A lot of people maintain this belief that when you take certain aspects away from a dish and add labels like "gluten-free" or "vegan," that it somehow strips the taste as well. This is a myth! The combination of cashews and coconut milk create this insane creamy texture, and the raw crust is both chewy and crunchy, with a nice subtle sweetness from the dates. But most importantly, it is made out of all real, whole ingredients that you can feel good about eating.
Technique tips: Instead of soaking cashews overnight to soften, you can "flash soak" them to save time, by soaking them in boiling water for 1 hour.
You can serve these cheesecake bars straight out of the freezer, or allow them to thaw for 10 minutes before serving if you would prefer a softer cheesecake. Store in the freezer for up to a month.
Date and almond crust
- 1 cup medjool dates
- 3/4 cup raw almonds
- 1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups raw cashews, soaked
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Sliced almonds
- Maldon salt (or any fancy flaked salt)
For the crust:
1. Line an 8- by 8-inch pan with parchment paper, ensuring that some of the paper folds over the edges of the pan (this will allow you to remove the cheesecake easily by pulling it up using the parchment paper after it has been frozen). Set prepared pan aside.
2. Add the dates, almonds, coconut oil, vanilla and almond butter to a food processor and process until it is mostly pulverized and only small pieces remain. The mixture should be a sticky, loose dough.
3. Press the crust into the prepared pan and pat it down with your fingers until it is completely uniform and distributed throughout the pan. It should be very firmly packed.
For the filling:
Drain the soaked cashews and add them to a high speed blender along with the maple syrup, full-fat coconut milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice, melted and cooled coconut oil and salt. Blend thoroughly until it is completely smooth and creamy.
Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust in your pan. Settle the filling by tapping the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and ensure that everything is uniform and smooth.
For the topping:
Top cheesecake with sliced almonds, a pinch of maldon salt and a dash of cinnamon. Freeze for 5-6 hours until completely firm.
When it is done, lift the cheesecake up from the pan by using the parchment paper. Slice into bars and enjoy!