Oh me, oh my. These squares are quite heavenly. I made a double batch – one for myself and one for a fellow gluten-free employee for her birthday. I blame it on my sweet tooth but I couldn’t bear only having one test square for myself 🙂
These indulgent bars were a result of an adaptation from this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment! I was given Flying on Jess Fuel for the month of October and had a blast getting acquainted with this spunky newlywed (best wishes!) and all her delicious food and adventures.
With so many recipes for me to choose from, I turned to an employee for a little assistance on what to make this month. I asked what her favorite dessert was and she said cheesecake. I then looked up to see if miss Jess had anything cheesecake related on her blog and look what I found…M&M Cheesecake Squares!
As usual, I changed a few things and lightened things up a bit, I can’t help it 🙂 While I know a “birthday treat” is a once a year occasion, I was also trying to show said employee how I adapt non-gluten free recipes to fit my dietary needs so here goes.
For the crust/crumble, I substituted my own gluten-free flour blend for the regular flour, erythritol for the brown sugar, added a bit of stevia, used real butter for the margarine and used almonds for the walnuts. Jess mentioned that she loved the filling and recommended doubling it so that’s what I did! I doubled the cream cheese filling using the 1/3 less fat version and used sucanat and stevia for the sweetener. Instead of M&M’s, I substituted dark chocolate chips…while I could’ve purchased Sunspire Dark Chocolate SunDrops for a healthier M&M, I already had chocolate chips on hand so I used those in it’s place!
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Squares (adapted from Flying on Jess Fuel)
For Crust and Crumble
1/3 cup butter, ghee (or Earth Balance or coconut oil for dairy free) room temperature
1/4 cup erythritol (or 1/3 cup granulated sweetener of choice and omit stevia)
1/16 tsp pure stevia powder (or to taste)
1/2 cup almonds, pulsed in a food processor (any nut will do)
1 cup gluten free flour blend (I used 1/3 cup tapioca, 1/3 cup almond meal, 1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour)
2 (8 oz) packages 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature (use dairy-free if needed)
1/3 cup sucanat or other granulated sweetener
1/8th tsp pure stevia (or to taste or add a few more Tbsp of sweetener)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 loaf pans OR one 8×8 pan with parchment paper or grease well and set aside.
2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter/ghee/Earth Balance and erythritol until light and fluffy. Add the stevia, almonds, and flour and mix until crumbly.
3. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside. Divide the remaining crust mixture and press into the bottom of the prepared loaf pans OR into the bottom of the one 8″ square pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, sugar, stevia and vanilla, and using an electric mixer again, mix at medium speed until well blended. (I didn’t even bother cleaning the mixer in between the two steps).
5. Add the eggs and continue mixing until combined.
6. Layer 1/2 of the chocolate chips over the crust. Top with the cream cheese mixture and spread evenly.
7. Top with remaining chocolate chips and sprinkle with reserved crust/crumble.
8. Bake for an additional 25-27 minutes until set. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.