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Wicked Vegan PB Cheesecake 1

As I mentioned yesterday, 2015 has not been a big year for Wicked Vegan. I moved to a new apartment in 2014 and there isn’t a ton of space or natural lighting which makes it hard to set up for photographs. Also, my poor lap top is on it’s last leg. I love it to death and it’s been around the world with me but, bless it’s heart, even after wiping the whole thing clean, it took about two hours to do (minimal) editing on those pictures for yesterday’s post. All this does not lend itself to a productive food blog.

Since I haven’t been able to add much to Wicked Vegan, I haven’t been on it too much this year. So I was shocked to discover yesterday while poking around that I had a TON of hits back in October. One day I had over 100 hits and I didn’t even post anything. What the heck?? So I went exploring and discovered that Wicked Vegan was featured in an article on MSN back in October called “50 Vegetarian Recipes That Taste Like There’s Meat“. What?!? That’s so cool! Of course, then I found my article AND ALMOST DIED OF EMBARRASSMENT. Ready for the picture that was shown? Ready? Cause it’s a doozy…

WV CB

*Groans* It’s bad. So bad. I know I’m not the worlds best food photographer but I’m working on improvement! My 12 days of Christmas cookies weren’t that bad. Some of them were pretty darn cute!! Look at those props in my blueberry lemon cookies:

wickedvegan-blueberry-lemon-thumbprint-8

Ok, but photo quality aside, very cool to be featured in an MSN article!

So, sticking with my procrastination policy, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m giving you a new recipe. This may be one of my all time favorite vegan discoveries, though, so I could NOT resist sharing with you. Vegan Cheesecake! More specifically, Peanut Butter Cup Vegan Cheesecake!! Be still my heart.

Wicked Vegan PB Cheesecake 3

No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Ingredients
CRUST
  • 10 ounces crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (such as oreas, which are vegan, surprisingly)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or sub melted vegan butter)
FILLING
  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4-6 hours then drained
  • 1 lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk, such as Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk in a can (see instructions for note)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/3 cup salted natural peanut butter (I used Teddy’s Smooth)
CHOCOLAGE GANACHE SWIRL
  • 3/4 cup semisweet dairy-free chocolate chips (such as EnjoyLife)
  • 3 Tbsp full fat coconut milk, warmed to a simmer
TOPPINGS
  • 18 mini dark chocolate PB Cups (vegan-friendly), chopped (I used Justin’s pb cups)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blitz cookies in a food processor until a fine meal remains. Add 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or vegan butter) and pulse once more.
  2. Cut 12 small strips of parchment paper (or use paper liners) and place them in a standard, 12-slot muffin tin. One at a time, hold down a strip in the center of the tin, add 1 generous spoonful of crust mixture, then use a small cup or your spoon to pack it down as evenly as possible. I like using a small glass because it packs it in really tight and gets the top flat. Continue until all tins are filled and no crust remains. (WICKED VEGAN NOTE: This technique takes a significant amount of time. I made it through 6 before getting annoyed. Cupcake liners work just as well and are a heck of a lot easier.)
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool.
  4. MINIMALIST BAKER NOTE: For the coconut milk, I like to scoop the “cream” off the top because it provides a richer texture. But if yours is already all mixed together, just add it in as is. WICKED VEGAN NOTE: I was unclear whether MB scooped the cream off and used just the cream for this recipe or whether she scooped off the cream, set it aside and just used the liquid. I didn’t think using just the cream would provide enough liquid since my blender is pretty standard. So for this recipe, I scooped the cream off the top and reserved it for later and just used the liquid that was left in the can. It came out delicious. Feel free to do whichever way you prefer.
  5. Add drained cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup and peanut butter to a blender and process until very smooth and creamy – about 3-4 minutes – scraping down sides as needed. You need to make sure you get it really smooth with no small pieces or you’ll taste them in the final result. If your mixture is too thick, add a bit more coconut milk or oil to get it going. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Pour evenly into muffin tins on top of crust and gently tap on counter to remove air bubbles.
  7. Prepare ganache by bringing 3 Tbsp coconut milk (again, I just used the liquid from the can like I did above because I had some leftover) to a simmer in the microwave (30 seconds) or on the stove top in a small saucepan. Place the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl and pour the coconut milk on top. DON’T touch for 3 minutes so it has a chance to warm the chips. Then stir gently until smooth. Microwave or set over a double boiler briefly if the chips didn’t fully melt.
  8. Spoon 1/2 Tbsp amounts of ganache over the cheesecakes and swirl with a toothpick or knife.
  9. Sprinkle 3/4 of the peanut butter cups on top of the cheesecakes and press down slightly.
  10. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm – at least 3 hours.
  11. To serve, remove from freezer and let sit for about 5-10 minutes before trying to remove from the pan. This applies to the strip method mentioned above as well as simply using cupcake liners.
  12. Top with any remaining ganache (reheated), chopped peanut butter cups and/or coconut whipped cream (WV NOTE: which you can make from the coconut cream if you reserved it from the can.)
 This is another recipe I tested on non-vegan/vegetarian eaters and got thumbs up all around. I do have to stress that you want to blend the heck out of those cashews, though. I’ve tried using cashews in creamy recipes like ice cream before and didn’t get the hype. For this recipe, I left my blender on for a solid 4-5 minutes since it isn’t a fancy one is was amazed how smooth it got the mixture.
These would be perfect to whip up tonight and bring to Thanksgiving tomorrow. Keep them in the freezer and take out about 5 minutes before dessert time if you want a cold treat or take them out 10-15 minutes before dessert time if you want them soft. I prefer them more on the frozen/cold side.
Wicked Vegan PB cheesecake 2
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? Honestly, I’m not a big pie fan so Thanksgiving isn’t my favorite holiday for desserts. Christmas cookies are much more up my alley! I’m toying with the idea of doing the 12 Days of Christmas cookies again. What do you think??

 

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