We were headed to The Gorge – to Watershed – to a three-day music festival extravaganza. It rocked my world. Literally. We came home and I felt like I’d been run over by a freight truck for almost the next week.
The dancing, eating and drinking. The no workingout-ing. The sneaking into the truck for 20 minutes of work here and 20 minutes of work there-ing. The laughing. The game playing. The epic proposal watching. (Don’t worry. It wasn’t mine.) The love songs, whispered in my ear.
Oh my goodness. I now understand the saying, “It was so hard it was good.”
So bring on the freight trucks, the long nights under the stars and the early mornings scrambling eggs. Bring on working hard and playing hard.
Bring on being 29 with this guy.
That’s right. He turned 29 last week. For the next nine months, I can no longer claim to be the “older” half. It’s always good while it lasts.
We went to the Crab Pot and ate shellfish scattered across the table with our hands. We went with his parents and our good friend, Brandon. The five of us laughed, toasted, and weighed the pros and cons of singing Happy Birthday. Singing lost.
Then, we ate cake. This cake to be precise. A no-sugar added blackberry, chocolate dipped cheesecake.
We went to a beer festival with friends, had a picnic in the grass and ate tons of fruit salad. We threw a BBQ, played beer pong and sat around a bonfire. And then on Sunday, after a house cleaning session and before breakfast, we ate a few more chocolate dipped cheesecake squares.
Goodness. It was a good weekend. Like I said, bring on being 29 with this guys.
Blackberry Cheesecake Squares Dipped in Chocolate
This recipe is adapted from an earlier, fruit free version. Blackberries happen to be in season at the moment, but you could use any fruit as long as it’s ripe and sweet.
Note: These squares are no sugar added, making them very diabetic friendly.
1 cup oatmeal, divided
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup sugar substitute (I prefer Truvia)
¼ cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch by 8 inch baking dish with tinfoil. Coat with non-stick cooking spray.
In a food processor, chop ¾ cup oatmeal, walnuts, and sugar substitute until well blended and nuts are fine (about 12 pulses). Stream in butter, pulsing 4 to 5 more times, until coarse crumbs form. Using your hand, combine remaining ¼ cup oatmeal until well mixed.
Dump crust mixture into prepared baking dish and push down to create one even layer. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until crust becomes slightly firm to the touch. Remove from oven and set on a wire baking rack to cool.
1 cup blackberries, divided
3 TBS water
1 TBS cornstarch
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
3 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 TBS vanilla
½ cup sugar substitute (I prefer Truvia)
In a small saucepan, bring ¾ cup blackberries and water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the blackberries start to break down. Stir in cornstarch and continue simmering and stirring until mixture begins to thicken. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a stand mixer, blend cream cheese, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla and sugar substitute until batter is smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Pour batter on top of the cooked crust. Dollop blackberry mixture over the top of the batter. Using a butter knife, cut through the batter, swirling the fruit into the cheesecake batter.
Bake for 25 minutes or until cheesecake is set.
Note: In most cases you still want the center of your cheesecake to be jiggly when you take it from the open. While it won’t be completely firm, make sure it holds up to being touched by your finger. The fruit will make it less solid than a typical cheesecake, making it tricky to handle as you dip.
Remove from oven. Allow to cool until baking dish can be covered with plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
¼ cup butter (½ stick)
12-ounces sugar free chocolate, broken into pieces. (Simple Lite is my favorite sugar free chocolate. It doesn’t have that chalky texture you often find with other brands. Trader Joes carries it. 9-ounces is about 3 bars.)
Remove cheesecake from refrigerator and carefully lift it from baking dish using the sides of the tinfoil. With a large, sharp knife, cut the cheesecake into 20 squares. Transfer to a plate and freeze for 5 – 10 minutes. (This will make dipping MUCH easier.)
While the cheesecake squares are freezing, create your own double boiler using a small saucepan and glass bowl. Add a small amount of water to the saucepan and set the glass bowl on top, making sure the water is shallow enough it doesn’t touch the bowl.
NOTE: While you could use the microwave (and I often do), sugar free chocolate is more temperamental than it’s insulin-spiking sister and burns easily. Using a double boiler gives you more control, helping eliminate scorching.
Add butter and chocolate to glass bowl. Bring saucepan water to a simmer. As butter and chocolate begin to melt, stir together constantly until fully combined. Remove from heat.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Remove cooled cheesecake from the refrigerator. Lift carefully from baking dish onto a cutting board. Fold down sides of tinfoil. Cut into 25 equal squares.
Using your hands, carefully lift one square. Dip it into chocolate, turning the square over to fully coat. Remove from chocolate bath and place on prepared cookie sheet. Top with a whole blackberry. Repeat with remaining squares.
NOTE: If the chocolate is too hot to dip your hands into, use a rubber spatula to lift up one side of the square. This will let you grab it while it’s not in the chocolate bath.
Place coated squares in the refrigerator until chocolate has hardened. Serve cold or transfer to a sealed container and keep for up to one week (if they last that long).