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Low Carb Nutella Swirl Cheesecake

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I got upset today, so I ran to the kitchen and a cheesecake was born. “Nutella” and “cheesecake” are my favourite words, other than “boat” and “booties” (They make my mouth parts happy) so I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to come up with this.

I spent half an hour the other day looking online for the best prices for ground hazelnuts (I saw it once in a cookie recipe and couldn’t get the idea out of my head) and then realised you can just buy them in Sainsburys. I don’t normally shop in Sainsburys but I’ll definitely be back. They had flaked coconut too, which you can’t get at Tesco or Asda. That was exciting. I have plans involving coconut.

In weight related news, I found that I lost weight easier than normal this week when I cut out my black coffee. Which has next to no nutritional value, but a lot of caffeine, which apparently can cause stalls in some people? I’ve been having green tea and peppermint tea instead. Saying that, I only lost the same few pounds I’ve been gaining and losing repeatedly for the last 3 months. I doubt making a cheesecake will help with that.

This makes far more fake Nutella than needed for the recipe, so feel free to cut that down. I’m saving it to do something else with, or eat with a spoon at midnight while sobbing and looking at pictures of me when I was thinner.

I used my medium springform pan for this, but I reckon it would spread over a large one fine. The base would be pretty thin though. I only meant to use a 1/4 cup scoop for the cocoa and the sweetener in the base, but I accidentally used the 1/3 cup, so I’ve listed what I actually used, for accuracy’s sake.

Ingredients

Base –

  • 1/2 cup roasted, chopped hazelnuts (or ground)
  • 1/2 cup golden flaxseed
  • 65g butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sweetener

Topping –

  • 200ml whipping cream
  • One large tub full fat Philadelphia (270g, I think?)
  • Spoonful of full fat Greek yoghurt (Optional – I like the flavour, but it does make the cheesecake a bit sloppier)
  • Vanilla essence
  • 1/3 cup sweetener

“Nutella” –

  • 100g ground hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sweetener
  • 4 squares (The big squares!) of very dark chocolate, melted
  • Vanilla essence
  • Coconut oil

Recipe

First, make the base; melt the butter in a medium bowl, then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Add extra sweetener, if you need. Press down into the bottom of your springform pan (I line the bottom of mine with baking paper to make it easy to remove later) then shove in the fridge or the freezer while you make the rest.

For the topping, whip the cream with an electric beater until it’s forming stiff peaks, then add everything else and whip some more. It should still be nice and thick. I did several taste tests at this point, just to be extra sure it was perfect. Spoon it on top of your base, and put somewhere cold while you make your Nutella mixture.

I find this easiest in a food processor, but I think it would be possible to stir it all together if you have patience and a strong arm! I put my ground hazelnuts in the food processor with the cocoa, sweetener and melted dark chocolate, and left it mixing while I washed up my bowl. It quite quickly formed a big ball, which was my cue to add my last few ingredients.I put in the vanilla essence, then added coconut oil about a tbsp at a time until the consistency was how I wanted it; smooth but not runny. I think I put in a little extra sweetener too. I often mix two different types of sweetener together to get a nice taste, but everyone has their own preferences here!

At this point, I took the cheesecake out of the fridge, put a generous dollop of the Nutella mixture in the middle of it, and used a spatula to swirl it into the cheesecake topping. As you can see from my picture, I didn’t do an amazing job, and over mixed it a tad in my excitement. I used a smaller spoonful to try and “pretty” the top of the cheesecake up a bit, that helped!At this point, you want to leave it to cool down and set in the fridge. As always, I took it out far earlier than I should, so it was a bit runny; it still tasted great though! I saved the rest of the Nutella mixture in the fridge; I’ll have to think of something else to do with that. I’m sure that will be no great hardship ;o)

Low Carb Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

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Today, I decided to make a cheesecake.

I haven’t made a cheesecake for a while. I gained weight over the summer (My friends are bored of me talking about this in person, so ha, you have to listen to me prattle on about it here) so I’ve been trying to be more restrained with my baking. However, after careful analysis of my diet last winter when I was at my thinnest and this summer, I’ve come to the conclusion that I ate a respectable amount of cheesecake at my thinnest, and I didn’t make any big ones at all while I was busy gaining weight. My theory is that I tend to binge eat on healthier snacks more when I feel deprived, and eat less overall when I have fun making fancy things in moderation.. Or maybe cheesecake is just magical. I like to think it’s magical.

In other cheesecake related news, the idea of a savoury cheesecake came up the other day, so that’s in my head. I’d want it to retain the core ingredients (cream, cream cheese) but use a savoury flavour that works, and use an appropriate savoury base. Does anyone have any ideas? My first thought was something like a sour cream and chive dip, but then I thought “pizza cheesecake” and the idea has been consuming me ever since.

Anyway.

After my (excellent) decision to make a cheesecake today, it didn’t take me long to decide on a flavour, because I’ve been on a caramel kick recently. I bought some sugar free caramel sauce last week and the flavour is great. I chose to go with a chocolate biscuit base, because chocolate + caramel is always a safe bet. I didn’t want it to be too plain, so I chose a toasted pecan topping; my only complaint is I didn’t toast the pecans for long enough, so their flavour was milder than I’d prefer.

Ingredients

Base –

65g butter

1/2 cup golden flaxseed

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup sweetener, then extra to taste

Topping –

200ml whipping cream

1 big tub full fat Philadelphia (270g)

Heaped spoonful Greek yoghurt

1/3 cup sweetener

vanilla essence

sugar free caramel syrup (I used a brand called Walden Farm)

handful of pecans

Recipe –

Cut out some baking paper, and use it to line a springform cake pan. I used my medium sized pan for this recipe, but I think it would work fine in a big one too, just a smidge flatter. I find the easiest way for cheesecakes is to put it over the circular bottom part of the pan, then place the main body of the pan on top and snap it shut, lining the bottom with a nice flat layer of parchment paper. I don’t usually bother lining the sides of the pan, but I am rather lazy.

Melt the butter in the microwave, then mix in the ingredients for the base. Have a taste, and add more sweetener to taste. Without the cocoa powder and with some added cinnamon, this is my standard biscuit base for cheesecakes :o) Tip into the springform pan, and press down with the back of a spoon until it’s nice and flat. Put in the fridge or freezer to cool while you make the topping.

First, whip your cream with an electric beater until it’s holding peaks, then mix in everything else other than the pecans. Pour into your springform pan, then smooth with the back of a spoon. Put somewhere cold while you toast your pecans.

There’s nothing stopping you using untoasted pecans, but toasting them really brings out the flavour. You can either fry them in a skillet, or put in the over for 5-10 minutes until they darken and go all nice and fragrant. After they’re done, pulse them in the food processor (Or put in a bag and hit it a few times) until they’ve broken up some. You don’t want them too fine, if they’re a bit chunky it gives a nice texture.

Artfully sprinkle over the top of your cheesecake (Read: Just tip them over the top and hope for the best) then leave in the fridge to set. I left mine in for 3 hours and it was cold, but not particularly well set; overnight is ideal, if presentation is your thing. It isn’t mine. Eating cheesecake is my thing :o)

Run a knife or a spatula round the edge of your springform pan, then release your new best friend from it’s pan-prison and set it free to live it’s lifelong dream of being eaten. Because you’re nice and selfless like that.

Low Carb Ferrero Rocher

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I always get given a box of the regular version of these for Christmas, and oh god I love them so much. Considering they involve a lot of my favourite flavours ever (hello hazelnut!! *squeezes*) I’m surprised it took me this long to make a low carb version of them.

It’s a super simple recipe, it just takes a while because they involve a bit of chilling in between each step. I did it on my day off when I was in and out of the flat doing errands.

I am absolutely torturing myself by writing this recipe down tonight because I’m midway through an egg fast and I’m craving something crunchy really bad. Seriously, I can give myself a good amount of variety with the flavours of my egg meals but I am so, so fed up of eating mushy things. Egg fasting gives you an insane appreciation of texture.

Apologies for the not-so-accurate quantities I’ve listed. I free handed most of it. You’ll get the gist ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s easy to make bigger batches, just make more of the Nutella mixture!

If you want to make this recipe including sugar, I’d probably just use actual Nutella instead of making your own mixture. Just leave it in the fridge for a day before hand.

Ingredients

For the Nutella mixture –

– 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts. I buy pre-roasted ones anyway, but it’s easy enough to roast your own if needed!

– 2-3 tbsp coconut oil

– 2 tbsp cocoa powder

– 4 tbsp sweetener

– (optional) a few drops of vanilla essence and hazelnut flavouring

– (optional) a few squares melted dark chocolate. I didn’t add this in my mixture but I have in other Nutella mixtures before and it really worked.

Everything else –

A handful of whole hazelnuts, roasted

A bar of dark chocolate (Or, you can make your own lower carb version using cocoa powder, sweetener and coconut oil. I’ve never been a huge fan of the taste of that mixture, but a lot of people love it)

A bag of chopped, roasted hazelnuts (Or do your own by roasting them, then shoving them in the food processor for a little bit. Not too much.)

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Recipe

I made the Nutella mixture first. Put the hazelnuts in the food processor until they’re as smooth as they’ll go, then add sweetener and cocoa powder and any other flavourings you’re using. I add the coconut oil last and do it slowly – I find the mixture jumps from “chunky” to “liquid” pretty fast. Add any extra sweetener or flavours to taste. If you’re adding some dark chocolate, I’d melt it and add it before the coconut oil. It’ll be runny at room temperature, but will go quite hard in the fridge. That’s where you want to put it.

Let it chill out in the fridge (I should defo do stand up) while you do something else. Let it get solid – you’re going to be shaping it in your hands, so it needs to be properly chilled.

Spoon out chunks with a spoon, then using your hands, mould the mixture around a whole hazelnut, roll into balls, and set aside on a plate. It took longer than I thought it would to do this and mine started to melt a bit, so I put them back in the fridge – my last ones stayed really round but my early ones ended up melting a little. If you’re doing a big batch, I’d probably put my first half in the fridge while I got on with the last half. Once you’re done, put them all in the fridge, and lick your fingers.

Leave them until they feel hard again, then melt your dark chocolate in the microwave in a bowl. I left mine for a little while afterwards to make sure it wasn’t super boiling. Get a plate with your chopped hazelnuts on it ready. I used way, way more chopped hazelnuts than I thought I would here, so don’t be stingy. I kept on having to pour out more and I got chocolate all over the bag.

Take your tasty balls of hazelnut goodness out of the fridge, then roll them in the dark chocolate, then straight in the chopped hazelnuts. It’ll be messy and glorious.

Leave in the fridge to harden again, then eventually it’s time to eat them. It’s worth it. You have the silky smooth mixture of the Nutella against the crunch of the hazelnuts and it’s wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

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I am really, really proud of these cookies because I managed to do something I’ve never managed to do before with a low carb cookie recipe; these cookies are crisp and crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. A lot of my flourless cookie recipes turn out rather cakey, so I was chuffed to bits with the texture of these. The peanut butter taste isn’t really overpowering either; despite it being the main ingredient it’s still relatively mild.

During my experiments, I made a version of these cookies without the whey protein; they tasted great, but were softer and more crumbly. So feel free to leave it out if you want to, you’ll just miss out on the texture. Which is the main reason I’m obsessed with these cookies in the first place, to be honest.

For these cookies, I used Meridian Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter. It’s different to your garden variety peanut butter because it only contains peanuts; no palm oil, salt, sugar or stabilizers are added. It makes it healthier, though the downside is that there’s a lot of oil separation in the tub, so you need to give it a good stir before you use it.

Ingredients

– 50g butter

– 2oz cream cheese

– 1 egg

– 1/4 cup vanilla whey protein

– 250g peanut butter

– 1 cup Splenda

– 1/4 cup almond flour

– salt (though I’d probably skip the salt if you’re using a pre-salted peanut butter)

Soften your butter and cream cheese, then whisk in your egg. I used my electric beater.

Whisk in your almond flour, vanilla whey protein and sweetener. If you’re adding salt, add it now.

After this, it gets messy – adding the peanut butter! I opted for the approach of just attacking it with my electric mixer and wiping down the walls afterwards, but beating with a fork it would probably be cleaner, if more time intensive, approach.

At this point, your mixture will resemble a nutty turd.

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Taste your nutty turd mixture, ideally while someone with a weak stomach is watching, and add extra salt, sweetener or perhaps some vanilla essence to taste.

Using your hands, roll the dough into about two dozen small balls (ha, balls), place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, then squash them flatter. They won’t change shape much as they cook.

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Cook in a pre heated oven at 200C for around 12-15 minutes, then leave to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Enjoy your crunchy cookies ๐Ÿ™‚

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Low Carb Blueberry and Coconut Cookies

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I am only letting myself eat my sweet treats at the weekend at the moment. I’m mid way through training for an event in a few months, so I’m having to be stricter than usual because all the working out is making me insanely hungry.

Anyway, today is a Sunday, and I didn’t want to “waste” a treat day making something I’ve made dozens of times before, so I had a root around in the kitchen and decided to use up my blueberries. I only had a small amount left – more a palm sized frozen ball than a handful, if that makes any sense at all. I was really pleased with how they turned out – like most low carb cookies, they don’t really crisp up like a regular biscuit, but they were gooey in the middle and it was marvellous. You can taste both the blueberries and the coconut, which made me happy; berry flavours can be quite overpowering.

Ingredients

– 100g butter
– No more than a handful of frozen blueberries
– 1 egg, beaten
– 1 1/2 cups ground almonds
– 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
– 1/2 cup Splenda
– sprinkle of salt
– sprinkle of baking powder
– dash of vanilla essence

Heat oven to 200 degrees C, and line a baking tray with either foil or baking paper.

Melt the butter in the microwave, then stir everything together in a bowl. Traditionally, you stir berries in right at the end, but I mixed mine with my melted butter so they had a head start defrosting.

Use a spoon and your hands to make 12 flattish mounds of mixture on your baking tray. They’ll rise as they bake.

Bake for around 12 minutes, then leave to cool for at least the same again – they’ll be a bit less crumbly if you wait til they’ve cooled some. And much less likely to burn your face.

Low Carb Hazelnut Brownie Cheesecake

What, you're telling me you DON'T garnish your puddings with gemstones?! Peasants.

What, you’re telling me you DON’T garnish your puddings with gemstones?! Peasants.

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I love cheesecake. I love brownies. I do not like looking lardy.ย  Thankfully, brownies and cheesecake can be made healthily, with minimal sugar, so I can enjoy two things I love without the risk of turning into a Lardy Lou.

And seriously, when I ask myself (which I totally do, all the time) how I can make cheesecake even more awesome, a giant brownie is pretty much the first thing I think of. It’s the first thing I think of in a lot of situations, come to think of it. I really love brownies. They’re neato-burrito. Mmmm, burritos.

I have a confession; the idea for this recipe is heavily influenced by Carolyn’s recipe over on All Day I Dream About Food. It was seeing a picture of it on Tumblr that got me into her incredible website. Which you should totally check out, by the way. The woman is a genius.

The brownie base is very similar, I just subbed out her walnuts/pecans for hazelnuts because I prefer the flavour. I also tweaked the sweetener measurements, because I use a different one. The cheesecake topping is all my own though. I prefer no bake cheesecakes :o)

Ingredients:

Brownie base

  • 100g butter
  • 50g dark chocolate. The darker the better. I rarely use anything below 85%.
  • 2 large eggs
  • dash of vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Green & Blacks Organic Cocoa)
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

Cheesecake topping

  • 150ml whipping cream
  • 400g full fat cream cheese. Take it out of the fridge right at the start so it’s not as cold.
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1/4 cup full fat Greek yoghurt
  • dash of vanilla essence
  • chopped hazelnuts, to garnish

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease your cake tin of choice.

Heat your butter and dark chocolate in the microwave and mix together til nice and smooth. Be careful they don’t burn, burning is sad.

Break your eggs into the mixture and whisk with a fork. Mix in your vanilla essense, then add all your dry ingredients and stir them all together well.

Spoon into your cake tin and make sure it’s all flat and neat looking. Bake for about 15 minutes, then leave to cool.

Whisk your whipping cream til it’s making nice soft peaks. Whisk in your cream cheese, yoghurt, vanilla essence and Splenda, then spoon on top of your brownie base and smooth the top down as neat as you can using the back of your spoon.

Sprinkle hazelnuts over the top. Or if you’re very clever, write a message with them. Maybe something about how great I am. Just a suggestion.

Put in the fridge for at least two hours to give it a chance to set. I put mine on top of my giant wheel of brie. I only mentioned that because I wanted you all to know I have a giant wheel of brie in my fridge, because brie is fancy. Like me.

Carefully remove the outside of your cake tin, and enjoy :o)

SERIOUSLY LOOK AT ALL MY FABULOUS CHEESE

SERIOUSLY LOOK AT ALL MY FABULOUS CHEESE

Low Carb Hot Chocolate

Yummy hot chocolate

I really dislike being cold. I’ve been told by my other half (or “the guinea pig” as I affectinately call him when I’m doing a cooking experiment) that I keep my flat warmer than the average nursing home. I see nothing wrong with this.

Anyway, I like hot drinks. And there’s little in the world more comforting than hot chocolate.

This is a super basic recipe, I feel a little patronising writing it down. Normally I quite enjoy being patronising, because I’m a bitch like that, but I feel somewhat guilty about it today! I guess more information is better than less though?!

Ingredients:

  • 1 mug full of milk/cream. This is entirely your preference; I usually use an 80/20 mix of milk/cream, and I tend to use whatever I have in the fridge at the time. Which is usually either lactose free whole milk or almond milk, combined with either single or double cream. As always, avoid skimmed milk; it contains more sugar, and there’s absolutely no reason to fear the extra fat in whole milk. Hence why I mix it with cream in the first place. Fat is good for you. If it wasn’t so expensive, I’d happily make the thing entirely with cream. It goes without saying, but if you use almond milk, the finished result tastesย  almondy. Which I like, but isn’t everyone’s thing.
  • 3tbsp cocoa powder. Not hot chocolate mix (Filled with sugar), proper cocoa powder. It’s very bitter. I use Green & Blacks Organic Cocoa Powder, which is only 12.5% carbs.
  • Splenda, to taste. I use around 2tbsp
  • Unsweetened squirty cream, to serve. (Optional) Be careful with squirty cream; most of it is filled with sugar. I use UHT Extra Thick, which is effectively just whipped cream in a can. If I have any cocoa nibs in the cupboard, I’ll sprinkle those on top too.

Recipe:

After you’ve measured out your milk/cream mixture in the mug you’ll be enjoying your hot beverage in later, pour into a milk pan and put it on a low heat.

Put it your cocoa powder and sweetener, and stir. It’s important to put it in while the liquid is still cold, otherwise the cocoa powder clumps like mad. If I’m doing other things, I’ll leave it soaking for a while before I even heat it. I tend to stir it until most or all of the cocoa clumps have dissolved, then I’ll turn it up to a medium heat.

I was a Messy Bessie and splashed stuff on the hob.

I was a Messy Bessie and splashed stuff on the hob.

Try some; add more cocoa powder or sweetener to taste.

Serve with squirty cream :o)

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake – In a Minute!

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I have zero impulse control when it comes to sweet treats (also: fancy cheeses and Kat Dennings). If I make enough chocolate cake to last me a week, I will be lucky if it lasts two days. However much effort I put into making my recipes healthy, I cannot eat that much and walk away with no consequences. I would waddle away. I’d be as fat as butter. You get what I’m saying.

Because of this, I was super excited when I found DJ Foodie’s One Minute Chocolate Muffin. It means I can make myself an appropriate lady sized portion of warm, tasty chocolate cake after my evening meal without the fear of eating enough cake to satisfy an entire Roman orgy.

I have experimented with this recipe loads; there are loads of things you can sub in or out of it to make it your own! This is my favourite.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • dash of vanilla essence
  • dash of olive oil (optional)
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp Splenda
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (I use Green & Blacks Organic Cocoa)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Put your butter in a mug, and heat in the microwave til it’s melted. Whisk in your egg and the vanilla essence, then stir in the rest of your ingredients.

Cook on high in the microwave for 1 minute. I sometimes cook just for a bit less, because I love super squishy and moist cakes. I’m not squeamish about my eggs not being cooked properly so that doesn’t bother me, but it’s your call.