Mini Cocoa Cheesecake Pops

Here’s a clever recipe from young nutritionist and cookbook author, Hallie Klecker, for Mini Cocoa Cheesecake Pops. Hallie writes about wheat-free health and cooking at her blog, Daily Bites. Hallie has been wheat- and gluten-free since her teenage years, when she experienced a health turnaround with relief from chronic abdominal pains and unexplained weight loss misdiagnosed as anorexia. She now devotes her day to developing new recipes consistent with this nutritional concept.

Hallie’s new cookbook is The Pure Kitchen: Clear the clutter from your cooking with 100 gluten-free, dairy-free recipes.

Mini Cocoa Cheesecake Pops

Makes 12

¾ cup blanched slivered almonds
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
20-30 drops liquid stevia or to taste
Chopped pecans, for rolling
12 lollipop sticks

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, grind the almonds, cocoa powder, coconut flour, cinnamon, and salt until fine, about 1 minute. Add the pumpkin and pulse to combine. Add the stevia and process until the mixture forms a dough.

Roll the dough into small balls (1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter). Roll each ball in chopped pecans, pressing them in gently to adhere. Insert a lollipop stick into each ball.

Serve right away, or store the pops in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Claire

    Hmm could I use apple rather than pumpkin puree as I have enver seen pumpkin puree for sale (UK) and could make my own apple..

  2. Patti

    Sorry, I’m not getting the cheesecake connection. But they look great. I think I’d leave them off the stick and just serve as chocolate pumpkin balls.

  3. Raina

    Is it still cheesecake if there’s no cream cheese in it?

    Sounds good — wish I was able to find coconut sugar in stores in Canada.

    • Raina, you can order from or from Vitacost. The price listed on Amazon is much ceaper than what I find in the stores around here.

      • Ann Marie Doria

        You can also purchase coconut flour from Swanson Their prices are good.
        I’ve gone one step further with this diet. I have eliminated all grains and starches from my diet due to Chron’s. A complementary read is: “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall. Great Info.

  4. J, Patti, & Raina: These are “cheeseless” cheesecake pops. I eat dairy-free in addition to gluten-free, so it’s always fun to come up with cheese-like creations that are also low-glycemic and representative of real dairy. They have a very similar texture as cheesecake, but you’d never know that they’re dairy-free!

    Claire: you could certainly try applesauce, although you’d probably need less since it is more watery than pumpkin. You could also use homemade squash puree if that’s available to you. Good luck! :)

    • Hi, Ellen/Gluten Free Diva–

      I also was impressed with Hallie’s incredibly beautiful photography. Aren’t they beautifully presented?

      Wish I had that talent!

  5. These sound great to me! They may be dairy-free, but other ingredients such as the nuts used here can definitely mimic the richness and slight tang of cheesecake.

  6. These look and sound great, except for the artificial sweetener. I say if you’re gonna make something sweet, then use a natural ingredient that’s sweet. Consuming sweeteners by the pound is a bad idea whether they’re real or artificial, so why not use the real food, and just use it in reasonable quantities?

    • Stevia is a 100% natural sweetener derived from the stevia herb. I like to get the pure stevia extract (like NuNaturals or SweetLeaf) because they have nothing in them other than the plant extract. No fillers, granulars, etc.

      • PJ

        (And SweetLeaf makes some really yummy flavored stevia extracts like Vanilla Creme, English Toffee, Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry and Valencia Orange! Love them because, like Hallie points out, they have no fillers or additives.)

      • Ah, I didn’t realize that pure stevia itself was actually natural. But, the stevia product that you link to from your recipe lists the following as its ingredients:

        Proprietary Blend
        Purified Water
        Stevia (Leaf) Extract
        Other Ingredients

        So that’s not something that I’d personally want to consume, certainly not over natural sugar.

        • Gretchen Gill

          I doubted that Stevia was actually a plant sweetener too, until I stumbled on a plant for my herb garden! It is amazing how intensely sweet the taste is, when you nibble on a leaf. My son’s friends ask if they can have a taste of the sweet plant in the summer!

          I am surprised that this wasn’t promoted as a natural sweetener decades earlier. I just started the wheat-free and low-carb lifestyle a week ago, and do plan to use Stevia, but sparingly. I think that my taste for sweetness has already subsided to a great degree. I also wonder what is in the sweetener other than Stevia extract, it seems pretty vague!

    • I see so many metabolic problems induced by sugar/honey/agave/maple syrup/carbohydrates that unwinding these phenomena requires avoidance of same.

    • Mona

      There are some of us who cannot deal with normal sugar. Some have issues with diabetes and others may have had a gastric bypass and sugars including things like agave, honey and fructose cause dumping syndrome. Very very unpleasant. Other sometimes get hypoglycemia issues. For those of us with these issues artificial sugar and sugar alcohols are a blessing. They allow us to fill our need for sweets without overindulging in them.

  7. Brilliant; my company has monthly potlucks and next months theme is “Things On A Stick.” Im always trying to come up with new paleo-friendly things to bring to the potlucks, to help show people that im eating awesome food as well as losing weight.

    Questions: Where does one get lollipop sticks? Also, stevia and I dont really get along very well; it tastes bitter to me, no matter what its in. Could one use honey instead (obviously it adds some sugars but whatever, its a dessert)?

    • You can find lollipop sticks at many craft stores, some supermarkets, dollar stores, and cake decorating shops. If you don’t like stevia, you could definitely try a small amount of honey here, although it may make the dough more sticky so you many need a touch more coconut flour or cocoa powder. Enjoy!

  8. Brenda OBrien

    Ok, im a bit confused, I have the wheat belly book, Dr. Davis says that aqava sweetner is not a good sweetner it will send you blood sugar into the atmosphere, I noticed in the book many recipes ask for aqava sweetner, I guess the recipes in this book though they may be wheat free or gluten free they are not completly sugar free?? do I understand this right, im battleing a head cold so I may not be interupting this correct. Help me understand. Thanks Brenda

    • Do you mean agave syrup? Agave syrup is basically high-fructose-cactus-syrup. Its sugars that are extracted from the agave (a cactus-like plant) but they are sugars all the same.

      This recipe calls for stevia, which is *not* a sugar. It is an extract from the leaves of the stevia plant. This extract happens to taste sweet without being a sugar, so its like a natural artificial sweetener. Its been used for thousands of years so its generally accepted as pretty safe. Some people (myself included) taste an unpleasant chalky, bitter aftertaste from it, though, so I dont enjoy it.

      Some people also argue that any artificial sweetener, natural or non, can mess up our delicate insulin and hormon balance by making our body expect sugars but then not giving them, but this idea hasnt been well tested to my knowledge.

      • Hi, cTo-

        In real life, I have not been seeing the appetite-stimulation or hyperinsulinemia expected of artificial sweeteners when stevia is used.

    • Hi Brenda – Thanks for your question. All of the recipes in my book are wheat/gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and refined-sugar free. I use natural sweeteners like raw honey, dark maple syrup, coconut sugar, and agave nectar/syrup. You are right in that they are not 100% sweetener-free. I view desserts and treats as things to be enjoyed in moderation. I try to pair sweeteners with things like nuts and seeds to add fiber and protein, which do help somewhat to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

    • Hi, Brenda–

      Hallie and I agree to differ on this point. I would use stevia or Truvia in place of agave, maple syrup, and other sweeteners to avoid the hyperglycemia, fructose effects, and glycation.

  9. Patti

    Forgot the second part….can you replace the liquid Stevia with Truvia? I have all this in my pantry now and don’t want to run out and buy stuff I won’t use. Stevia has a bitter aftertaste to me that I just cannot get past.

  10. Lizelle

    Do you have an opinion about coconut sugar?
    I find that I cannot stand the taste of artificial sugars, no matter which one I try. I do find that I quite like the taste of dates in stuff and can use much less dates that the equivalent sugar would have been (like using 4 chopped dates in a muffin recipe and then losing the sugar altogether).
    Is there some mitigating health benefit to using something sweet that has other nutritional stuff in it (like coconut sugar or whole dates)?
    I find with me that I start out using an artificial sugar, and try to stick with it, but in the end just progressively start adding sugar in to whatever I am using the artificial sweetener for, and end up ditching the artificial stuff.

    • Maybe the key for you, Lizelle, is to eliminate sweeteners altogether, at least for a time. Perhaps this will rid you of most of your need for sweetness.

      Coconut sugar contains fructose. From a casual search, I was not able to determine the proportion of fructose. But this seems to be the issue often glossed over with sugar-alternatives: It is often assumed that, because it doesn’t increase blood sugar, fructose is safe. The truth is that fructose is the most destructive among all sugars.

  11. Ilyana

    Hi Dr Davis,
    I was wondering if you could share with us the recipe for your green tea bread as well? I noticed you were talking about how great it tasted in one of your posts – I thought you were referring to one of your recipes in your book but it isn’t in it. Would you do us the honor? :)

    • Hi, Ilyana–

      The green tea bread was something I really struggled with, having made it about 10 times but never getting it quite right. The taste was a bit off and/or texture was not quite right. So, before I give you a bum recipe, let me tweak this a little bit.

      Part of the problem was that the powdered green tea seems to modify the texture and baking behavior. It also comes out an odd green color.

  12. Lauren

    Dr Davis,

    I live in New Zealand and am trying to gather as much information about this carbohydrate free living as I can. I love your work and have been receiving many benefits from this website (and your recommendations!). I was wondering about dairy products. In the ‘down and dirty’ diet section, you say unlimited hard cheeses but limited yogurt (plain, unsweetened). I have heard as many bad things about dairy as I have about wheat and many from reliable sources. Additionally, most tell me that if I am going to eat dairy it should be yogurt as the best source. Can you please clarify??? Thank you very much.


    • Obviously, Lauren, my focus is wheat elimination.

      Dairy, I believe, is not perfect and some people, such as lactose intolerance and dairy protein allergic, should avoid altogether. But the rest of us, I believe, can do okay with modest exposure. The most glaring problem with dairy is the insulinotrophic (insulin-triggering) action of the polypeptide(s) in the whey fraction. This likely explains why kids get acne with dairy.

      So my compromise is to go lightly with everything dairy except hard cheeses, whose proteins have been partly modified by the fermentation process.