This week this week this week this week.
Do you ever have weeks like this? Where the only solution after a day of too many long days is to crawl into your onesie, eat pasta, drink tea, and watch criminal minds (thank the universe for Shemar Moore, allll I gotta say)?
Yes, well. These weeks happen. And when these weeks happen, we have a solution!!
But, this time, it's not a more time consuming layer cake, but simple vegan cheesecake bars. A delicious solution created by tossing things in a blender while dancing and singing to Drake and Taylor Swift.
Sure, it takes some time to harden up in the fridge... but during this time you can: sleep, do yoga, go on a run, read a book... do anything that makes you stress free because of this week.
Maple spice vegan cheesecake bars - What you need:
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup of brazil nuts
- 1 cup of walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apples, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes*
- 1/2 cup chopped dried figs, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes*
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
* You can sub in dates for the apples or figs here, as long as you have some sort of "sticky" dried fruit, the base of the cake will come together fine.
(For easier blending, you can soak the nuts for 4 hours before making this crust, but I don't find this step necessary for me.)
For the cheesecake filling:
- 2 cups cashews, soaked overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours
- 1/4 cup nut or dairy-free milk (here I used soy)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, slightly melted
- 1 large banana or 2 medium bananas (it should make about a cup when sliced)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Maple spice vegan cheesecake bars - What you do:
To make the crust, place the nuts, apples, dates, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times to start the pie dough, and then allow the machine to run for a few minutes until the dough comes together.
Press the crust into a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) casserole dish. If you prefer a more "cake-like" version instead of bars, you can use a spring-form cake pan instead. I ran out of parchment paper (AH!!!), but I used a nice layer of coconut oil to coat the dish and the bars popped out fine!
To make the filling, add all of the ingredients to the food processor. Blend until completely creamy. You should scrape down the sides of the food processor occasionally to ensure that all of the mixture is blending well.
Pour the filling on top of the crust. Smooth out the top, and store allow the cake to sit in the freezer (preferably) or fridge (if a freezer isn't an option) for a minimum of 4-6 hours. This is best when allowed to chill overnight or up to 8 hours!
Remove the cake from the freezer. Allow 20 minutes of de-frosting to cut the cake into bars.
Before serving, if storing this cake in the freezer, allow for 15 minutes of de-frosting.
These bars taste like a mixture between some sort of apple crumble with the apple base and cinnamon/nutmeg spices and a maple tart. It's a pretty pretty awesome combination. With the first bite you get that lovely creamy cheesecake feeling paired with the crunchy nut base.