Dairy Free Strawberry Cream Cheese
Cream Cheese without dairy can be found at most grocery stores these days. But, typically it contains soy. Soy, once considered a super food has now gotten a bad rap for itself. I don't really care about the debates, what I do care about is the fact that I know Soy does not make me feel well. My hormones are topsy turvy enough with this hashimoto's. I don't need to complicate my issues further. No soy for me.
You cant have soy either? Take a moment to google "Dairy Free Cream Cheese" and you will find a large number of recipes calling for various Nuts and Seeds. Again, another problem for me. Nuts are high in lectins which trigger for me not so pleasant autoimmune symptoms. That meant cream cheese was out- unless I figured out a new way to create it. It took me a few months of heavy thinking, and lots of trial and error to arrive to this recipe. Iris and I wanted to include in our books The Essential Gluten Free Baking Guides Part 1 & Part 2 several "cream cheese" recipes that could work for a large variety of people. In them will be a Cream Cheese Frosting & Basic Cream Cheese that I have not posted here.
Today I'm sharing a recipe that I thought would work glorious in all kinds of Valentine Allergy Free recipes, due of course to its awesome color and flavor. Depending how much sugar you use, it can work great as a thick frosting or can be sandwiched between two cookies.
My biggest goal is to encourage and teach each of you to navigate your allergy free kitchens with confidence. This is why I often give general directions- suggesting you adjust recipes to your own personal taste. That is the case with this recipe. Follow my basic directions and feel free to experiment.
I discovered several months ago that when coconut flakes were thrown into a coffee grinder they made a thick butter very similar to the various nut and seeds butters. That butter acts as the base for this recipe! *Note: some packages of Coconut Flakes are labeled as "reduced fat". Avoid those packages at all cost, those flakes will not grind into coconut butter."
Without further ado- I'm so excited to share the very first Coconut Based Cream Cheese recipe in the history of the world. (I think :) At least that I have ever seen) It has its own little unique thing going on- a little different than traditional cream cheese. But quite, wonderful in its own right. I love it!
- 1 1/4 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- 1/4- 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
- (see step 2 below to make unrefined powdered sugar)
- 1/8 Tsp Salt
- 3/4 Cup Strawberry Puree
- 1 - 1 1/2 Tbs Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- Using a coffee grinder (a vitamix or blendtec should also work) process the coconut flakes into butter. You may need to stir them several times before they process fully.
- Next, make your own powdered sugar (or just use store bought). Select your favorite granulated sugar and process it in your coffee grinder or blender until it becomes powdered (Note: make sure to process until the sugar is no longer gritty). I recommend using a mild tasting sugar like Cane or Turbinado. Coconut and palm sugar have a caramel flavor that may not work best in this application. I tested Xylitol and was not fond of its flavor for this recipe either. (For directions to make sugar free see below)
- Puree Fresh or Frozen (thawed out) strawberries.
- Combine The Coconut Butter, Powdered Sugar, Strawberry Puree, Salt, Lemon Juice and Vanilla and mix together. (This can be done by hand or in a small food processor). At this point, give it a taste test and add additional sugar if you want it, more lemon, more salt- whatever floats your boat.
- Its at this point that I really like adding a pinch of Xanthan Gum (or guar) I find it adds a nice smoothness and mouthfeel. If you oppose xanthan and want the cream cheese thicker- make some more coconut butter and add a little at a time.
Store in the fridge.
To make Sugar Free: leave out the powdered sugar and use some stevia to taste. (I tested out NuNaturals Vanilla Liquid stevia and loved my results). The powdered sugar acted as a thickening agent- so you may need to add an extra 1/4 cup or so of coconut butter.
Optional: If you want the cream cheese thicker- add a pinch (up to 1/8 tsp) of Xanthan or Guar Gum OR add as much additional coconut flakes ground into "butter" as you want. The recipe without adding either will be on the thin side. I did this to give each of you more freedom to customize it to your preference.