Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Cheesecakes


I've been so busy with holiday chocolate orders (thanks to all of you who have ordered!) that I haven't created any new raw desserts lately, but I thought I'd share some of my favorite Christmas dessert recipes from the past. While I've made these cheesecakes/squares at different times of the year, their flavors are perfect for the holidays. I might also mention that these desserts are so pretty and delicious that no one will know they're raw, vegan, gluten free, and healthy!

Check out the winter wonderland here right now! We had a huuuge dump of snow this weekend. I went for my first snowmobile ride of the season with J today.


Mint and chocolate invoke a holiday feeling so I've also featured my mint chocolate cream squares in this post.


Chocolate Mint Cream Bars

Chocolate Brownie Crust

1 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons water, as needed

Grind the almonds in a food processor.
Add the remaining ingredients and process to combine into a dough.
If the mixture is too crumbly and dry, add a little water.
Press into the bottom of a 9x9" pan. Set aside.

Mint Cream Topping

1/2 cup irish moss gel
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup packed peppermint leaves
1/4 cup liquid sweetener of choice
5-7 drops stevia
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1-3 drops pure peppermint essential oil*
2 teaspoons melted cacao butter

Blend all ingredients until smooth, except the cacao butter. Start with less mint oil and add more, to taste.
Add the butter and blend again to incorporate.
Spread the mixture over the chocolate crust and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before slicing.
Drizzle chocolate sauce or any other garnish you like.

*Irish Moss Gel

3/4 - 1 cup water
2 oz soaked irish moss

1. Rinse a handful of irish moss in cold water until any bits of debris have been removed. Rinse until the water runs clear.
2. Allow the moss to soak in cold water for 6-12 hours.
3. Remove the moss from the soak water - do not rinse.
4. Chop the moss and blend it with the 1 cup water until it warms up and turns into a gel (you may have to scrap the sides of the blender down a few times).
5. Chill the gel in the fridge for 6-7 days, or use immediately. When using in recipes where it's already chilled and firm, make sure to pack it into the cup to get a proper measurement.

*Use a high quality one. Remember, a little goes a long way!

I posted this raw mandarin cheesecake recipe two years ago for Christmas and have made it a few times since then, including my raw food classes in Australia. 




Mandarin Orange Cheesecake on Pecan Ginger Crust with Cranberry Pomegranate Compote, and Candied Pecans

I love the flavor and texture combination of this cheesecake. A creamy smooth citrus cheesecake on a dense gingery crust, paired with tart cranberry and sweet pomegranate, and rounded out with the crunchy candied pecans. It's really light and refreshing. Raw candied pecans found HERE

Pecan Ginger Crust

1 1/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup pitted, packed dates - finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor to create a dough.
Press the dough into the bottom of an 8" or 12" spring form pan.

*grated finely on a microplane

Mandarin Filling

2 1/2 cups mandarin segments
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
6 drops stevia
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon packed orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 drops orange essential oil, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon himalayan salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons melted cacao butter, or coconut butter

Blend all but the oil and butter until completely smooth and creamy.
Add the oil/butter and blend briefly to incorporate.
Pour the filling over the crust.
Chill in the fridge for 8-12 hours.

Cranberry Pomegranate Compote

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup mandarin orange juice (or juice of regular oranges)
2 tablespoons pomegranate powder, optional
4-6 drops stevia
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-2 drops orange essential oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seed
2 tablespoons goji berries

Blend all but the chia and gojis, in a food processor or blender, leaving a little texture, if desired.
Pulse in the chia seed just to mix it in, but avoid breaking it down.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the goji berries.
Chill in the fridge for a few hours. The chia will soak up some of the liquid, causing the compote to thicken.
Spoon over the cheesecake when you are ready to serve it.

These coconut cardamom mini cheesecakes I made for Easter but I think they'd be a nice compliment to any holiday event.

Coconut Cardamom Cheesecake
RAW * VEGAN* GLUTEN FREE

Crust
I made a plain crust that you see here, and I made some of them with a chocolate crust too, which was just almonds, dates, and cacao powder. 

1 cup almonds
2/3 cup raisins
Pinch of salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon water

In a food processor grind the almonds into crumbs. 
Add the raisins and salt. Process until the raisins are completely broken down. 
Add the water starting with 1/2 teaspoon. If the mixture is still too crumbly, add more water. The mixture should hold together when pressed in your hand. 
Press into the bottom of mini silicone muffin cups or bottom of an 8" spring form pan. 

Filling

The mango is just an undertone in the filling - you won't really taste it with the coconut and cardamom, but I had some very ripe mango that needed to be used up and knew the flavor was neutral enough to combine with the other flavors.

1 cup diced mango (I used champagne mango)
2/3 cup cashews
6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons agave
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 3/4 tsp)
4 tablespoons melted coconut butter
7 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Blend all but the butter and oil until smooth and creamy in a high speed blender. 
Add the last two ingredients and blend to combine. 
Pour the filling over crust. Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours or in the freezer at least 5 hours.

Coconut Crunch Topping

This is so yummy and crunchy! It would be a great topping on raw ice cream too!

6 tablespoons shredded coconut
2 teaspoons maple sugar
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons melted coconut butter
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl. 
Set in the fridge or freezer to firm up, 10-20 minutes. 
Break into pieces using a butter knife. 
Sprinkle over the set cheesecake.

If you want a refreshing cake after all the rich flavors that this season brings, try lemon ginger cheesecakes

Lemon Ginger Mini Cheesecakes

Crust:

1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup pitted, packed dates

Grind both ingredients together in a food processor.
Add 1 teaspoon of water if the mixture is too crumbly.
Press the crust into your pans of choice (I used mini silicone muffin cups). Set aside.

Filling:

2 cups cashews
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 teaspoons packed, minced ginger
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Pinch of himalayan salt
6-7 tablespoons melted coconut oil

In a blender, combine all but the oil until completely smooth and creamy.
Add the oil and blend again briefly, to incorporate.
Pour the mixture over the crust.
Chill in the fridge or freezer until firm.

Caramel apple cheesecake RECIPE HERE is very festive too and so gorgeous!

Elvira recently made my Decadent Raw Chocolate Cake. Love the chocolate drizzle!

And Sarah's boyfriend made my raw chocolate mint tart for her birthday (check out her post)! Into a pie and squares.

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