Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars…oh my!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars…oh my!
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Pinterest is a very dangerous place. Especially when you’re hungry. I’m always drawn to the most decadent looking non-paleo but ridiculously beautiful desserts. A few weeks back I stumbled onto Smitten Kitchens Dulce de leche cheesecake bars and I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind since. Caramel, cheesecake and chocolate..oh my! Her recipe is full of stuff I don’t eat (refined sugar, milk, cream cheese and corn syrup-gasp!), but I figured that where there’s a will (or a craving) there must be a way.

For those of you who don’t know what dulce de leche sauce is, let me just enlighten you. It is creamy, milky caramely bliss. I had it for the first time when I was in 8th grade and on a camping trip. Some family friends made it by boiling a can of Eagle Brand sweetend condensed milk in a pan of water over the campfire for 45 minutes until it turned into carmel. That by itself was beyond delicious, but then we added chopped up Snickers bars into it. Yeah, I know. Dessert at it’s dirtiest.

For my ‘not-so-dirty’ but still-very sexy dessert, I first needed to make a graham cracker crust. My Paleo Indulgences cookbook has a graham cracker recipe, but it calls for a lot of tapioca and arrowroot starch. I don’t want all that starchy stuff in such large quantities. I also looked at a recipe by The Paleo Mom but it called for cream of tartar (which I don’t have), and there was also mention of a lot of rolling and chilling of the dough. We all know I’m too lazy for that. So this is what I came up with:

The Graham Cracker Crust Layer

This crust turned out fantastic! I will definitely use this again in other recipes. I think it could make really tasty crackers/cookies, too. I would probably double this to make a nice 9″ pie crust.

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon almond flour
  • 1/2 cup plus  1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

How you do it

  1. Preheat your oven to 175 C (350 F).
  2. Mix all of your dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk all of your wet ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
  4.  Now add your wet into your dry and stir until well combined.
  5. Pat your dough into a well greased baking dish (I used an 8″x8″) with your fingers and prick with a fork.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove to cool completely.

    Smelled so good

The Dulce de Leche Sauce (make first or make ahead)

This had to cook a long time, but it was so worth it! I can see using this in many other recipes. It would be great drizzled over vanilla paleo ice cream or a baked apple. You could store it in the fridge for at least a week.

  • 500 ml (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In sauce pan, combine coconut milk and honey.  Warm mixture over medium-low heat until mix begins to bubble. Continue to cook over low heat, mixing continuously until sauce is reduced to ½ , is slightly golden and is the consistency of a light syrup.  This actually took forever. I cooked it down for 1 1/2  hours to get a thick creamy sauce. Cool to room temperature and pour over your graham cracker crust. And, yes. You can lick the sauce pan. Put this in your freezer while you make the cheesecake layer.

Worth the wait

The Cheesecake Layer

The vegan community makes cheese out of cashews, so after snooping around a few vegan sites, this is what I settled on:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4  cup plus 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoons lemon juice (this was juice from one lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Easy- peasy. Put it all in your food processor and mix for about 5 minutes until it’s thick and creamy. Get what you have so far from the freezer and spread your “cheesecake” over it. Return to the freezer and go make the final layer of chocolate. No cheese, but it really does taste like cheesecake!

And there you have it

The Chocolate Ganache Layer

  •  150 grams (about 1 cup)of dark chocolate, I used 70%
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
Heat together over low heat until chocolate is melted. Pour over the top of your cheesecake and return to the freezer or refrigerator for 2 hours before cutting into squares.

Craving satisfied

The Verdict

These turned out delicious (even better the next day). Craving satisfied :-). Now I want to make some thin mint chocolate cookies…..

I shared this over at Gluten Free Monday

 

 

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26 Comments

  1. WOW, this looks divine! At the moment i’m doing my first whole 30, just so that i can kick my bread carving! I’m on the 4th day, so far so good!
    I’m deffintely gone make this for Christmas or new years eve!
    Beautiful photos by the way!

    • Hi Christian,
      Congratulations on doing a Whole30! I’ve done like a Whole 70 or 80 in the past and will probably do another Whole30 come January. It’s a great way to get yourself on track. These were really good…the caramel sauce part was the best :-) Thanks for the photo comment. I’m not happy yet with my pictures but I just downloaded a free trial of Adobe Lightroom 4 so I hope that will improve the quality of my pictures.

  2. Holy cow! You’re really creative and this recipe is so mouth watering! I think I’ll make this for my family at christmas, since Im afraid I will eat it all :D

    Just a question: for the crust, do you think I can use 100% coconut flour instead of half coconut flur/haf almond meal?

    • Hi Angela,
      Coconut flour sucks up liquid like nobody’s business so if you wanted to use all coconut flour, you would have to compensate by increasing the liquid. If you decide to play around with it, check back and let me know how it turned out :-)

  3. This looked so good , i just wish i could copy the recipe so i could make it. Wish it had a ” PRINT it”

    • Hi Mary,
      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been thinking about trying to add a “print it” feature…we’ll see.

  4. Thank you so much for this recipe! This is the first gluten/sugar free dessert that I’ve made that actually tastes awesome! Will definitely be making it again!

    • Hi Jess,
      So glad you liked it!

      • Madre mía, you made a sub for dulce de leche! Now I can totally make some alfajores. Thank you from the bottom of my Peruvian/German/American heart!

        • Hi Jen,
          What a good idea! I might need to make some alfajores myself :-)

  5. Your recipe is absolutely fabulous. I didn’t have the patience to wait the hour and a half for the caramel layer to reduce so I kept it on medium for 15 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes and it came out just fine. Hope this helps others to save time too!

    • Hi Jessica,
      I’m so glad you liked it! Hmmm….I’ll have to try cooking it faster like that :-)

  6. About to make these for the second time! I too sped up the caramel cooking time and it was perfection. Soooooooo good!

    • Thanks Lonelle! I will definitley try the ‘fast’ method next time :-)

  7. Can I use Maple Sirup instead of Honey?

    • I think it should work, can’t see why it wouldn’t. I know you could in the crust and cheesecake part, just not 100% sure about the dulce de leche part. If you make it with maple syrup instead, be sure to come back and leave a comment to let us all know how it worked for you (in case other readers have the same question) :-)

      • Ich habe gerade eben den Boden und Dulche de leche mit Ahornsirup gemacht. Die Dulche de leche hab ich testweise vorher mal mit Honig gemacht, hat uns nicht geschmeckt. Aber die jetzige mit Ahornsirup schmeckt göttlich, und ich hoffe, dass sie niemand bis morgen, bis ich alles zusammenbaue, auf isst =)

        • Habe gerade eben das erste Stück probiert! Oh mein Gott sind die lecker!!!

          • Hallo Eva-Maria! Ich bin so froh!! :-)

  8. Can you use almonds in replace of the cashews

    • Hi Amanda,
      The cashews are used as the substitute for real cream cheese. They take on the same consistency and flavor (when combined with lemon) as the cheese. I don’t think almonds would work the same but I can’t be sure since I’ve never tried it. Another alternative which might be more similar to the cashews in texture is sunflower seeds. They might work, but again, I haven’t tried so I’m not sure. If you try something, be sure to check back and let me know how it turned out :-)

  9. Do you think if I added almond butter to the “cheesecake” it would taste like peanut butter cheesecake? I have a recipe using peanut butter cheesecake that I would like to paleoize.

    • Hi there,
      If you want to try and get a peanut butter taste, you might consider using sun butter (made from sun flower seeds). It has the closest flavor to real peanut butter. I think almond butter would be delicious, too. Good luck with it :-)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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