Black and White Cranberry Cherry Cheesecake (vegan, gluten free, no bake)
I told you I would hold out on posting any desserts until after Thanksgiving as I had posted 3 dessert recipes in the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. I really wanted to share this Black and White Cranberry Cherry Cheesecake but I held out, as not only was it another dessert but another dessert with cranberries. This would probably be one of those “sorry not sorry” moments. Really cranberries are so good, healthy, bright and beautiful, and are a perfect seasonal fruit for the holidays! If you aren’t a big cranberry fan don’t worry I paired them with cherries and they make the perfect pretty pair! I just can’t get over the bright beautiful color and how good it tastes.
Holding out might have actually worked in my favor even with a “oh my goodness” moment. I went to make it again and on my goodness I was out of dates! I didn’t have time to run and get any because I was making it for family and I needed to photograph this one. I also wasn’t going to throw out the cashews I already soaked and I didn’t want to make another cake just to photograph for the blog. Who was going to eat yet another cheesecake?! I thought ok I need to get creative. Well ideas weren’t going to come while I was starving so I grab one of my favorite Go Macro Bars and the light bulb in my head went off with that bite. I decided to pulse a few bars together to make my crust, genius! The ingredients are pretty much the same as the crust anyways so why not. Instead of just using Caramel Cashew I decided to play with the flavors already in it and use Cherries & Berries Bars too. It added just the right amount of sweetness and fun and I wasn’t missing the chocolate crust that would have been in its place.
I have to share it now as we are now into December and there are so many holiday parties and if you are hosting one or going to one and need to bring something are probably already planning it out in your head. In past years I would have had our whole Christmas menu planned out. From what we were serving for our large Christmas Eve dinner we host, Christmas morning brunch for our family, my parents who stay with us, and my grandmother (who also stays when she is able but is always here), and what we are bringing to the in-laws if we are going there or serving for ourselves or us and some extended family on Christmas night. That all changed last year with our remodel that had our whole main level torn apart until a week and a half before Christmas. It was such a different year in that I should have been so stressed but I was just in a well if we eat dinner on the floor we eat dinner on the floor mood.
Vegan cheesecakes like this are one of my go to desserts for get togethers or taking to a party as everyone can enjoy them as they are dairy free, gluten free, and vegan so everyone can enjoy them. With the exception of someone with nut allergies which we don’t have any friends or family with. We have many friends and family who are dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, or paleo. Everyone seems to enjoy them, there are still favorites though like my Raw Chocolate Mocha Cake. I thought about making this one more like that but I loved the colors in the layers this would have and would really make the Cranberry Cherry Topping pop! This is something I would serve Christmas night or bring to a family Christmas gathering. Otherwise it’s all about the cookies! Christmas Eve we have a whole spread of cookies my mom and I make, Brandy Alexanders for the adults that my uncle makes, and a dessert my uncle brings that I always loved as a kid my aunt made before she past and he still makes it for me every year. He makes 2 pans, one to put out and one for me that I wouldn’t eat for dessert but for breakfast the day after Christmas.
I had also thought about make this into little bites size cheesecakes in a mini muffin tin but they aren’t something that would be buffet friendly and could sit out unfortunately.
Do you have any must make dishes for the holidays? Traditions? I’m trying to really focus in on the traditions more this year and family. I have some of my grandparents Christmas things that have been past down to me. Growing up my grandparents, especially my grandpa, loved Christmas and it was always such a huge amazing event. My grandmother is in a nursing home now and in past years has stayed with us for Christmas when she is able to even with my husband and dad having to get her up and help her a lot it was still nice to have her here and not in a nursing home. That won’t be the case this year but I will still get her here for Christmas morning. I don’t post a lot but sometimes our weekly visits to my grandmother. We are very close and the girls and I bring her coffee, flowers, and do her nails every other week. I’m not sure if it’s having her Christmas things, her health and mood lately, or something else but I’m feeling a little emotional and wanting to cherish every moment with her and my family.
Black and White Cranberry Cherry Cheesecake
Makes a 8″ round, 16-20 servings
4 Go Macro Bars (2 Cashew Caramel, 2 Cherries & Berries)
1 3/4c raw cashews and or almonds
1/3c cacao powder (used Navitas Naturals Cacoa Powder)
1c Medjool dates, pitted and soaked if dry (about 6 large)
1 TBSP coconut oil, melted
2c raw cashews, cashew pieces (soaked 4 hours or overnight)
1/3c pure maple syrup or agave
1/2c canned full fat coconut milk (So Delicious Original Culinary Coconut Milk)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean or 1 TBSP vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2c fat canned full fat coconut milk, thick cream part, refrigerated overnight (used So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk, Original)*
1/2c pure maple syrup or agave
1/2c cacao powder (Navitas Naturals)
1/4c chocolate chips, melted (Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips)
Cranberry Cherry Topping:
2 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2c pitted frozen cherries
2c fresh whole cranberries
2 TBSP lemon juice
*If using So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk it does not need to be refrigerated ahead of time as there is not watery liquid and can be used at room temp and will actually blend better at room temp.
Start by soaking the cashews 4 hours or overnight and placing the canned coconut milk in the refrigerator the night before (or sooner).
If making the crust with Go Macro Bars just pulse bars to a coarse crumble in a food processor and press into the bottom of your 8″ springform, or removable bottom round pan.
If making the chocolate crust. Place nuts for crust (almonds and/or cashews) into a food processor and pulse until ground. Add dates, cacao powder, and coconut oil to the food processor and pulse until combined. Press mixture into the bottom of a springform cheesecake pan. Place the pan in the freezer while you make the filling.
Make the chocolate mousse layer by blending coconut milk (2 cups of the thick cream part from chilled canned coconut milk if not using the Culinary Coconut Milk), maple syrup, and cacao powder until smooth. Add melted chocolate chips and blend until chocolate is incorporated and smooth. Pour on top of the prepared crust. Tap the pan a couple of times gently to remove any bubbles. Place in the freezer on a level surface.
If your freezer is really cold you can make the next layer right away. Otherwise you can use this time to make the Cranberry Cherry Topping.
For the cheesecake layer rinse and drain the soaked cashews. Place cashew with the maple syrup/agave, and lemon juice into your food processor, or Vitamix, and blend until it starts to get creamy. Add in coconut milk and vanilla blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides as needed. Remove pan from the freezer making sure the top of the chocolate layer is set pour/spread your filling into the pan on top of the chocolate layer. Gently shaking the pan side to side to even out and carefully tap the pan on the counter to get out any possible air bubbles. Place in the freezer on a flat level surface.
To make the Cranberry Cherry Topping combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large sauce pan. Whisk in water and lemon juice. Add cherries and cranberries. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil continue cooking for 2 minutes while stirring constantly to prevent burning. If all of your cranberries start popping reduce your heat it’s too high. Remove from heat and let cool. Place mixture in a jar in the fridge to cool completely and until ready to serve. You can make the topping up to 2 days ahead of time.
Freeze for 2 hours or until ready to enjoy. If storing in the freezer longer remove 35-45 minutes before serving, or an hour or so ahead if you want to put it in the fridge. Cut cake and serve with Cranberry Cherry Sauce over top. Enjoy!
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