Celebrate Valentine’s Day with these healthy, gluten-free, paleo and vegan dessert bars from Bakerita.
For the crust
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 4 pitted Medjool dates
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the cheesecake
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked in cold filtered water for at least four hours or preferably overnight (see Notes)
- ½ cup canned coconut milk shaken
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted and cooled (use refined coconut oil if you want no coconut flavor)
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- 2 cups organic strawberries halved
- Line an 8×8” pan with parchment paper and grease well with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Add the cashews, almond flour, pitted dates, coconut oil and salt to a food processor or high-powered blender and pulverize until it comes together into a sort of sticky dough, with small bits remaining. Don’t over process, or it’ll turn into nut butter! Press the date dough evenly along the bottom of the prepared pan.
- In the same food processor or high-powered blender (no need to wash between – I used my Vitamix, but most powerful blenders should do the job), combine all of the filling ingredients except the strawberries and blend for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is silky smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides as necessary. You may need to add a bit more coconut milk or lemon juice to get it to blend smoothly if your blender isn’t super high-powered.
- Once it’s smooth, taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness/tartness levels, if desired.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pan over the crust. Smooth out the top and tap the pan hard against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Press the strawberry halves into the bars.
- Place in the freezer to firm up for at least 3 hours before cutting. I recommend running your knife under hot water to warm it up before cutting the bars with the still-hot (dried) knife. Let them thaw at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Store leftovers tightly wrapped in the freezer.
You can also pour boiling/very hot water over the cashews and let them sit for about an hour if you want to speed up the process – it won’t be quite as creamy as soaking for longer, but it will do the trick!