Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tuxedo Cheesecake Brownies

Summer is coming to an end, and many people around the U.S. will be having Labor Day picnics and cookouts this weekend. Tuxedo Cheesecake Brownies from Amber Shea Crawley’s Practically Raw Desserts is an excellent dessert for at your holiday parties. Not only are they incredibly decadent and delicious, they don’t require any heat to prepare, so your kitchen will stay nice and cool in the fading summer heat. They are best served cold, straight from the fridge, but you can bring them to room temperature before serving if you prefer; you just may need to eat them with a fork instead of your hands!

Brownie Layers:
  • 1 cup dry pecans

  • 1 cup dry walnuts

  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates

Cheesecake Layer:
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 to 4 hours and drained
  • 1/4 cup water or nondairy milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

  • 30 drops liquid stevia (or equivalent sweetener of choice), or to taste

Brownie Layers: In a food processor, combine the pecans, walnuts, cacao powder, and salt and pulse until finely ground (be careful not to overprocess). Add the dates, 2 to 3 at a time, pulsing between additions until each date is well-incorporated and the mixture is sticky. Taste for sweetness, and add another date or some stevia if desired.
Press half of the mixture (about 1 heaping cup) firmly and evenly into an 8-inch square baking pan (lined with plastic wrap for easy removal, if desired). Place the pan in the freezer to chill. Set the other half of the mixture aside while you make the cheesecake layer.
Cheesecake Layer: In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, water, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and stevia and blend until smooth. You can add more water, a teaspoon at a time, as needed to help the mixture blend. Taste for sweetness and add more stevia if desired.
Remove the pan from the freezer and transfer the cheese- cake mixture onto the brownie layer, spreading it evenly with a spoon or spatula. Place the pan back in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours to allow the cheesecake layer to firm up. Once frozen, remove the pan from the freezer again, and evenly scatter the remaining half of the brownie mixture on top of the cheesecake layer. Gently but firmly press the brownie bits into the cheesecake. You may still be able to see the cheesecake layer underneath; that’s ok. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving.
Store the brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

Makes 16 bars

From Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley. ©2013 Amber Shea Crawley. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

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