@Why choose? Have both a cookie and some cheesecake with each bite. To top it off, the toffee bits provide a flavor reminiscent of creme brûlée.
Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with loved ones. I actually went on a blog/social media fast all last week in an effort to fully live in the moment and take time to reflect and truly appreciate all the things I have to be thankful for. And I'm so glad I did. As a blogger, engaging in social media is like breathing. It is so habitual that sometimes I forget how much time I spend away from developing and nurturing personal relationships with those around me. However, it's provided an avenue to make so many wonderful connections and friendships virtually that would have otherwise not been possible. I simply haven't been able to discover that perfect balance. I don't know if I ever will.
One of my favorite spots in Austin - Pennybacker Bridge Overlook
This past week, rather than feeling obligated to snap a photo of my plate of food while dining out just so that I could share it on Instagram, I ate while it was still piping hot, savoring every bite. My index finger wasn't scrolling through a gallery of images while going to and from places with the Hungryman. It turns out a lot of bonding can occur right in the passenger seat of a car. I was reminded that those little, quiet moments in life can be really meaningful and worthwhile. It's a shame that they get so easily overlooked in the busyness of life. It sure felt amazing to be present, and just as Kara described, I felt alive and loved.
While I often get scared and feel pressured to keep my blog alive and make it grow, I have to remind myself that my purpose in blogging isn't just about increasing my followers, daily visitors, etc. Gosh...it's so easy to get bogged down by the numbers game, and just thinking about it brings two words to mind - not sustainable. So needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time unplugging and am now feeling quite refreshed. I think I'm going to make this part of my routine (perhaps every 3-4 months) to keep my passion burning.
I also had more time than usual to make an even greater mess in the kitchen. It's the best and most therapeutic kind of mess there is..until cleanup time that is. My sweet tooth hit me like a stampeding bull so I flipped through the pages of Dessert Mashups, a cookbook by Dorothy from Crazy for Crust (Disclaimer: While I received a free copy of the cookbook, the opinions and thoughts expressed here are 100% my own), looking for something to quench the craving. The cookbook is full of delicious two-in-one sweet treat recipes, such as pumpkin cheesecake french toast, S'more cookies, sconuts... I chose to start with this oatmeal cookie cheesecake bar. Ingenious!
Although I was hesitant about tweaking such a novel recipe, I couldn't resist and I once again find myself presenting my healthier adaptation. The cookie dough is similar to the one I used for my no bake pumpkin and raisin peanut butter cups except it's not as sticky. Also, this cookie is naturally sweetened with maple syrup and uses coconut oil instead of butter.
Divide the dough evenly into 12 balls and press them down into a greased muffin pan. Using a stand mixer, cream together all the ingredients for the cheesecake portion. Try to get as many of the lumps out as possible. Spoon the mixture on top of the cookie dough and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the top bounces back to a light touch. Immediately, sprinkle the toffee bits on top for texture as well as a creme brûlée-esque flavor profile.
Just like that, you can enjoy a cookie and cheesecake at the same time ;). The cookie is dense and slightly chewy at the same time while the cheesecake provides a complementary smooth, creamy texture as well as a bit of tart to tickle the tastebuds. And of course the crunchiness and toasted sweetness of the toffee bits..mmm... I'll tell you that toffee is one of my favorite add-ons esp. in froyo. So the next time you find yourself stuck choosing between a cookie and some cake or your sweet tooth is plain out of control, make this no-fuss healthier, gluten-free 2-in-1 treat!
- 1 ½ cups gluten free oats to make flour
- 1 cup gluten free oats
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup toffee bits
- For the cookie
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
- Add 1 ½ cups oats to food processor or high-speed blender (I used a Vitamix), and blend until it turns into flour. Use your fingers to break any clumps. Pour into a medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and use your hands to form into a dough. Divide into 12 equal-sized balls. Place individual balls into the cups and press down until evenly spread.
- For the cheesecake
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in sugar, vanilla extract, and egg and beat again until smooth (Try to get all the lumps out, but some may remain). Pour and spread over each cookie layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top bounces back to a light touch. Immediately after removing from the oven, sprinkle the toffee bits evenly across the top. Let cool completely and store in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to serve.