12.19.2016

Turtle Cheesecake Bites {gluten free + vegan}

Before kids (and before food allergies), my favorite dessert to make was cheesecake. I would experiment with flavors, topping, you name it. One of my favorite cheesecakes was turtle, with crunchy pecans, sweet caramel and rich chocolate. It has been years since I have made it, but I still think about making that recipe frequently.



These past few weeks, I just happened to have pecans left from my brussels sprout, pear, pecan salad; vegan caramel sauce from my caramel apple crisp; and cookie crumbs from my banana cream pie cake. Not to mention, lots of So Delicious Dairy Free Coconutmilk Yogurt Alternative. It seemed to work out perfectly that I had everything I needed to create these delicious little cheesecake bites. I love the slight tang that the yogurt alternative adds to these bites. I also love that they make them in larger containers too. I've been using the plain in almost everything, and the unsweetened vanilla is perfect for school lunches, with a bit of pure maple syrup mixed in and a few berries on top. Plus, for recipes like this, my overnight mashed potatoes, I can just scoop out the exact amount I need!


I drizzled some with melted chocolate and left others without, for a caramel pecan cheesecake option. But who doesn't love something coated in chocolate?! I know, it's weird, but I am not the biggest fan of chocolate. I like dark chocolate in moderation, but if I had a choice, chocolate wouldn't be my first. So I, for one, definitely love the option without chocolate as well.


With cheesecake being as rich as it is, these little two-bite versions are just the right amount to get your cheesecake fix without going over the top.

Turtle Cheesecake Bites 

Crust:
  • 10 gluten free vanilla wafer cookies, crushed into crumbs (I used Kinnikinnick brand)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp dairy free butter substitute, melted
Filling:
Toppings:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, brown sugar and melted dairy free butter. Place a spoonful of the crumb mixture in each well of a mini muffin tin and press into the bottom and partway up the sides.  Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly golden. 

In a medium bowl, combine the dairy free cream cheese, yogurt alternative, sugar, psyllium husk powder and cinnamon. Add a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture on top of each crust. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes.

After removing from the oven, top each cheesecake bite with a bit of vegan caramel sauce, then sprinkle with pecan pieces. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top and place pan in the refrigerator to set up. After about 1 hour, you should be able to remove the cheesecake bites from the pan. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 




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