You KNOW I can only go so long without posting a dessert 😉
I feel like I say this about every recipe….but I’m REALLY SUPER excited about this one. Maybe because it’s dessert and I have a massive sweet tooth? (We all know this – it’s no secret.)
You’re probably wondering how on EARTH a vegan cheesecake is created. I mean, how does one go about making a cheesecake without the main ingredient – cheese? The answer is, in short –> sweet, delicious, creamy, raw cashews.
Don’t leave. I promise the end result isn’t cashew-y. Here’s what goes down.
For a long time, the plant-based & dairy-free communities have been using soaked, raw cashews to create a creamy base for everything from soups to sauces to faux-cheesecakes. When cashews are soaked in water, they become so soft and blend effortlessly. It’s amazing! Raw cashews also have quite a different flavor from the roasted and salted variety that most of us have grown accustomed to. Raw cashews are sweeter and much more mild. Admittedly, I was hesitant to try my first cashew cheesecake for fear that it would be completely disgusting, but my FRIENDS! Disgusting, it is not.
This cheesecake has the most luscious, creamy texture and the flavor actually tastes more like coconut than anything because there’s a little bit of coconut milk and coconut oil in the batter. There’s fresh lemon juice for tang, vanilla for….vanilla-ness, and mini chocolate chips because hello, chocolate chip cheesecake! The crust is probably my favorite part – just two ingredients!! – Simple Mills almond flour chocolate chip cookies (remember them from this post??) + coconut oil. Ughhhhhh. Perfection. If you can’t get your hands on these ridiculously delicious cookies, graham crackers would also work!
And we can’t forget that vegan chocolate drizz action – just chocolate chips & coconut milk! Swoon.
I hope you get a chance to give these bars a try – they are SO unbelievably delicious, and I love that they’re stored in the freezer, thereby enabling me to have one as a treat whenever I want!
This recipe was inspired by Minimalist Baker.
- For the filling:
- 2 c raw cashews
- ½ c full-fat coconut milk, from a can (I prefer Whole Foods' 365 brand)
- 2 T fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ c pure maple syrup
- ¼ c melted coconut oil
- ¼ c mini chocolate chips (I prefer Enjoy Life Foods brand)
- For the crust:
- 1 package (5.5 oz, 156 grams) Simple Mills Ready-to-Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies (can be substituted with an equivalent amount of graham crackers)
- 3 T melted coconut oil
- For the chocolate drizzle:
- ½ c mini chocolate chips
- ¼ c full-fat coconut milk, from a can
- Place cashews in a large bowl and fill with filtered water until all the cashews are covered. Let soak for 4 hours or overnight. Do NOT try to rush this process. Strain the cashews and rinse.
- Place cashews, coconut milk, lemon juice, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut oil in a high-powered blender and blend until very smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse the cookies or graham crackers until you have a mixture of rough and fine crumbs and then add in the coconut oil. Pulse again a few times to combine.
- Using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup, press the crust into the bottom of an 8x8 pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper (I find plastic wrap to be a little easier to work with.) Spread filling on top of the crust.
- Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
- To prepare the chocolate drizzle, heat coconut milk in a saucepan over the stove on low heat until it reaches a simmer. Pour in the chocolate chips and let sit for 30-60 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the bars. Place back in the freezer to set, or serve as is.
- Let sit at room temperature to thaw a bit before serving. Keep leftovers in the freezer.