Monday, September 15, 2014

No-Bake Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ready for the next mini cheesecake installment? It's starting to look like all I post are dessert recipes. I guess desserts are a lot more interesting to me than savory food (not true).  I'm just really bad at measuring and writing down what I put into my savory dishes.  I hope to get better at that. But in the meantime, here's another one of my beloved no-bake mini cheesecakes in celebration of autumn.  It's my favorite time of the year due to all the pumpkin flavored treats associated with the season. Let the pumpkin mania begin!

I made this cheesecake to use up some leftover pumpkin purée that I had after making an awesome vegan challah recipe. (It turned out fabulous-- I highly recommend the recipe!) I wasn't in the mood to deal with soaking cashews, so I used peanut butter instead. And because peanut butter was involved, I figured chocolate should be too. :)

Makes one 4-inch mini cheesecake (like one of these

1/2 cup raw pecans (or walnuts or almonds)
4 soft pitted Medjool dates
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon water, if needed
Pinch of salt

1/2 cup pumpkin purée (store-bought or homemade)
1/3 cup unsalted peanut butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Pinch of salt

For Sprinkling
A handful of pecan pieces

Chocolate Topping
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
  1. Pulse the pecans a few times in a food processor. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and blend until a sticky mixture forms. (If your dates are dry, add the water to help the mixture stick together)
  2. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of a mini cheesecake pan lightly greased with coconut oil. Set aside.
  3. Blend all the filling ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
  4. Spoon the filling mixture over the crust and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.
  5. Whisk together the chocolate topping ingredients and then drizzle the mixture over the cheesecake.
  6. Cover with foil and place the cheesecake in the freezer for 2-3 hours or overnight until completely set.
  7. Let the cheesecake thaw for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Serve chilled.

You'll definitely taste the peanut butter. And with the spices in the mix, you'll also taste your standard pumpkin pie. It's a pretty delicious combo, so says my palate. But if you have a preference for peanut butter over pumpkin (or vice versa), give the filling mixture a taste before sticking it into your cheesecake pan. As always, adjust the flavors to your liking. If you add more pumpkin purée, you'll probably also have to add more coconut oil to ensure that the cheesecake firms up nicely while in the freezer. And if peanut butter flavored cheesecakes aren't your thing, you can also use raw cashew butter or raw cashews instead of peanut butter.

For a full-sized 8-inch round or square cheesecake, you can double the crust ingredients and double or triple (for more height) the filling ingredients. Even though this is a mini cheesecake, I think it would make a nice dessert for two or even four people to share. Nut-based cheesecakes are so rich and decadent that even one small slice is filling.  But of course, no one would blame you for wanting seconds. :)