Good morning lovelies! I hope your weekend was wonderful. Mine was packed to the gills with friends and family, in other words, perfect. Being busy giving and receiving love is my favorite use of time. 🙂
Yesterday was my family’s annual holiday gathering. We meet in Walnut Creek at my aunt and uncle’s beautiful home overlooking the valley; we feast, we catch up, we exchange gifts. This year was particularly precious because my daughter is the first baby we’ve had around in many years. She is finally old enough to grasp a bit of the magic that is Christmas. We watched her glittering eyes as she marveled at the tree and all of the pretty wrapped boxes underneath it. When she realized some (OK, most) were for her she could barely contain herself. It was so much fun to watch.
After we got our fill of baby cuteness, we moved on to dinner. My contribution to the holiday table was dessert. I planned on making my pumpkin pie cheesecake which was an already proven success but time constraints didn’t allow for a trip to the store. I decided to improvise. I looked in my pantry and fridge and realized I could easily transition to a vegan, raw chocolate cheesecake. My salivary glands began acting up immediately.
Raw Chocolate Cheesecake
Crust (I like thick crust, if you like a thinner crust, you can half this recipe)
- 1 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- *1/4 cup mesquite flour
- *1/4 cup cacao butter
- 2 1/4 cups cashews, soaked for 4 hours
- 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup melted cacao butter (use coconut oil if you prefer)
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup mesquite powder
- 3/4 cup cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- Using a food processor, blend all ingredients together to form a sticky dough
- Place dough in a 9 inch springform pan and press down to form a crust
- Place crust in freezer for 3 hours, give or take
- Once crust is about finished setting, place all filling ingredients in food processor and process for a minute or two, until filling is thick, creamy and smooth.
- Pour filling onto the top of the prepared crust and allow to set in freezer for another 3 hours
- Transfer ‘cheesecake’ to fridge an hour or two before serving to allow to defrost a bit.
*If you leave this dessert out of the fridge for too long before serving, it will start to melt and your cheesecake consistency will be off.
My family is decidedly un-vegan. I wasn’t sure that they were the right crowd to be wowed by my efforts. I was right to be skeptical. When I brought out this beautiful cake after dinner, I told them, ‘This is my chocolate cheesecake.’ At this revelation, most of my family perked up and although stuffed, began to sluggishly shuffle over to me. ‘It’s vegan and completely raw!’ I proudly proclaimed. ‘My aunt quickly whispers to me ‘Don’t tell them that! They might have actually enjoyed it.’ Despite their annoyance at this cheesecake being ‘healthy’ a few people still tried it. My aunt and uncle practically licked their plates clean and my dad actually complimented it. ‘This is really good’ he says between bites. ‘Thanks Dad. As far as desserts go, It’s super good for you too! ‘Yeah yeah, I like it despite that fact.’ he says out of the side of his mouth.
Ah… family. Can’t live with them and although I certainly can and do live without them, I’m super blessed to have them. It’s really pretty cool that a huge group of people with such different interests and personalities can all love each other so much. It’s a great exercise for me in accepting people as they are, as I’m sure they are challenged to do as well, by their crazy hippy sister, niece, daughter, granddaughter. 😉
Sending you all love and healthy chocolately kisses!