are a bit time-consuming but are good in the fridge or freezer and are the perfect bite when you’re craving something sweet. Be adventurous and make these this weekend! You’ll thank me for it when it’s 10 pm on a Wednesday night and you’re gnawing on one of these.
My sister from another mister was in town last week and brought me these little gems. Aside from my grandmother and my mom, she’s the most thoughtful person I know. She knows I love caramel and cheesecake, both of which contain dairy, which she knows my gut can’t tolerate. She, like me, eats paleo (most of the time) and knows I like a sweet bite after dinner (or before breakfast with coffee in hand). These little bites are the perfect size to satisfy that craving.
Paleo Caramel Cheesecake Bites (modified a bit from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind)
For the crust:
1 heaping cup raw pecans
1 T coconut oil
1 T creamy almond butter
2 T coconut flour
2 T pure maple syrup
A pew pinches pink Himalayan salt, sea salt, or kosher salt
Put pecans into a food processor or rocket powered blender (with tamper tool) and grind into a fine meal. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and process until well combined. Line a mini-muffin tin with mini-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. Wash the food processor or blender jar.
For the filling:
1 heaping cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)
½ cup peeled and diced zucchini
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 T canned coconut milk, full fat, room temp
2 T pure maple syrup
1 T coconut sugar
½ T vanilla extract
1/8 t pink Himalayan salt, sea salt, or kosher salt
Juice of ½ to 1 medium lemon (add ½ and taste, add more to taste)
In the clean food processor or blender jar, process the drained cashews. Add in the rest of the filling ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. If necessary, add a bit more coconut milk until a smooth and creamy batter is achieved.
Pour the cheesecake batter into a piping bag or a plastic ziplock bag (snip the tip) and pipe the batter onto the crust, almost to the top, leaving a little room for the caramel. My batter was smooth enough to pour directly out of the blender jar. Put tray back into the freezer and let set while you make the caramel, about an hour.
For the caramel:
½ cup grass-fed butter or ghee (or regular butter if you don’t have either of these)
½ cup canned coconut milk, full fat, room temp
1 cup coconut sugar
½ t vanilla extract
Pink Himalayan salt or any large flake salt, for garnish, optional
Melt the butter, then whisk in the coconut milk. Bring everything to a soft boil, then whisk in the coconut sugar. Stir in the vanilla and bring it to a rolling boil. Let boil for 3 minutes, remove from the heat, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth again. Return to the heat and repeat this process 3-4 times. It should get thicker each time. If you have a beautiful caramel color and consistency before 3-4 times, trust your gut and remove from heat. It took me just the 1st time to get the necessary consistency, like thick soup. You definitely don’t want the caramel to burn. Let cool; it will continue to thicken as it cools.
Using a spoon, dollop the caramel on top of the bites and spread evenly. Top with salt, if desired. (The ones I’ve had did not have salt and I don’t think they needed it.)
Store bites in the freezer, take out about 15 minutes before serving. Or if it’s 90* outside, eat directly from the freezer. Use leftover cream cheese and caramel on top of these waffles.