Day 25 – The Sugar-Free Bake-Off.

What to do on a cold, grey Saturday? Baking. Yep, yesterday was a baking day! I had depleted my stores of peanut butter cookies, chocolate brownie muffins and 85% dark chocolate and the one thing that grey cold Saturdays demand is treats;) I decided to try some sugar-free, low-carb versions of some of my favorite puds – starting with the classic carrot cake.

Carrot Cake

I didn’t really bother to ‘shop’ around for a recipe I liked the look of – I was sold on a picture I found on a pinterest board full of coconut / almond flour desserts (banking this page – there are a few more ideas I want to try!): www.pinterest.com/heiditrejo/coconut-almond-flour-recipes-or-gluten-free/

The direct link to the recipe: www.cupcakeproject.com/2012/03/paleo-diet-carrot-cupcakes-gluten-free.html

My amendments: * 4 heaped tablespoons of stevia instead of maple syrup, * pureed dried apricots (GI of 30) instead of dates (GI of 105!!!), * walnuts instead of pecans, * olive oil instead of the others suggested. I admit, I didn’t get as far as the frosting, but it tasted damn fine to me without it! (If a little on the short and crumbly side;)

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Cheesecake

The picture of the key lime pie on the pinterest board (drool!) also got me thinking that a low-carb cheesecake shouldn’t be out of the question, right? After all, almond flour would surely make a perfect base?

Oh yes, bang on;) www.diabetesdaily.com/forum/recipes/60492-low-carb-cheesecake-crust

Now, I don’t really have a cheesecake baking vessel per se, just a few crockery and odds and sods and tins, so I decided to split the base mix into a med-sized tin with the idea of making a chocolate cheesecake (I added some cocoa powder to the almond base) and a one-man sized ramekin for a lime version (that damn key lime pie picture kept creeping into my baking periphery!).

Next up, daaaan daaaan daaaan………………. Cottage cheese!! Yep – COTTAGE CHEESE!!!

  • But isn’t that dairy?! Yup – and I think I’ve stumbled upon something AMAZING – read the end of this section for enlightenment!
  • But isn’t it lumpy?! It doesn’t have to be – this recipe calls for it to be whizzed in the blender until smooth.

I was a bit wary of this, so only made ½ the quantity that the recipe below makes (which was also pretty convenient as my 250g pot of cottage cheese is approx. the equivalent of 1 cup)

www.allrecipes.com/recipe/omas-cottage-cheesecake/

My amendments: * almond milk instead of milk, * ground arrowroot instead of flour, * for the chocolate mix, no lemon, but two tablespoons of cocoa powder instead, * for the lime mix, no vanilla, juice of 1 lime and grated lime zest instead of lemon.

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Verdict – the textures were spot on (for a baked cheesecake) – i was really impressed! I was a little disappointed in the flavour of the chocolate cheesecake as it was quite bitter – i have found this a few time with the recipes calling for cocoa – i guess the stevia is not quite good enough to counter the cocoa’s bitterness. The lime on the other hand was wonderful! I wish i’d made a bigger version as this got snaffled up straight away!

The cheese story

Cheeses are made from the solid-like curds that result from churning milk. What I didn’t know before today is that lactose is water soluble, thus when the water-like whey is removed, so is the majority of the lactose: cheeses start with only ~10% of the lactose found in milk. In particular, cottage cheese contains ~0.3% lactose – compared to ~5% lactose in milk, I think we can say that it’s a safe ingredient (in addition to being high in protein and low in fat!) What a superfood;)

You know what else? Because of the aging and fermentation involved in making cheddar cheese, it has next to ZERO lactose (~0.07%, in fact!) Vintage cheddar here i come!!! Total game-changer!!!

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