These rich, delicious keto apple caramel cheesecake cups are served up in shot glasses. Serve them as part of a dessert buffet or as the perfect way to end a fall dinner party.
Is there anything more perfect for a fall dessert than caramel apples?
Okay, maybe something with pumpkin.
But caramel and apples is one of my favorite combinations!
As soon as I made these Salted Caramel Cheesecake desserts, I knew they would be amazing with some apple added in.
I made a few tweaks to the cheesecake base to reduce the fat just a little bit.
But don’t worry, these miniature cheesecake parfaits are still wonderfully decadent!
The recipe below uses low carb sweeteners so these desserts only have 5 net carbs each.
Don’t worry if you still eat sugar, though, I’ve included how to make this recipe with sugar in the notes of the printable recipe at the end of this post.
I love that miniature desserts like these help me with portion control.
These keto cheesecake shooters are so rich, that a little bit goes a long way!
So even on days that I may want a bigger serving, I’ll stick to just the one.
They also look kind of fancy so you can serve them to company for dessert.
Everyone will think you spent hours!
But they’re actually very simple to make.
Miniature desserts like these are also fun to serve as part of a dessert buffet.
Then your guests get to try a variety of sweet treats.
- Can You Have Apples and Stay Keto?
- What Are Keto Alternatives for Apples?
- How to Make Caramelized Apples
- The Best Way to Make Keto Caramel Sauce
- How to Perfectly Toast Nuts
- How to Easily Fill Shot Glasses with Dessert Fillings
- How to Assemble Individual Dessert Parfaits in a Shot Glass
- Ideas for Garnishing These No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits
- Can You Make This Keto Caramel Cheesecake Dessert Ahead?
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Can You Have Apples and Stay Keto?
Can you have apples on a keto diet?
The short answer is generally no.
Even a small apple has 20 grams of carbs, and they’re likely to throw you out of ketosis.
This recipe divides a small apple into eight servings.
That means each serving only has 2.5 carbs from the apple.
If you are prone to blood sugar spikes, you can omit the apples and use one of the substitutes below.
Be sure to dice the apples into tiny chunks, about 1/4-inch cubes, so you can easily divide them into two layers in the small glasses.
What Are Keto Alternatives for Apples?
You have a couple of options if you choose to omit the apples from this recipe.
- Use zucchini, yellow squash, or chayote squash instead of the apples. These have a similar texture to apples when cooked. Be sure to only use the fleshy part of the squash and omit the part with the seeds. Add 1 teaspoon of apple extract to the mixture for flavor.
- Skip the apple layer, and add 1 tsp of apple extract to the cheesecake layer.
How to Make Caramelized Apples
Whether you use apple, zucchini, yellow squash, or chayote squash, the method is the same.
Add all the ingredients for the filling to a heavy saucepan and simmer until the apples (or squash) are fork tender.
Continue simmering until the liquid evaporates and the sauce becomes more like caramel.
It’s important to use the right low carb sweetener for the apples!
Allulose is the best option because it won’t crystallize.
If you aren’t counting carbs, you can use an equal amount of granulated sugar.
The Best Way to Make Keto Caramel Sauce
Caramel is one of those things that was challenging to make keto-friendly and have the right texture.
Most low-carb sweeteners tend to crystallize when they cool.
This is the first keto-friendly sweetener I’ve found that stays silky and creamy, even after it’s cooled!
There are a few tricks to making a perfect sugar-free caramel sauce.
First, always use a pan with a thick bottom like a stainless steel saucepan with a thick bottom, or a heavy duty nonstick skillet.
If the pan is too thin, the sauce may end up burning before it thickens.
Start by melting the butter, then add the allulose.
And get your whisk ready…
Whisk continuously until the allulose is completely incorporated and the edges begin to simmer.
This is not one of those recipes where you can stop whisking while the pan is over the heat!
Don’t worry, it only takes about 2 minutes.
Once the sauce is completely smooth and simmering, you can take a little break from the whisking if you want to.
Let the low carb caramel sauce simmer, whisking every 15-30 seconds until it turns a light golden brown.
Be sure to watch it carefully because if it turns too brown then it’s burnt and you’ll have to start all over.
And clean up a smelly mess from your pan.
Seriously, do not step away because it browns to the right point very quickly!
Personally, I like to just keep stirring until it turns this shade of brown.
Keep the sauce over the heat and add the whipping cream while whisking.
It’s going to bubble up a lot.
Just keep on whisking for approximately 30-60 seconds until the bubbling slows down.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
Then let the sauce cool while you assemble the cheesecake mixture.
The sauce will get thicker as it cools.
You can also make the sauce ahead and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.
How to Perfectly Toast Nuts
Toasting the pecans adds so much flavor to them!
Or rather, it intensifies their flavor.
Since our portions are small, getting the most flavor possible really makes a difference.
Add 1 teaspoon of butter to a saute pan along with the finely chopped pecans and cinnamon.
Heat the nuts over medium heat, stirring every few minutes.
You can easily do this while you’re making the caramel sauce or the apple filling.
While you want to keep an eye on them, they aren’t as finicky as the caramel sauce!
Just give them a stir and when they start smelling good, you’re about done.
Don’t toast them for too much longer after they become arromatic or they may burn.
How to Easily Fill Shot Glasses with Dessert Fillings
The trick to getting the cheesecake mixture into the shot glasses without making a mess is to use a pastry bag or plastic zip-close bag.
You can use a decorative pastry tip if you want, but it’s not necessary.
If you’re using a zip-close plastic bag, cut one of the bottom corners off, being careful to not make the hole too big.
About 1/4-1/2-inch off the corner is just right.
If you want to make the layers in advance before assembling the apple caramel cheesecake parfaits, wait to cut the corner of the bag.
Then you can store the filling in the refrigerator inside the bag
Now here’s my trick for filling the bag!
Place the bag inside of a tall glass or mixing bowl and turn the opening of the bag inside-out over the top edge.
This keeps the bag open so you can spoon the cheesecake filling into the bag without making a mess.
Then simply seal the top of the bag once you’ve added all the filling and you’re ready to go!
How to Assemble Individual Dessert Parfaits in a Shot Glass
Once you have the keto apple caramel cheesecake filling in the bag, it’s super easy to put this dessert together.
Get the rest of the layers together: toasted chopped pecans, keto apple pie filling, and keto caramel sauce.
I like to use actual measuring spoons to get the same amount of each layer into each glass.
Start with 1 teaspoon of the chopped toasted pecans.
Next, pipe in the caramel cheesecake filling.
I usually make the first layer of cheesecake about 1/3 of the glass.
Tap the glass or use a small spoon to smoosh the filling down.
Drizzle a scant teaspoon of caramel sauce into the glass.
Now add the sugar-free apple pie filling, and then another teaspoon of the chopped pecans.
Top with a second layer of the cheesecake filling.
Divide the remaining cheesecake as evenly as possible between the 8 glasses.
Don’t worry if they look kind of full!
Tap the glasses to help everything settle and add 1/2 teaspoon of the pecans.
Then drizzle another teaspoon of caramel sauce and divide the remaining apples over top.
Ideas for Garnishing These No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits
I like to keep the garnish pretty simple, but there are lots of delicious ways to top a caramel apple cheesecake parfait.
Just be sure to wait to add your garnish until you’re ready to serve them.
You’ll likely have about three teaspoons of chopped pecans left after assembling the mini parfait cups. These are great as a garnish because they’ll stay crunchy on top.
Some other garnishes to try:
- thin slices of apple
- shaved chocolate
- crushed sugar free toffee
- sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, or apple pie spice
- tiny mint leaf
- whipped cream
Can You Make This Keto Caramel Cheesecake Dessert Ahead?
The caramel sauce can be made a week or two beforehand and stored in the fridge.
The cheesecake base can also be made as much as a week in advance and refrigerated, but it may need to be stirred prior to use.
You can even assemble these miniature desserts 3 days ahead!
The pecan layers will get a little soft and loose their crunch, but the flavor is still incredible.
Always wait to add your garnish until right before serving.
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