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Old 07-06-2017, 07:23 PM   #1
Baricat
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Faux Graham Cracker Crust

True confession. In our house, the dessert of choice when we want to splurge is cheesecake. We've even been known to have a slice for breakfast! But now that we're both low carbers, that pretty much meant giving up on crust. As much as we love cheesecake bareback, there were times when we missed that yummy crumb crust of yore.

But now I had an idea for a tasty alternative, and it worked better than I could have hoped. It was inspired by Carolyn Ketchum's recipe for cold cereal. When pressed into a pan and baked, it results in a flavor and a texture quite similar to the real thing. I thought that there must be others who could use a good multi-purpose crumb crust, as well. It would work equally well for a mousse pie or a SF jello/whipped cream pie. Or even an apple pie for the holidays.

It works for cheesecakes and pies that require baking just as well as it does for those that don't, like chiffon or refrigerator pies. Even if you bake it a second time, with the filling in it like I did, it won't get overdone, hard or too crunchy. The cheesecake (also LC) was incredible!

Best of all, this crust goes together easily and quickly. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

1 cup almond flour (I use superfine blanched)
1/2 cup golden flaxseed meal
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
Dash or two of nutmeg
1/3 cup powdered erythritol or the equivalent of your sweetener of choice (I like to powder a little stevia with it to counteract the cooling effect)
1 stick (4 oz) butter, melted (I use salted, but unsalted is fine, too)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray your pan with cooking spray.

Blend all ingredients in a food processor, pulsing until well combined. Dump into a prepared 9"-10" pie pan (or a 9"-10" springform pan) and press into bottom and up sides. I find it easiest to put a baggie over my hand so the dough doesn't stick to my hands. You could also spray your hand with cooking spray before pressing. Or use a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup to press the mixture into place. Just make sure you've pressed it as evenly as you can.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until it just starts to brown. If it puffs up, no worries. It will settle back down as it cools. But if it makes you feel better, you can press it lightly to compress it. Cool completely before filling and refrigerating or baking. 1/8 of the crust has just 1.5 net carbs.
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Last edited by Baricat; 07-06-2017 at 07:33 PM..
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:07 AM   #2
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Thanks. Sounds yummy. By the way, nothing wrong with cheesecake for breakfast (from someone who loves ice cream for breakfast!)
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:03 AM   #3
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It sounds good. Now I want cheesecake. :-)
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Soobee View Post
Thanks. Sounds yummy. By the way, nothing wrong with cheesecake for breakfast (from someone who loves ice cream for breakfast!)
Clearly, you're my kinda lady!!
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Old 07-07-2017, 10:26 AM   #5
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It sounds good. Now I want cheesecake. :-)
OK, Emily! Here's a super easy one that never fails to please and impress. Texture is velvety and creamy, not fluffy, not dense. I just wipe out the food processor with a paper towel, add the filling ingredients minus the eggs, and process until smooth. Then add eggs, pulse a few times to combine, pour it into your cooled crust, then boom. About a half hour later, it's done. It bakes up super high and impressive in a standard 9" pie plate. Great topped with strawberries or blueberries.

2 -8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened (I use full fat)
1/2 - 3/4 cup powdered sweetener, to taste (liquid Splenda is good, too)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon (or orange, almond, or more vanilla, in any combination)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blend all ingredients except eggs until smooth and thick. Food processor is easiest. By hand, beat until smooth
Add eggs and pulse in processor until combined. Or stir in, if making by hand.
Pour into cooled crust.
Bake 30-35 minutes, or until barely set

And for those who can't get enough of a good thing (like me!) you can make a tangy, white top layer.
Stir together gently:
1 cup sour. cream
3 Tb equivalent sweetener (powdered or liquid)
1/4 tsp vanilla

Top the baked cake (hot from the oven) and return to oven for another 5 minutes.
Cool at room temperature for one hour.
Refrigerate at least 3 hours, or up to 5 days. I find flavor is best if it mellows at least 24 hours. Freezes perfectly, if you thaw several hours in the fridge.

As a variation, have subbed mint extract for the lemon, then stirred in a couple of drops of green food color. Folded in 1/4 cup chopped 70% or 85% chocolate for a mint chocolate chip version that is quite refreshing in the summer.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:59 AM   #6
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I love cheesecake with the sour cream topping. The original recipe I used was from the Redbook Cookbook. (An oldie). Best cheesecake ever.
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:00 PM   #7
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I'm with you, Carolyn! That sour cream topping is irresistible! That snowy white, glistening top layer practically begs you to get your forks ready to dig in with abandon...

That said, I make many, many different varieties of cheesecake. Being a NY gal, born and raised, I can't help but feel that you just can't beat a super rich, super dense, not-too-sweet, genuine NY cheesecake. It's a classic.

But sometimes, I want a flavored type, like chocolate, strawberry, coconut, praline, Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Dutch Apple, or grasshopper. Other times, I'm in the mood for something light and fluffy, like a no-bake type, topped with seasonal fruit.

This is an easy peasy one that's neither too dense nor too airy. It goes together so fast if you use the food processor after you make the crust, you don't even have to wash the FP in between. Only one thing to wash! For the richness factor, I'd place it in the mid-range. Plus, it lends itself to endless variations.

Here's one you all might like. You can separate out about 1/3 of the batter, add 1/2 tsp orange extract and 3 drops yellow plus 1 drop red food color to it, and put 1 tsp vanilla in the other 2/3 of the batter. Pour the 2/3 (vanilla) batter into the crust, then pour in the 1/3 orange batter, and swirl gently with a knife. Voilą! Creamsicle flavor. So creamy, and the presentation is lovely.

Any way you make it, everyone loves this; it's a surefire winner. And you honestly can't tell that it isn't its HC ancestor. Hope some of you give it a whirl and let us know what you think.
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Last edited by Baricat; 07-07-2017 at 03:06 PM..
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:21 PM   #8
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-- Cat... yummy. Can you post other variations you have done???
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:14 PM   #9
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OMG, Carolyn, don't know if I can remember them all!

I've added 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter to the mixture before the eggs, then stirred in 1/2 cup chopped 70% or 85% chocolate. You might need more sweetener because of the additional salt in the PB, so taste the batter. (Only vanilla extract, of course)

Have taken out a third of the batter and stirred in 2 Tb Monin raspberry (or strawberry) syrup or 1 Tb Monin concentrate to the third, along with a splash of framboise. Proceed as with the creamsicle variation above. Serve with fresh raspberries (or strawberries if you use that syrup). Use only 1/2 tsp vanilla to the 2/3 of the unflavored batter.

Have melted 4 oz of 70% chocolate and added it to the processor before the eggs and only 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract. If you'd prefer mocha, add 2 Tb coffee SF syrup or kahlua.

Have added 6 drops Lorann peach essential oil with 1/2 tsp vanilla.

Have used only 1-1/2 tsp orange extract, 1 tsp very finely grated orange zest, and 2 Tb Grand Marnier, then drizzled with a square of 70% chocolate, melted, when completely cool. I scrape the melted chocolate into a baggie and snip a tiny bit off one corner and make pretty back-and-forth swizzle. Put the cooled cheesecake on a sheet of newspaper before you start, because it can get messy!

These are just a few off the top of my head.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:48 AM   #10
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Peanut butter one sounds amazing!! And the raspberry/strawberry version. Yummy.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:01 PM   #11
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Baricat, This really looks good, but your list of ingredients says "1 stick (4 oz) butter, melted (I use salted, but unsalted is fine, too)". 1 stick is 8 oz, so I'm confused as to whether to use 4 or 8 oz of butter. I did look up Carolyn's recipe for the cereal and it says 8 oz butter. Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:16 AM   #12
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Baricat, This really looks good, but your list of ingredients says "1 stick (4 oz) butter, melted (I use salted, but unsalted is fine, too)". 1 stick is 8 oz, so I'm confused as to whether to use 4 or 8 oz of butter. I did look up Carolyn's recipe for the cereal and it says 8 oz butter. Thanks for your help.
Judy, is it possible that perhaps we're using different size sticks?? Mine here are 4 oz. A pound of butter (16 oz) here has 4 sticks. Hence, 16 divided by 4 = 4 oz. Do you perhaps buy one pound of butter which is only divided in half? I thought 4 sticks to the pound was pretty much the standard. But I could be wrong. Anticipating that possibility is why I included not only the volume measure (one stick,) but also the weight measure (4 ounces.) I was hoping to avoid any confusion. When in doubt, the weight measure in any baked good will always be the most accurate.

Carolyn's cereal recipe states "8 Tb," not "8 OZ." One stick of butter has 8 Tb volume and weighs 4 oz.

If you were to use 8 oz, it would be unpleasantly unctuous and greasy, so I would not recommend it. I hope this helps to clarify.

BTW, as a cereal, it was not quite as successful, as despite additional bake time, it never got crispy enough to classify as "cereal." You'll read several reviews that said it wasn't crunchy, but more "powdered." The texture of mine wasn't exactly that bad, but you would never describe it as "crunchy." The texture and flavor (with the changes I outlined, like melting the butter, not using cold, and changing the spices) make it spot-on for a dessert crust, very close to one made of HC graham crackers.
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:42 PM   #13
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Cat, I'm sorry, my mistake. Your math is correct. After checking, I realize that 1 stick is 8 TBS but not 8 oz, like I was imagining! I guess after seeing the cereal recipe where she just specified 8 oz, I thought the amounts in each should be the same. Actually, in the responses to her cereal recipe, someone cut the butter in half and said it was better. I think a lot of them were not using a bulk type of sweetener and that made a difference. I'm thinking about trying it to see how it comes out. But I really want to try the crust. Thanks for your quick response!
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Old 07-10-2017, 03:28 PM   #14
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Cat, I'm sorry, my mistake. Your math is correct. After checking, I realize that 1 stick is 8 TBS but not 8 oz, like I was imagining! I guess after seeing the cereal recipe where she just specified 8 oz, I thought the amounts in each should be the same. Actually, in the responses to her cereal recipe, someone cut the butter in half and said it was better. I think a lot of them were not using a bulk type of sweetener and that made a difference. I'm thinking about trying it to see how it comes out. But I really want to try the crust. Thanks for your quick response!
Judy, it's a very logical mistake. When I first read it, I, too, thought it was 8 oz. But when I checked it, she said 8 Tb, not oz.

I had already been thinking of cutting the butter back to 6 Tb. for the crust. If I do, I'll update the results here. To keep the crust firm and not crumbly, I believe that cutting it by half would be too little fat. With the 8 Tb, it's not greasy. So cutting it back to 6 Tb would just be for the "what if" factor, which appeals to the food geek in me. It's really darned near perfect as is. After refrigeration for 24 hours after baking it with the filling, it cut cleanly and looked just like the real thing. Firm, but not too crunchy.

I do believe for that to happen, it truly helps to melt that butter, not cut it in like she does. Maybe that would help the cereal bake a little crunchier. Not sure.
No doubt you could dress it up by subbing part of the flour/flaxmeal mixture with ground, toasted pecans if you like them, say 1/4 to 1/2, and that would give additional depth of flavor. Or toasted almonds for a variation.
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Old 07-10-2017, 04:38 PM   #15
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Hey y'all!

Just for a change of pace, try using one eggwhite, beaten up a bit til frothy, in place of the butter. It's less greasy and a little firmer when baked. I used to use butter, but one day, tried the eggwhite instead and for us, we preferred it.

I've also used one eggwhite and 1 T. melted butter, for those times I want the extra richness.

AND if you want it more "graham cracker-y" - try using whole almond flour instead of blanched. Trader Joe's sells it, or you could make your own. It has a little more of that look/taste that reminds me of the ol' GC crust.

GOOD stuff and I'm glad you posted this thread, Cat - haven't made anything like that in ages - might just be time!
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:05 PM   #16
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Hey, Char!!

Char, good call for the egg white in the cereal. I'm sure it's just what it needs to help the texture break up into firmer pieces with some crunch, just what you want in a cereal.

All I ever have in the house is blanched, super fine almond flour, which is the only reason I used it. The next time I go to Trader Joe's (which now that you mentioned it, I'm getting a major, unexplained hankering to go there!) I will treat myself to a bag of the unblanched stuff, on your say-so.

As for the texture of the crust, it really does still mimic a GC crust, even with the finer almond flour. And the butter makes it taste just lovely. It cuts nice and firm, not crumbly. But will report when I end up trying the unblanched almond flour. Sounds like a winner to me!
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:45 PM   #17
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I use the eggwhite for the regular crust too - I just prefer it, not as oily - but I do use it with the blanched almond flour quite often too, it just makes a lovely base for stuff. It's really good for lemon bars too!

Yeah, Trader Joe's will give you those hankerings alrighty! LOL!
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:49 PM   #18
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At Char's suggestion, I went to Trader Joe's and bought their natural almond meal. I used it in place of the blanched almond flour today. The result is quite good tasting, but it should be noted that it definitely tastes like a nut crust, and not so much like a graham cracker crust. If the taste of a conventional crumb crust is what you're after, I'd advise sticking with the blanched, super fine almond flour. Also of note is that the natural almond meal bakes up into an extremely brown crust, between the two bakings (one empty, one filled.) Using the blanched almond flour, the color is more golden, less dark brown.
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Old 07-14-2017, 10:02 AM   #19
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Definitely true on all points, Cat! I don't use the unblanched much except when I want a darker end result. In fact just had to toss a bag that was WELL past the "use by" date.

I don't do many desserts any more. They just get me in the "I need something sweet!" after dinner mode and then I eat more calories than I need to - however, when we have a family occasion where there is help to eat those things, I still love to make them!
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Old 07-14-2017, 06:54 PM   #20
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I don't think you're alone, Char, in finding low carb desserts as "triggers" for excessive recreational eating. That's not a problem I share, fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective. I've always got a minimum of 4-5 flavors of ice cream in the freezer, and rarely eat it (The hubs eats enough for both of us!) I freeze at least half of every dessert when I bake them. And I still end up pitching some because mold gets to the portion before I can eat it (Just had to throw out 2 of the 6 Blu-Glu muffins this morning that I hadn't had enough time/inclination to eat. Uncovered the container, and uh-oh! they were fuzzy!)

I'm in a little different position from others here, as I'm trying to keep weight on, not lose it. Since I frequently have very little to no appetite, I try to keep around stuff that's LCHF and/or that has abundant protein that might appeal. Cheesecake hits both those points.

Normally, I don't make big batches of goodies if the hubs isn't around to help me eat them. This was an exception, however, because I was dying of curiosity after your post about the Trader Joe's almond meal you mentioned. I had to know what differences I'd find, so now I know. Of course, anything in the name of research, right??
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:14 AM   #21
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I make a cheesecake very similar to Baricat's, but mine has heavy whipping cream in it as well. We think it's the best cheesecake we've ever tasted!
Classic Cheesecake
4 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 c sweetener (I use powdered Swerve or a combination of powdered Swerve and powdered xylitol)
Pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla (add fresh lemon juice and rind if desired)
4 eggs
2/3 c sour cream
2/3 c heavy whipping cream

Beat cream cheese until smooth, add sugar and beat, then add rest of ingredients, beating after each addition.

Pour into 2 9” pans and cook at 325 for 50 minutes with a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf. Crack open the door after cooking and let cool in the oven.
Cool overnight in the refrigerator.

Mix and spread over the top: note: this makes more than necessary
2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar sub
1 tsp vanilla
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:32 PM   #22
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Wow, Diana, that really IS close! Of course, now I'm going to have to try the addition of some heavy cream to see the difference. Will let you know.

As written, the one I posted doesn't need a water bath. I've made it dozens of times, and it has never once cracked, unlike many others I make, which are much more finicky. This one is easy peasy, fast to throw together, and super "low maintenance."

The next time you make the yours, though, be sure to try the faux graham cracker crust with it. I'm sure it will further enhance your awesome recipe!
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Old 08-14-2017, 09:37 AM   #23
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I love cheesecake, although I don't make it that often. Thanks for sharing these detailed recipes!
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Old 08-15-2017, 02:08 PM   #24
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Wow, Diana, that really IS close! Of course, now I'm going to have to try the addition of some heavy cream to see the difference. Will let you know.

As written, the one I posted doesn't need a water bath. I've made it dozens of times, and it has never once cracked, unlike many others I make, which are much more finicky. This one is easy peasy, fast to throw together, and super "low maintenance."

The next time you make the yours, though, be sure to try the faux graham cracker crust with it. I'm sure it will further enhance your awesome recipe!
Cat, I don't have the flax seed for the crust, do you think I can eliminate it?
think I should increase the almond?
thanks~
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:09 PM   #25
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Bella, without the flax, you just won't get the taste similar to graham cracker crust. And the texture won't be the same if you use all almond flour. Not that it would be bad - I'd think it would be somewhat closer to a shortbread crust, not a crumb crust. Golden flaxseed is pretty easy to find. Many grocery stores now stock it. If not, it's fairly reasonable through Amazon. A bag will last you a long time. Best to store it in the freezer, as it can go rancid when left at room temperature.
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:17 AM   #26
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Thanks Cat, I am off to the store today to pick some up! Ground flax is what I am looking for, right?
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:45 PM   #27
Baricat
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Bella, sorry to be late replying! I have always bought Bob's Red Mill golden flaxseed meal. It has a pleasant, grain-like taste. I even use it frequently in the morning, along with chia seed to make a hot cereal. It only takes about 30 seconds to heat the water, then it sits for a minute or two to thicken. Topped with a pat of butter, some Sukrin Gold brown sugar substitute and heavy cream, it's an easy, but decadent and super filling breakfast. And the cereal has almost 0 net carbs - jackpot!!!
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Old 08-19-2017, 05:14 PM   #28
Tweaker Geek
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Cat - I've never been a fan of hot cereal, but that actually sounds good to me. How much flax seed and chia seeds do you use? I think I'd like to give it a try one morning for breakfast.
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Old 08-20-2017, 07:13 AM   #29
Baricat
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Tweaker, it is surprisingly good, and loaded with fiber.

I start with 1/2 cup of very hot water, and stir in 2 Tb each of the golden flaxseed meal and chia seeds. Let it sit for a minute or so, until thickened, and put on the pat of butter to melt, then stir in some Sukrin Gold brown (granulated is what I use, but I suppose the syrup would work well, too.) For a real treat, I pour cream over it, but almond milk works well, too. The taste is somewhat reminiscent of Cream of Wheat, but the chia seed lends a tiny bit of crunch.

It's a fast, easy breakfast you can throw together in a couple of minutes.
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Old 08-20-2017, 12:04 PM   #30
marnie4949
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Sounds somewhat like our basic pie crust recipe.
Take 1 cup of golden flaxseed meal, a half cup of splenda, a half stick of butter (2oz) and a pinch of salt to taste. Mash well and press firmly into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake @ 350 for 10 minutes then "fill or chill."
Tweak it any way you wish and enjoy.
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