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vegan cheesecake bars

Orange Cranberry Vegan Cheesecake Bars

  • Author: Kate Kasbee
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Description

These Orange Cranberry Vegan Cheesecake Bars are so decadent, yet I’m confident I could eat half the pan in one sitting. They’re baked, not frozen, making them perfect for winter holiday parties.


Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs (read box to make sure they’re vegan)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

For the cheesecake:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked at least 6 hours
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (plus more to taste)
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt (plus more to taste)

For the orange cranberry sauce:

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, juice and zest (1/4 cup juice, 1 tsp. zest)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Instructions

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and line an 8”x8” square pan (or an 8-inch round pan if you want to make a traditional cheesecake) with a piece of parchment paper. Cut the parchment paper a few inches larger than the pan so it goes up the sides.
  2. Combine the graham cracker and sea salt in a food processor. Process until the consistency is very fine. Continue to process as you slowly drizzle the melted coconut oil through the top. The crust should stick together when you pinch it between your fingers. If it’s too dry, add a touch more coconut oil.
  3. Transfer the graham cracker mixture to the prepared pan and use your fingers to press down firmly and evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the top of the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling.

To make the cheesecake filling:

  1. Wipe out the bowl of your food processor. Then add the cashews, coconut cream, chickpeas, cornstarch, vanilla extract, maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, and sea salt and process until silky smooth. Add a touch more lemon juice or another pinch of salt to brighten the flavor, if needed. If you like a sweeter cheesecake, add a bit more maple syrup.
  2. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the graham cracker crust and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Bake the cheesecake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edges look dry and firm and the center is no longer liquid-y.
  3. When the cheesecake is done, allow it to cool completely in the pan. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours, or overnight.

To make the orange cranberry sauce:

  1. Combine the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, water, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a saucepan and heat over medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the cranberries begin to pop. Remove from heat.
  2. Use a ladle to remove ½ cup of the hot liquid from the cranberries and transfer it to a small bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch.
  3. Wipe the bowl of your food processor clean again. Then, transfer the cranberries to your food processor and pulse a few times, just enough to break up any large chunks. Pour the cranberry sauce back into the saucepan along with the liquid/cornstarch.
  4. Return the saucepan to medium heat and stir for a few minutes, until the cranberry sauce has thickened. Remove from heat. Allow the cranberry sauce to cool to room temperature and transfer to a Tupperware to refrigerate.

To serve:

  1. Lift the cheesecake out of the pan by pinching the sides of the parchment paper and pulling up. Warm the orange cranberry sauce in the microwave for a minute or so, then use a spoon to gently spread it on top of the cheesecake.
  2. If you used a square pan, slice the cheesecake lengthwise into 2-inch bars (you should have 4 total). Then, cut those slices into thirds to create 12 evenly sized bars. If you used a round pan, slice into wedges.

Notes

Save the leftover cranberry sauce to spoon over pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal.