Sunday, April 9, 2017

Raw, Vegan Mini Cheesecakes

This just shows how behind I am on blogging. It's now April and I realized I never posted a few recipes I made for Valentines Day that we absolutely loved. I'll be making the dessert again for Easter this year as well as attempting a dairy free scalloped potato recipe. I'll share the dessert recipe today and the meal another day. 


I love finding healthier versions of some of our favorite dishes. We know many who have certain dietary preferences, and we ourselves really have been working towards cutting back on certain things and continuing a healthy eating journey. It's not always easy, but it's always fun. It really is. My oldest daughter, who just started her own simple blog, loves trying new things and eating healthy. Sometimes she'll send me pics of food and say "this sounds good"..lol...meaning, "mom, you should try this". And I do. And then I usually bring it to the coffee shop to share with her and all her workmates.  

I originally found the recipe on Minimalist Baker. A friend of mine had mentioned she made raw cheesecakes and I went on a search. I ended up finding the same recipe she used. I'll post a link to the recipe because she (minimalist baker) is very in-depth and I may not go that route in this post. I thought they would be complicated but they really weren't. They took no time to put together and everyone loved them. Here's the link. I made the 3 flavors she had here and oh, can I just say the homemade caramel sauce was incredible. yah, I could eat it with a spoon.

Let's get on with the recipe. 

Crust:

1 c. packed, pitted dates

1 c. raw walnuts or almonds (I used almonds)

Filling:

1 1/2 c. raw cashews, quick soaked*
1 large lemon juiced, about 1/4 c.
1/3 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. + 2Tbs. full fat coconut milk
1/2 c. maple syrup, honey or agave nectar

Flavor Add-ins:

2 Tbs. salted natural peanut butter
1/4 c. blueberries
3 Tbs. caramel sauce (I made this before doing the filling)

Instructions:

Notes: 

*Dates should be sticky and moist, if they aren't, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes and then drain thoroughly and pat dry.

* To quick soak cashews, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 1 hour. Drain and use as instructed.

1. Place dates in a food processor and process until small bits remain and it forms a ball. Remove and set aside. 

2. Next add the nuts to the processor and create into a meal. Add dates back in and process until a loose dough forms. It should stick together when you press it between your fingers. If it's too dry, add a few more dates, if too wet, add more almond or walnut meal to it. You could also add a pinch of salt to taste.

3. Lightly grease a regular size muffin pan. Now, to make it easy to remove the cheese cakes later, cut thin strips of parchment paper and line the bottom and up the sides making sure it goes above the top. You will be able to lift the cheesecakes out easier later.

4. Scoop a heaping tablespoon amounts of crust filling into bottom of pan and press with fingers, or small glass. I had a wooden tamper that I used to really press down and compress. If it seems to stick, place a piece of parchment between crust and glass. Place in freezer to set.

5. In a blender (I use a Vitamix), combine all filling ingredients and mix until very smooth. For the coconut milk, if it's all mixed together, add it like that, but if it has separated, you can just use the cream at the top which gives it a more "creamy" consistency. If it doesn't seem to be coming together you can add a bit more of any of your liquids.

6. At this point I decided to do 4 of each flavor, so I poured the filling over all but 4 crusts. With the remaining filling, I added the peanut butter and mixed until it was combined. Pour onto the remaining crusts. Take the blueberries, and caramel and swirl into 4 year of the fillings. Tap pan slightly to remove any bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 4-6 hours or until hard.

7. Once set, remove by tugging tabs and using a butter knife. You can make a whipped cream or also use remaining caramel sauce. If you want them slightly softened let sit out for 10 minutes. These will keep in the freezer in a covered container for 1-2 weeks. 


Caramel Sauce: (this makes a lot so I'll probably half it next time)

1 c. sugar + 1/4 c. water
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 Tbs. bourbon (you could use vanilla, or I happened to have leftover kahlua rum from tiramisu, I used that)
pinch of salt, optional

Instructions:

1. Simmer sugar and water over medium heat, swirling pan, NOT stirring for 15 minutes until a deep amber color is achieved. Watch closely so it doesn't burn. 

2. Turn off burner, and remove from heat. Slowly add cream, while stirring.

3. Add a pinch of salt and bourbon (or flavoring of choice), and place back on still warm burner for another minute while stirring.

4. Transfer to a heat safe container or bottle and let cool. Store covered in the refrigerator and bring to room temp to serve or heat in a warm water bath. You could also warm in microwave in 30 sec. increments.


With Joy Unquenchable,


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