Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot Drizzle

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot title

I could not be more excited about today’s recipe! I feel like it’s the perfect segway from autumn into the Christmas season, and on top of that it’s the ideal dish to bring to a potluck or party, it does not require baking (I’m giving you tasty recipes and saving you energy, how ’bout that, huh), and it is so freakin’ delicious. I am almost jumping in my seat as I’m typing this.

I brought these Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars to my friend’s last week, to celebrate decorating her Christmas tree, and it got rave reviews. She didn’t mind that it was vegan because it was so irresistible. (In fact, she usually gobbles up whatever sweets I give her.) All you’ll taste is a delicate blend of Christmas spices, creamy pumpkin and cashew, and that sweet, moreish gingerbread cookie base made from Speculoos biscuits, traditional Belgian delicacies that I grew up eating.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot

I made these Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars with three of my favourite baking products: Sweet Freedom Original and Dark fruit-based syrups, and Choc Shot, made by the same company. Sweet Freedom sweeteners are made from natural ingredients (apple, grape and carob) so they taste like regular sugar but in fact contain 25% fewer calories. If you need to watch your GI/GL intake, this is the perfect sweetener for you.

Sweet Freedom Original tastes a bit like agave or any white-sugar based syrup, but it’s lighter and milder than maple syrup. For me, that makes it the ideal product to use in everyday baking and sweet treats. On the other hand, Sweet Freedom Dark has a more distinctive flavour, almost like treacle (that’s what we call molasses in the UK).

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot

Choc Shot is my sweet chocolate sauce of choice when I can’t be bothered to make my own. You’ll be surprised to know it contains only 14 calories per teaspoon (!!!) but like the Original and Dark sweeteners it is made 100% of natural ingredients. A bottle never lasts longer than a week in my house because I drizzle this over my porridge, my pancakes, I use it to make hot chocolates, or I just eat it straight off the spoon. No shame.

Sweet Freedom products are also free of GMO’s and gluten, and are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot

I used all three products to make these Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars, and the result was way beyond my highest hopes. Creamy, sinlessly sweet, delicately spiced, addictive — in short, the perfect recipe to bring to a Christmas party this year. Both young and old, vegan and omnivores will love these treats and come back begging for more. Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot Drizzle

  • Servings: makes 8 large bars
  • Print

For the crust:
200g (7 oz) Speculoos biscuits
3 tbsp vegan butter

For the filling:
1 425g (15 oz) tin/can of pumpkin puree
2 cups (280g) raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp Sweet Freedom Dark
1 tbsp Sweet Freedom Original
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Choc Shot to drizzle over the finished cheesecake

1. In a food processor, blitz the biscuits to a fine powder. Add the butter and pulse a few more times to combine; the texture should resemble wet sand and start clumping together. Alternatively, you can rub the ground biscuits and butter together in a large bowl, using your fingers.

2. Press the crust mix into the bottom of a  20 x 13 cm ( 8 x 5.5 inches) rectangular tin, making sure it is completely even. Place in the fridge while you get on with the filling.

3. Blend half of the cashews with all of the remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. When the mixture starts to look creamy and evenly blended, add the remaining cashews little by little; adding them all at once along with the other ingredients could stall your blender/food processor, especially since the filling needs to be very thick.

4. When the filling is nice and thick and creamy, pour it over the cheesecake crust. Smooth over the top with a spatula to make it even. Chill in the fridge overnight, or at least a couple of hours in the freezer to set completely.

5. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the cheesecake into 8 evenly-shaped bars. Place these on a plate and drizzle over with Choc Shot. Enjoy!

These bars keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, or for a couple of months in the freezer.

Are you going to any Christmas parties this year? What are you bringing as a dish to share? I’d love to know if you’ve got any tips about hosting or taking part in a mixed vegan and omnivore dinner party!

Psst — there are only 13 days till Christmas! Get my ebook THE VEGAN COOKIE FAIRY’S CHRISTMAS RECIPESon Amazon to have the best vegan Christmas ever. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates and follow me on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Sweet Freedom, who kindly provided me with some of their products, but as always all opinions are my own, and I mean every word I say. 

Love and cookies,
thevegancookiefairysignature-2

 

Chestnut & Caramelised Fig Vegan Cheesecake {Suma Bloggers Network}

Suma-Bloggers-Network-Logo chesnut caramelised cheesecake TITLE September. I used to dislike this month. It used to be synonym for the return to school, another ten months of forced mental labour, another cold season coming, darker, shorter days. figs and coconut collage chesnut caramelised cheesecake 2 Now I relish this month. Maybe it’s because in Scotland, no matter what the season, the landscape retains its beauty. Maybe it’s because I will never have to go back to school, or uni. Maybe it’s because I can start shopping for cosy, woolly jumpers. Maybe it’s because it’s chestnut season again. chesnut caramelised cheesecake 1 Vegan ‘cheesecakes’ (we really need to rename them) are typically made with cashews. I’ve nothing against cashews, except that they are expensive; their creamy texture is ideal for cakes. Butw hat about roasted, peeled chestnuts? They are buttery and soft, perfect for cheesecakes when you think about it. I used ready-peeled by St Dalfour chestnuts for ease; they were so delicious I could hardly stop myself from eating them all straight out of the jars. This was my first time making a vegan cake with a raw buckwheat crust. I processed the buckwheat in my Vitamix into a fine powder, then added pitted, chopped dates. The result was the tastiest raw cake base I’ve ever tried: nutty, sweet and chewy, not to mention nutritious. I’ve written about my love for coconut sugar before on several occasions, so I’ll spare you the speech. If you haven’t tried it for yourself, you really must. Cut up a fresh fig and caramelise it in coconut sugar. Just try it and tell me what you think. chesnut caramelised cheesecake 5 I love September. Summer and autumn come together in a harmonious embrace. Buttery chestnuts and caramelised figs. Woolly jumpers and cheesecake. chesnut caramelised cheesecake 4

Chestnut & Caramelised Figs Vegan Cheesecake

  • Servings: makes a 20cm (8 inch) cake, serves 8-10
  • Print
Crust: 125g (1 heaped cup) Suma raw buckwheat 225g (1 + ½ cups) Suma organic Medjool dates, pitted and chopped Filling: 600g (21 oz) St Dalfour tinned and peeled chestnuts 250ml (1 cup) oat milk (or other non-dairy milk; I used Oatly) 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract 6 Suma dried figs, chopped into small pieces Toppings: 1 fig 1 tbsp Suma coconut sugar

  1. Pulse the raw buckwheat to a coarse powder in your food processor or Vitamix. Add the pitted, chopped dates a little at a time whilst the machine keeps blending. Within a couple of minutes you should have a sticky ‘dough’.
  2. Press this dough into the bottom of a springform tin measuring 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inches). Leave in the fridge to set.
  3. Blend half of the chestnuts, the milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Keeping the blender going, add the remainder of the chestnuts a little at a time. Blend until silky.
  4. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Fold in about two thirds of the chopped dried figs.
  5. Pour the mixture over the cheesecake crust and leave to set in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
  6. Melt the coconut sugar in a pan with just a splash of water (no more than 1 tbsp). When it starts to bubble up and thicken and take on a dark colour colour, add the fig pieces. Caramelise the pieces for a few minutes then remove the pan from the heat. Cool for a few minutes before placing on top of the cake, as well as the remaining pieces of dried fig.
  7. Keeps in the fridge for about 4 days (but the caramelised figs need to be eaten pretty much immediately).

What’s your favourite month, and why? 

Love and cookies, thevegancookiefairysignature-2

Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

(First things first: Happy Independence Day to the US! And happy birthday to my friend Vanessa.)

Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake title
Remember last Friday’s post? Just before it went live my not-so-vegan, can’t-cook-to-save-his-life Cookie Monster emailed me with an idea. ‘Why don’t we make a cake for our anniversary to put it up on your blog?’ This made a few things very clear to me:

1) He really never plans things in advance, does he?
2) And yet, I never give up hope that someday he will.
3) He clearly hasn’t noticed that during my Masters degree I only blog on Fridays.
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But bless him for trying. I actually thought it was a splendid idea. I keep trying to get him into the kitchen, show him a few simple recipes, but every time I end up doing everything myself. Oh well. To each his own talent(s).
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In the end, we settled on making a vegan cheesecake. Baileys cheesecake. When the cake came out rather thin (I could have made it taller but the price of cashews in the UK gives me heart palpitations) he suggested we add a chocolate layer (‘A chocolate ganache layer,’ said I; ‘What the f*** is ganache?!’ quoth he). Then he got this crazy idea to use an apple corer (I’m surprised he knew what that even is) and slice holes in the cheesecake and fill them with chocolate. I might have called him a nutter.
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But the Irish are nothing if not determined, so he bought me an apple corer and under duress made me cut holes out of the cheesecake, fill them with ganache, and cover the whole lot in chocolate.

Well I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the best thing I ever ate.

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In honour of all the things I might have never tried, known or experienced, I made this cake for my Cookie Monster, who never ceases to push me out of my comfort zone. (And who did not lift a finger to help but instead watched the World Cup. Some things never change – but maybe I don’t want them to.)IMG_2195_1

Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

  • Servings: serves 8-10
  • Print

For the base:

250g (8.8 oz) digestive biscuits (graham crackers)
125ml (1/2 cup) coconut oil, melted
60ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed/canola oil (or more coconut oil; I just ran out)

For the cheesecake filling:

310ml (1 + 1/4 cup) Angela Liddon’s recipe for vegan Irish Cream
400g (14 oz) cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
75g (2.8 oz) vegan white chocolate chips

For the chocolate ganache:

250ml (1 cup) coconut cream
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line and grease a round 20cm (8 inch) springform tin.

2. Pulse the digestive biscuits to a coarse sandy texture in a food processor. Tip into a large bowl and with your hands, mix in the oil to form a sticky dough; this is your base. Press it into the bottom of the lined tin, ensuring it is nice and even.

3. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool on a wire rack while you get on with the rest of the cake.

4. Discard the soaking water of the cashews. Blend the cashews, coconut oil and vegan Iris cream until smooth; this will require a high-speed blender, a tamper and some patience. At most it will take ten minutes. Add in the white chocolate chips, either by stirring them in with a spoon or by letting your blender do it at the lowest speed for just a few seconds.

5.Pour the cheesecake filling onto the cooled cake base (the springform tin should obviously still be around the base at this point). Place in the fridge overnight for best results.

6. In the morning when the cake is set solid, use an apple corer to cut out little cylinders from the cheesecake. (Go on and eat them what else will you do with those little creamy towers?) You will pour the chocolate ganache into and over them.

7. To prepare the ganache: melt the coconut cream in a saucepan over medium heat. When the cream is liquid and just about bubbling, remove the pan from the heat and drop the broken chocolate into the cream; let it ooze and melt, then stir with a wooden spoon till evenly blended. Let cool for a few minutes, then pour into the holes in the cheesecake and over the whole cake.

8. Set in the fridge for another couple of hours before carefully releasing the cake from its springform tin and serving with a few shavings of white chocolate on top. (And obviously drink up the remainder of the Irish cream while devouring a slice of cheesecake.)

How do you push your boundaries and get out of your comfort zone?

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Love and cookies,