Today I am sharing with you a recipe that I recently came up with for a paleo, vegan, no-bake cranberry cheesecake. This gluten-free (and no refined sugars) recipe features my homemade cranberry sauce as the star of the show. I just recently posted the recipe for my paleo cranberry sauce on my blog and I used those cranberries to come up with this holiday dessert. This faux cheesecake is not only scrumptious and delicious but you can enjoy this cheesecake without all of the guilt! If you like a dessert that is a bit on the tart side then this cheesecake might just be for you.
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS CONCLUDED. Thank you all for your participation. More giveaways soon!
I would love to wish all of my readers happy holidays and a huge thank you to all who take a moment out of their day to read my blog. I just recently hit the 6-month mark of blogging so YIPPEE and HOORAY! As a thank you I would love to gift one person ten pieces of gluten-free, organic chocolate from a wide variety of different brands. I am hosting this chocolate giveaway as a thank you to my loyal readers that have followed along on my blogging journey.
Here is a look at my dinner plate from Thanksgiving! I have a little bit of everything on my plate: roasted turkey, redskin mashed potatoes with French butter, Brussels sprouts, wild rice stuffing with mushrooms and cranberries, White Castle stuffing, Clean Bean (green bean) Casserole, ambrosia, sweet potato casserole, and my favorite~ Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce! I am hoping to do a recipe post soon for my famous cranberry sauce. I can turn any cranberry-sauce-hater into a lover! So far it has worked with two haters in my family.
Today I will be discussing Thanksgiving and how we pulled it off. I could not have possibly made this day possible without the help and support of my family. My mom, Kathie, was a huge help. She purchased the turkey and a great majority of the food that was served. Money is super tight right now with my family so I was very grateful that she pitched in (big time) to help me create this feast.
My mom bought the 19-pound turkey and an electric roaster to cook the turkey in. I spotted the roaster when we took a trip over the Costco and I thought it would be a great idea to cook the turkey in there so we could free up the oven space for the side dishes that needed to be warmed up. Turned out to be the best idea ever!
My stepmom, Evelyn, was also a huge help. She came over early on Thanksgiving to help my mom and I prep. Evelyn brought over an appetizer and a side dish to pass as well. The appetizer that she brought was unique. They were bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, they were delicious. These got gobbled up pretty quick. For a side dish, she brought her famous sweet potato casserole. My stepmom was incredibly helpful with the kitchen clean up as well. That helped me tremendously.
Prepping for the Thanksgiving holiday
Paleo & Vegan (Gluten-Free) Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
The day before Thanksgiving, I did what I could to prep for the big day. The first thing that I did was I created my Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. This is my favorite fall dessert at the moment. I wanted to get that done early because the cheesecake needs to set for at least six hours. I gave it plenty of time to set by creating it the morning before the holiday. I have a recipe for this paleo/vegan cheesecake on my blog. I did modify the recipe just a tad bit. Obviously, I did something different for the topping. Instead of creating a whipped cream with coconut cream I topped this cheesecake with a ton of walnuts and pecans. I wanted to make it extra nutty. I purchased a can of non-dairy, almond milk whipped cream to top it with. Instead of using the spices individually I used a jar of pumpkin pie spice.
Paleo cranberry sauce
I also busted out my slow-cooker the day before Thanksgiving to make my paleo cranberry sauce in advance. This is one of those set-it-and-forget-it recipes. I love cranberry sauce and my cranberries have the power to turn cranberry sauce haters into lovers! My husband never eats cranberry sauce. Guess what? This year he did! And I know that he enjoyed it because he helped himself to some for his leftover plate. This cranberry sauce is simple to make. I call it my Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce! There are many ingredients that go into it but it is very easy to create. There are no refined sugars in this cranberry sauce. I use an entire bottle of pure maple syrup to sweeten it. I also use fresh-squeezed orange juice, orange zest, two ambrosia apples, walnuts, and pecans to create the sauce. The apples are a nice, welcome addition and the nuts give it a great texture. The sauce is heavily seasoned with pumpkin pie spice. I picked up a bottle of the Spice Hunter’s Pumpkin Pie Spice at Nino Salvaggio’s in St Clair Shores. This pumpkin pie spice seemed like a wonderful blend of spices. It worked out well in my Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake too, so the funds I spent on it was a great investment.
Ingredients Cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, star anise, fennel, black pepper
You can pick up a bottle of this awesome pumpkin spice seasoning on Amazon. I highly recommend using this Spice Hunter blend for all of your fall flavored foods.
It all starts with a chocolate crust for this dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake
The base of this vegan dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake is going to be a chocolate crust made mostly with pitted dates, cacao powder, ground up almonds. There are a few other ingredients in the crust that you will need. This recipe calls specifically for cacao powder, not cocoa powder. There is a notable difference between the two. I did do a little write-up about the benefits of cacao powder awhile ago on my blog. Chocolate in its purest state (cacao) actually has numerous health benefits. The darker the chocolate, the better health-wise!
I use the cacao powder by LivFit. A one-pound bag goes for around $8.00 on Amazon and this bag will last a long time and come in handy for many other recipes. I have been using this bag of cacao powder for months now and still have a decent amount left. A little bit of cacao powder goes a long way!
To make the chocolate crust you will also need some raw unsalted almonds. These almonds do not get completely ground up in my food processor and the almonds give the vegan dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake a great texture.
The chocolate crust of this vegan and paleo dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake will also need some pitted dates. The pitted dates will not only sweeten your crust naturally but will also help keep all of the ingredients together (dates are very sticky). I suggest soaking your dates in some hot water for a few minutes and chopping them up before proceeding with putting them in the food processor.
The raspberry filling… the heart of the cheesecake
The main component of the filling of this vegan dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake is actually raw cashews! Say what?!?!? Yes, I said cashews and you heard me properly. You will be using an entire pound of raw cashews for the filling that are soaked overnight to soften them up. You can get away with using more affordable, lightly-salted cashews but please steer clear of the regular salted ones or you will make an ugly face when you take the first bite of your salty (ugh) cheesecake! This is a sweet cheesecake so please do avoid making it a salty one or else you will be sorely disappointed.
Obviously, you will be using a bunch of raspberries as well. I actually went with a bag of Kroger’s Simple Truth Organic Raspberries for the filling and it turned out to be a great choice. So, I used frozen raspberries for the filling and I used a pint of fresh for the topping. I don’t know about you, but I sure go crazy for anything that is dark chocolate raspberry. To me, those two ingredients when married together, result in a match made in heaven. I feel pure bliss and I feel like I am on Cloud 9 while consuming this combination.
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Thick chocolate ganache to top it all off
For the topping of this vegan dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake, I used my favorite brand of dark chocolate chips from Enjoy Life Foods. Not only are their dark chocolate chips vegan-friendly but they are also free from several common food allergens. I always play it safe and use this brand in my recipes and their chocolate chips are a family fave. My daughter and I are actually known to just snack on them straight out of the bag, they are that great!
The ganache turned out pretty thick from using one cup of chips combined and melted down with a tablespoon of coconut oil. I used an 8-inch springform pan for the cheesecake and I believe you can cut down and use 3/4 of a cup for a thinner chocolate shell. That is just my presumption and guess though. You can always try that and add more if needed.
Ahhhh fall! It is definitely feeling like fall over here in Michigan and I have the perfect Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake to make your heart and soul happy. Attention all pumpkin spice lovers... you will love the paleo and vegan cheesecake that I created. I honestly do love and prefer this over your average pumpkin pie. This cheesecake is chockful of healthy ingredients and does not contain any added sugars. In this recipe, you will be using almonds and cashews. Believe it or not, this method works to make a dairy-free cheesecake. That little bit of lemon juice that you add will magically transform these ingredients into cheesecake heaven!
I would like to start up a new regular feature on the blog featuring items that I have used and fallen in love with. I will be calling this the Healthy Hot List. These are all items that I have given a whirl and want to spread the word about. Many of these items fall within the realms of several different diets: gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, Whole 30, keto, and vegan. Whenever I try out a new product and I become a fan I do my best to promote these items and spread the word about them. I would love my good words for these brands to travel far and wide because they earned it with their quality food products.
Let it be known that making these cheesecakes are one of my favorite things to do in the Give It A Whirl Girl kitchen. These desserts are rich, flavorful, and actually quite nutritious. They are a much better alternative to regular cheesecake. The basic ingredients in these are fruit (medjool dates) and a variety of different nuts (mostly cashews). I am not going to lie, sometimes I even sneak in a slice for a filling breakfast.
This dessert is unique in its flavor. If you are a fan of matcha (green tea) this recipe might just be perfect for you. I love everything about this particular one: the crust, the filling, and the chocolate ganache on top. It all marries together harmoniously to make one hell of an awesome vegan cheesecake.
My husband is off work Fridays and Saturdays. We did not have any plans for those two days so we just had a chill time at home. I needed something to pass the time so I resorted to cooking. What better way to spend the time! I started off Saturday with some multigrain pancakes for Joe and Chloe. I got started on dessert, a paleo & vegan cookie dough cheesecake, early because those cheesecakes take a few hours to set. And dinner was simple~ ribeye steaks marinated in Primal Kitchen Sesame Ginger and peppered bacon wrapped in asparagus. It was a delightful day of cooking from start to finish.
On the weekends I love to have my biggest cooking days. There is always a day thrown in there where we go out to a restaurant but most of my bigger dinners are reserved for weekends. Sunday kicked off with some healthy dessert making in the kitchen. I had a craving for something white chocolate & raspberry so I made a paleo cheesecake. I absolutely love making any kind of dessert but for me, paleo is my favorite kind to whip up because it is a fairly new concept for me. I am trying my best to get a grasp on paleo and gluten-free baking & cooking. Every day is a learning experience in the kitchen. Today I am going to talk about my experience and my process of making the cheesecake that I created yesterday.