Sunday, April 5, 2015

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites Dairy-Free Gluten-free Vegan Organic Healthy

I love cheesecake, and one of my favorite treats to get when I am out grocery shopping is the chocolate covered cheesecake bites from the Whole Foods bakery section. They look like little chocolate teardrops filled with cheesecake-y goodness. However, for the past several weeks they have not had them, so suffering from cheesecake withdraws I decided to make some myself.
I made 2 versions, one that uses dairy (cream cheese, sour cream) and this version that I am posting about today which is dairy free and vegan.
My focus was on having these be relatively easy to whip up and also solid, I didn't want them to melt into a puddle of goo the moment I took them out of the freezer. The result was approved by adults and children alike.
Here's how you do it:
First you will need about 1 cup (it looks like I have more than one cup due to the angle of the pic, but I don't) of cacao butter. If you don't have any feel free to use coconut butter or even coconut oil, just beware they will be a bit softer than intended especially if you use coconut oil, and may melt at room temperature.
Stick the cacao butter in a toaster over at low temp to melt, and while it is melting do the next steps.

Get a magic bullet, nutri bullet, or some sort of blender and add into it the following:
3/4 cup of coconut milk, I use the one pictured below from Trader Joe's because it doesn't have any thickeners or added ingredients.

1 cup of Cashew Butter (you can make your own, or just buy the premade kind, just be careful some have added salt which will make your cheesecake bites taste salty)
Juice of one lemon
 1/4 teaspoon of Vanilla (you can add more, but for some reason lately I've been having bad luck with vanilla making my desserts taste bitter. It has alcohol, which cooks out when you bake, but since this is not baked adding too much will give it the bitter alcohol flavor)
 At this point your cacao butter has melted to add that in, and blend everything together.  

Next, add a sweetener of choice. I prefer raw organic honey since it is the least processed. 
For a vegan option you can use maple syrup or coconut sugar.
This is something you will want to add to taste, start with a few tablespoons, like 3-4, then blend and taste. Add more if desired.
Sorry I forgot to take a pic, but now you have two options.
1.) For a smoother texture do nothing. 
2.) For a texture that is not quite as smooth and something I feel is closer to resembling a real homemade cheesecake texture add 1/4 cup coconut flour. This will also thicken your mixture, especially if you used coconut oil instead of cacao butter, this will help make it thicker and firmer.

Now put your blended mixture into the fridge for a bit, just so it is not super liquidy. You may not need to do this, but you just want it to be thick enough to hold its shape and not melt into a puddle.
Now you have a couple of options yet again.
1.) the quicker and easier option is to pour the cheesecake batter into muffin cups
2.) the "prettier" option is to put the batter into a big ziplock bag, cut off a corner and squeeze out little "bites" onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

Stick the bites into the freezer for a little bit so they get nice and firm for this next step.
While they are in there melt some chocolate, I prefer this kind from Trader Joe's because it is organic(many non organic chocolates are GMO, and also it has minimal ingredients and not too much sugar)
Now it is time to put the final product together.
If you want to get all fancy you can stick a toothpick into the bites and dip them in chocolate, it will look like this
Or if you want to make things quicker and easier, you can pour the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag, cut a tiny hole(if it is too big it will pour out too fast) in the corner and drizzle the cheesecakes bites with melted chocolate.

I got two cookie sheets full of bites out of this recipe, and since I used the drizzle method with the chocolate I ended up needing 2 of the chocolate bars to cover all the bites.

Here is a summary of the ingredients:
1 cup cacao butter (or coconut butter or coconut oil, although it will make the bites softer and you may need to keep them frozen)
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup cashew butter
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
sweetener of choice (raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.) about 3-4 Tablespoons to taste
1/4 cup coconut flour(leave out if you want a smoother texture, but it will help thicken the batter especially if you used coconut oil, and personally I like the texture it gives)\
Melt the butter/oil, meanwhile combining all the other ingredients in a magic bullet or blender. Add the melted butter and blend.
Option 1: pour into muffin cups
Option 2: put in the fridge until it is no longer super liquidy and will hold its shape, add batter into a large ziplock bag, cut off corner and squeeze out bites into a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Put in freezer so they can firm up, meanwhile melting about 2 bars of chocolate.
Now, either:
1.) use toothpick to dip the bites into the melted chocolate
2.) pour the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag, cut a tiny opening in the corner, and drizzle the melted chocolate over the cheesecake bites or over the muffin cup if you went with that option. You can also try and just use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate.

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