the 4th + mini berry cheesecakes

It's Monday morning.  I've felt absent from this green computer chair and this computer for a bit.  It feels so good to be back.  

I hope you had a memorable weekend with family and friends.  Thanks to social media I've loved seeing glimpses of what others have done together this past weekend.  It is so inspiring for me to see special celebrating happening among everyone around us.  Holidays are so memorable!

This weekend we did what we do best on the fourth: swim and eat.  Sadly, my Rowan has been sick since last week (my real first experience with croup) and so our holiday meant Bobby and I doing all that we could to bring some relief to our little one.  But there were such fun moments being with my siblings and in-laws, throwing my girls in the pool (which was in high demand), Bobby on the grill, and Caroline helping me with our annual patriotic dessert.

Living a low carb lifestyle (lower for me and Bobby as adults than the kids) means recreating holiday treats and the traditional foods I've always made for my family.

And so I came up with a festive, exciting mini berry cheesecake cup that everyone could enjoy, even if they never knew how good it was for them.  These simple berry cheesecakes are perfect throughout the summer as well while berries are in season and light, refreshing treats are on demand.

mini berry cheesecakes 

crust:

pecans

butter

your choice of sweetener (I used [amazon_link id="B0046IISFG" target="_blank" ]ZSweet[/amazon_link] because it is a natural sugar free sweetener)

salt

cheesecake:

equal part-

heavy cream, whipped

softened cream cheese

lemon juice (to taste)

lemon zest (to taste)

[amazon_link id="B00CWTZ8UY" target="_blank" ]Torani Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup[/amazon_link] (or your choice of sweetener, to taste)

vanilla extract

toppings:

blueberries

whole strawberries

(I made 20 cups of cheesecake but I'm going to give the recipe in general terms so you can make individuals as you're hungry or make a large batch to feed a group.)

To make the crust:

Lay pecans on a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for roughly 8 minutes until your house begins to smell of roasted pecans.  Let the pecans cool for a few minutes.

Process pecans in a food processor until you get a fine meal.  (A blender would work just as well.)  Add enough melted butter to the food processor with the pecans to achieve a ball of pecan "dough" once processed.  Add salt and sweetener to taste and process one last time.  You should have a nice roasted, buttery and slightly sweet flavored crumbed mixture.  Set aside.

To make the cheesecake:

In a standing mixer, whip softened cream cheese.  (I used roughly 3-4 8.oz containers of cream cheese.)  Juice one lemon into the whipped cream cheese and it's zest.  Add vanilla extract to taste. (I used about 2 tsp.)  Set aside.

With your whipped cream, add your sweetener to taste.  (I used a few pumps of our [amazon_link id="B00CWTZ8UY" target="_blank" ]Torani's vanilla syrup[/amazon_link].)  Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.  Taste cheesecake mixture to make sure it is to your taste sweetness and flavor-wise.

Fill a large pastry bag with large tip with cheesecake mixture, seal ends of bag and tip, and refrigerate for a few hours for flavors to intensify.

To assemble mini berry cheesecakes:

It is ideal to use clear glass or plastic cups.

Spread 1-2 TBSP of pecan crust mixture into bottom of cup.  Next, pipe cheesecake halfway--two-thirds up the cup.  Top the cheesecakes with a handful of blueberries and one whole strawberry.  (Keep the stem on for color.)

These mini cheesecakes are excellent for a little afternoon snack for kids and adults alike.  Keep the pecan crust mixture and cheesecake in the fridge to assemble whenever you're needing a little treat.  And thankfully these little bites are primarily made of protein + healthy fats.  Really the only carbs come from the berries which are the lowest carb fruits out there.  They satisfy even the smallest tummies and keep them feeling full, satisfied, and happy.

I hope you give it a try and enjoy it with your family on a long, hot summer night!

Most recent Independence Day desserts:

United States Cupcakes (My favorite!)

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

Flag Cookies