'Tis the season for baking, but today, I'm taking a break from the oven with my no-fuss, no bake Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake Bars. Even better, they come together in under 30 minutes.
December is a busy month for me at work, so when I can come up with something that'll satisfy kids and adults with just the minimum of effort and investment of time, I am all for it. These No Bake Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake Bars combine my three favorite flavors, separately and together: strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate. There truly is something here for everyone. And for me, of course. 🙂
These cheescake bars are soy-free and the "cheesecake" filling is made with cashews and coconut. It's absolutely delicious, and you'll probably want to put it in a cup and eat it all up, but please, try not to. It's even better with the nutty strawberry crust and the chocolate on top.
I used strawberry preserves in the bottom crust, but you can use any flavor you want, really. You can even do away with this layer altogether, if you just want the vanilla-chocolate goodness on its own. Keep in mind that the nuts and preserves in the crust thaw way faster than the top two layers do when you serve it, but I like the gooey warmth of the preserves with the cool cheesecake and chocolate.
Cut the cheesecake bars right after you take the pan out of the freezer and make sure you use a very sharp and heavy knife dipped in hot water to cut the squares-- the chocolate layer is a little hard to penetrate, but once you get going, it cuts rather easily.
Now, the recipe.
No Bake Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews
- ½ cup coconut milk (full fat)
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- ¼ cup maple syrup (or agave nectar)
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts (pulsed in a food processor until grainy)
- ½ cup strawberry preserves
- 1 ½ cups vegan semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon espresso (or other instant coffee powder, optional)
- Soak the cashews in boiling water for 6-8 hours.Drain and place in a blender along with the coconut milk, ¼ cup coconut oil, maple syrup or agave, and pure vanilla extract. Blend into a very smooth paste.Mix the walnuts and the preserves in a bowl.Prepare an 8 X 6 inch baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. Leave enough of an overhang so you can lift the frozen cheesecake out of the pan when it's ready.Spread the strawberry-walnut mixture in an even layer at the bottom of the pan.Now pour the "cheesecake" mixture of cashews and coconut over this and spread in an even layer. Freeze until the chocolate is ready.Place the chocolate chips in a glass or stainless steel bowl and place over a double boiler. Add 2 tablespoon of coconut oil, the espresso powder, if using, and the vanilla extract.Let the chocolate melt, stirring frequently with a rubber or silicone spatula, until you have a smooth, shiny mixture.Pour this on top of the cheesecake layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle some chopped nuts on top, if you like.Wrap with foil or clingwrap and freeze for at least four to six hours.To cut the bars, unfreeze, lift the cheesecake out of the pan by grabbing the overhanging parchment, and slice immediately into squares with a sharp knife dipped in hot water.Let the squares stand about 30 minutes on the counter before serving.
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