No Bake - Dairy Free - Gluten Free - Refined Sugar Free
I’m feeling all sorts of Christmasy today after receiving news that my Dad will be home for the holidays! I have never in my 30-something years have spent a Christmas without my family and this year was starting to look a little iffy in terms of his work and when he would be able to make it home but hearing this news instantly lifted my spirits and really got me feeling like I’m ready for Christmas! I mean it’s in 10 days so it’s probably about time right?
But to be completely honest, it’s been super warm, and no snow here in Calgary and I just haven’t gotten into it. We also put the tree up late this year in anticipation that our toddler boy was probably going to be pretty interested in not so carefully removing all of my mother’s beautiful ornaments I inherited from the tree, that and the fact that we almost had an electrical fire and now we can’t turn on the lights on the tree have been a bit of a buzz kill. But the Christmas spirit isn’t jut hanging out by the tree watching all the Home Alone movies, which by the way there are apparently 5, and if this is news to you trust me when I say you’re better off leaving it alone after the 2nd one. I found out the hard way.
To me, some of my best memories are associated with making treats with my mom or grandmother and sharing delicious family dinners together. Thoughts of Christmas always bring me back to the kitchen, as do most things really!
So to jump start the Christmas vibes and get ready for my dad’s arrival I decided to try my hand at some gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free baking. I mean, easy peezy right? Turns out there aren’t that many traditional Christmas baking recipes without dairy, or gluten and sure as heck not sugar (if you know me, you know this is said with sarcasm set on the highest level).
I had however come across this recipe from www.bakerita.com for her Vanilla Bean Cranberry Swirl Bars and figured I would give it a try with what I had available in my pantry and came up with a pretty delicious version!
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan and Refined-Sugar Free, these bars are so creamy, and the tartness of the cranberries with the nuttiness of the crust combined with warm spices is everything required of a good holiday treat and without the guilt or in my case, stomach pains of regular cheesecake.
Other than the time required to soak the cashews and freezing the dessert, these bars are so easy and so quick to make!
I know some people can be pretty picky about the desserts, especially cheesecake (cough cough, my husband) and sometimes the dairy free, gluten free, sugar free options can be less than what you expected but I promise you this is not the case here. As with most of the dishes I make, these bars are husband approved and I’ll definitely be making more before the holidays are over.
So go on and turn your Christmas jams up, Santa hat on, glass of wine and get some Christmas cheer happening in your kitchen, that’s how I do it! Ok, kidding…I don’t actually have a Santa hat.
Vegan Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
No Bake Vegan Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
1/2 Cup of Walnuts
1/4 Cup of Hazelnuts
1/4 Cup of Almond Meal
1 Tbsp of Coconut Sugar
2 Tbsp of Coconut Oil
4 Large Pitted Medjool Dates
1 Tsp of Cinnamon
Pinch of Fine Grey Sea Salt
2 Cups of Raw Cashews (Soaked in Water Overnight)
1/2 Cup of Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/4 Cup of Melted (But not hot) Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup of Pure Organic Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp of Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cup of Cranberries (Fresh or Frozen)
1/4 Cup of Pure Organic Maple Syrup
1/3 Cup of Orange Juice
1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp of All Spice
- Add raw cashews to a bowl and cover with water, allow to soak overnight
- In a small to medium sized pot add ingredients for cranberry sauce and simmer on low until cranberries are broken down and sauce has formed a thickness, roughly 10-15 mins. You can transfer and blend to achieve a smooth consistency, but I left mine as is so there were still a bit of cranberries throughout. Set aside and allow to cool
- Add, walnuts, hazelnuts, almond meal, pitted dates, coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt to blender or food processor and blend until dough is form, but don’t over process! You still want some larger walnut and hazelnut pieces
- In a 9×5 Loaf pan, line with parchment paper or grease well with coconut oil for easy removal
- Add dough mixture to pan and press evenly with spatula to form crust
- Drain cashews and add to food processor or blender, add coconut milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla extract and blend until smooth and creamy, approx 2 minutes. You will probably have to stop to scrape down the sides and continue to blend enough minute
- Using a spatula, transfer filling from blender and distribute evenly over crust in the pan
- Using a spoon dollop cranberry topping over the filling, using a toothpick to create swirls on the top
- Transfer pan to freezer making sure it’s sitting level and allow to sit for 4 hours or until completely firm
- Allow to thaw for approx 15 minutes before attempting to serve, use a sharp knife and make sure to cut fully into the crust
- Serve immediately
This recipe makes 5 large bars or 10 medium sized squares
Store in freezer in an air tight container