If you're looking for a festive dessert that's equally tasty as it is gorgeous, look no further!
I absolutely love making homemade "cheesecake" bars, as they require no baking and can be amped up with any flavors you love. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I decides to use fresh strawberries for flavor and cuteness in these babies.
To make the simple, gluten-free crust, you'll just blend almonds and cashews with coconut, dates, and a pinch of salt. Press this into the bottom of a parchment-lined baking tin, and that's it.
The cheesecake layer is just about as easy, you'll be shocked. The only piece you'll need to think about ahead of time is soaking your cashew to soften them. If you're like me and tend to forget this step, you can also cover them in boiling water for about 10 minutes and get a similar result.
Combine these in your blender or food processor with coconut cream (NOT coconut milk), lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla cinnamon and salt. The result is luscious, creamy, and totally dairy free, so everyone can enjoy!
Top with fresh strawberries so you get a burst of flavor in every bite - plus, they make these adorable for the holiday.
Allow these bars to set up in the freezer before slicing and serving to your loved ones. Let me know if these make it into your Valentine's plans!
Yields 9 bars
For the crust:
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup pitted dates
- ½ cup unsweetened, desiccated coconut
- pinch of salt
For the cheesecake layer:
- ½ cup coconut cream (small 5.4 oz can)
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours and drained
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- juice of one, large lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups of strawberries, sliced in half
1. Add all of the crust ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse until well-combined.
Press into an 8x8 (or similar) baking pan lined with parchment paper, using your fingers to make an even layer.
2. To your high speed blender or food processor, add drained cashews, coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until well-combined and creamy.
3. Pour on top of crust, using a spatula to smooth into an even layer.
4. Arrange the strawberry halves in the top of the cheesecake layer.
5. Place in the freezer for several hours before cutting into 9 squares and serving. I recommend allowing the bars to thaw for at least 5 minutes before serving. Store extras in the freezer. Enjoy!
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