cranberry-cheesecake

Holiday treats are my favourite. It’s an excuse to indulge in desserts that I wouldn’t typically eat during the year. Treats like cheesecake, fudge, pies, mince pies and every kind of chocolate imaginable are readily available whenever your cravings kick in.

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Since I was little, I’ve helped my mom out in the kitchen during any occasion. When I was young I didn’t really help, but I was one hell of a taste tester. Nowadays, I tend to take over and do most of the baking myself – I wouldn’t have it any other way! This year, my sister and I put our heads together to try and find a new dessert for this time of year. We had seen a recipe from Erin Ireland (itstodiefor.ca) that would be perfect. Filled with cranberries and coconut, it’s a new play on the typical festive flavours– plus they’re aesthetically pleasing. A winning situation for a crowd-pleasing dessert come New Year’s Eve. 

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Coconut cranberry cheesecake bars

INGREDIENTS 

Layer one: The Crust
1 ½ cup oats
1 ½ cup coconut flakes
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp Himalayan or sea salt

Layer two: The Cheesecake
1 ½ cup soaked cashews
the hard coconut cream from 1 can coconut cream
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup + 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Himalayan or sea salt

Layer three: The Cranberry Sauce
2 x 227g bags + 1 cup of raw cranberries (this portion doesn’t have to be too specific — just make sure you have enough cranberry sauce for your layer in a 9×9″ baking dish
¼ cup honey
water

Layer four: The Crumble Topping
1 ½ cup oats
¾ cup almond meal
½ cup melted vegan butter (or coconut oil)
⅓ cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
splash almond extract

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winter-cranberry-cheesecake

DIRECTIONS

Layer one: The Crust
1. In a food processor, blend oats into a flour, then add coconut, coconut oil, honey and salt and mix until combined.
2. Line a 9 x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper (and grease any part of the pan that’s still exposed).
3. With hands, press your crust ingredients into a smooth even layer in the base of the pan and place in freezer while you work on the rest.

Layer two: The Cheesecake
1. Blend all cheesecake filling ingredients until silky smooth in a high-powered blender then pour into your baking dish as the second layer. You may have a little excess to nibble on. Return dish to freezer.

Layer three: The Cranberry Sauce
1. Make cranberries according to package instructions (I use maple syrup instead of sugar though — and because of the extra liquid involved, I reduce the water portion a bit). You can’t really go wrong here… if it’s too runny, just continue to cook cranberries until the water reduces. Set aside in fridge to cool.

Layer four: The Crumble Topping
1. In a bowl, combine all topping ingredients. If you don’t have almond meal but do have almonds, you can quickly make your meal by blending almonds in a food processor until they form a flour.
2. With your hands, add topping mixture to your baking dish and press down gently so the oat mixture sticks to the cranberries. Place dish back in freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.
3. When ready, slice and serve.


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