Cheesecake. Not too many things more indulgent than a big slice of sweetened creamy stuff. Unfortunately, though, the rules of nature state that we cannot live on cheesecake alone. Pity, but that just means we’ll have to get creative to side-step this rule.
In an attempt to “healthify” this tasty snack, I’m ditching the dairy (yep – NO CHEESE!) for a much better alternative that will allow me to happily snack on these daily. Like many dairy-free cheesecake recipes, this one uses cashews as the base. Cashews are a great source of protein for plant eaters, plus they are lower in fat than most nuts (containing mostly unsaturated fat), and things like magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. There are only a few other ingredients in this cheesecake making it super easy to whip up whenever you feel the snacking need. These treats are inspired by the usual deliciousness found over on Minimalist Baker.
Now, unlike many other versions of raw vegan cheesecake, I’m not using coconut oil, but COCOA BUTTER – because, yum. Cocoa butter has a natural chocolate undertone and smells so darn delicious as soon as you pop open the bag. It is also much firmer and is more stable at room temperature than coconut oil, giving us a more consistent end result and a creamy, dense texture similar to the firm cheesecakes I love. Cocoa butter will also help them hold up better in warmer temperatures, since it has a decently high melting point. Now, because cocoa butter is a firmer fat, we don’t need to use as much of it as we would with coconut oil, unless you want a fudgy, firmer bar. If you’d like to alter a recipe you are already using to try some cocoa butter, I’d suggest cutting your fat amount to about 30-50% of the recipe depending on desired firmness. I'm using cocoa butter from Divine Organics, and you should be able to find it at Whole Foods or a health food store.
Stash these raw cheesecakes in the freezer, and thaw up to 30 minutes if desired. Frankly, I quite like the texture of them frozen, (it’s like a cheesecake ice cream bar! What!) and don’t usually have the patience for that waiting thing anyway. I mean, that’s what yeasted recipes are for. J
Side note:: dairy can be a big contributor to acne and uneven complexion probs, so a little diet adjustment might be just the trick you need for clearer skin. There are so many great dairy free recipes around nowadays that it’s pretty easy to whip up snacks where you won’t miss it at all.
So here’s my easy take on no-bake, almost-raw, vegan cheesecake deliciousness. I call them almost-raw because I do like to roast my nuts, (professional habit #sorrynotsorry), especially for the crust so that there is a strong difference in nutty flavors. For this crust, I used one of my favorite nuts for desserts – pecans! I adore the flavor of pecans, so roasted with a little salt does the trick for me.
Blueberry Pecan Vegan Cheesecakes
1 cup chopped, pitted dates, soaked for 30 minutes to hydrate
1 cup pecans, toasted if desired
½ tsp salt
1.5 cups raw cashews, toasted if desired, and soaked overnight or *quick soaked
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup agave or liquid sweetener
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 TB cocoa butter, melted
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
Original inspiration for this recipe found on: http://minimalistbaker.com/7-ingredient-vegan-cheesecakes/
Cashew information found on: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=