Saturday, December 17, 2011

Two Easy Gluten-free Cheesecakes & Sugar Talk

I feel a bit guilty about making another sweet post, but it is almost Christmas and I wanted to bring a gluten-free dessert with me to a party tonight so I could have some while I was there. I don't exclude sugar in my diet anyway, whereas my paleo eating sister does. Hi Sis! <3

Sugar is an interesting topic. I find that eating sugary foods does not effect me like eating gluten does. I get no perceptible spikes and lows in my energy, and no extra hunger. For some people, however, sugar in every form can effect their body and they need to lower their intake if not eliminate it from their diet. Lowering the amount of sugar we eat should also lower the amount of overall calories consumed as well because sugar is a dense calorie food.

If you want to limit your sugar, you could start during the holidays not by taking out the dessert you want at a party but by being more aware of the added sugars in your food. I don't mean the sugar you add into your food - you are aware of that. I'm talking about the sugars hidden in things like tomato sauce, bagels, health food bars, yogurt and more. These hidden sugars according to the Emory University School of Medicine and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) account for 16% of the sugars we eat. 

If we become mindful of our labels and choose the canned tomatoes that don't have added sugar, our intake of sugar and the amount of calories we eat will be lower. Manufacturers get tricky about their added sugars though. Sugar could be added to your foods under any of these names:  dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, fruit juice concentrate, galactose, lactose, polydextrose, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltodextrin and turbinado sugar. So look at your labels and just choose the product that has no added sugars or the least or opt for fresh ingredients. I still can't find a canned sweet potato without corn syrup for instance, so in my recipes I use fresh sweet potatoes instead. 

Okay now for the dessert recipe. :-) As I said way at the beginning I wanted to make an EASY gluten-free dessert to bring with to a party, so I made a simple gelatin based cheesecake 2 ways: one with a gluten-free crust and one with no crust. 

Easy GF Cheesecake 2 Ways

(double the top ingredients if you are making 2 cakes)
1 envelope KNOX unflavored gelatin
2 8oz pkgs of cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup boiling water
1.5 tsp vanilla

1 box gluten-free graham crackers
3/4 stick of butter 
Pint of Strawberries

The first one had a graham cracker crust. I bought a box of gluten-free graham crackers. Admittedly my first gluten-free processed food purchase, but I didn't have time to make cookies, and then crush them into a crust, but if you have some you made you can substitute any dry buttery or spicy cookie for the graham crackers. Take your graham crackers (about 12-16) and crush them up in a food processor until they are fine (or crush by hand) and add the 3/4 cup of melted butter and mix until dough-like. You can adjust the amount of butter or crackers until you get a pliable dough. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9" round pie dish. 

In your mixer cream the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Boil your water and add the gelatin, stirring until it dissolves. Add the gelatin a little at a time and blending well. When finished pour into the pie mold and refrigerate for 3 hours. I added my strawberries after it set. 

The other cheesecake was a NO-CRUST cheesecake. I mean why do you even need a crust? So it can be easily removed from the pan? I decided to slice my strawberries and layer them into a faux crust at the bottom and sides of the pan. Make sure you layer a second layer of strawberries where there are gaps. Make the same mixture of cheesecake as above and pour into your faux crust. Refrigerate for 3 hours. This worked really well and would be even better with some homemade whipped cream at the top. The strawberries get a bit wet though in the fridge, so I would suggest doing this method if it will be served right away. 


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