Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Fall is officially here! There really is nothing better than curling up in a blanket with a good book and something pumpkin-ey on these cold days. Pumpkin pie is my favorite of all the Fall foods, but I don’t exactly always have the time (or appetite) to cook an entire pie outside of Thanksgiving. What I really wanted for a Fall dessert was something that didn’t require any baking, was totally healthy, and could be eaten in bite-sized portions. That’s how the idea for these AMAZING raw pumpkin cheesecake bars came about! These have a fantastic delicate spice to them and taste even better than any cheesecake made of cream. Honestly, biting into these is just heaven. You're going to want to hide these away and keep them for yourself because I guarantee you they're going to go fast! The base is simple nuts, dates, flax, cinnamon, and coconut oil. They have a really wonderful texture that isn't too hard even after freezing and tastes just like Fall. The filling is a blend of cashews, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and even lemon! I know the lemon juice sounds a little weird in this recipe, but what it does is cut the flavor of the cashews and give a slight tang to the filling so it has a true cheesecake taste. The pumpkin puree can come from either a can or, if your feeling adventurous, steamed and pureed pumpkin. I actually went the latter route when I made these bars and was so happy with the flavor! It does take a bit of time to chop and steam the pumpkin, so don't worry if you use a can. Totally cool. The freshly-made pumpkin puree just has a slightly sweeter taste and brighter color. I also like using it given that this is a raw dish.
You'll fall in love with these bars because they’re super simple to make, are stuffed with the most fantastic ingredients, and are still light enough that you can eat them and feel amazing afterwards! Who doesn’t love that? This is definitely the best thing you’ll ever make and the best part is that they don’t need any baking at all! You just chill them for a few hours or overnight, then enjoy!
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
1 ½ cups cashews
¾ cup pumpkin puree (you can either use canned pumpkin or steam/ puree and fresh pumpkin)
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup maple syrup
Juice of ½ lemon
A dash of salt
20 medjool dates, pitted
1 ½ cups nuts (you can really use any you have. I used a mix of almonds, pecans, and cashews)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a dash of salt
Drizzled almond butter, pumpkin seeds, pecans
Start by soaking your cashews in very hot water for about 60 minutes. This is to make sure that the cashews are really smooth when pureed.
Work on the crust while the cashews are soaking. Put the pitted dates in the food processor. Hold onto the processor as you blend because it might jump a bit! Stop when the dates form a large bowl. Remove the blended dates from the processor and set aside. Add the nuts, flax, cinnamon, coconut oil, and salt, and process until you have a course meal, then add the dates back in. You might have to break the date ball into pieces so the dates are spread through the mixture. Process again until well blended, then press the crust dough into an 8x11 inch pan (I used glass). Set the dough pan into the freezer as you work on the filling.
Once your cashews are through soaking in the hot water, drain them and add them to the food processor with the remaining filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Remove the crust from the freezer, then spread the filling evenly onto the crust. Cover the bars, then put back in the freezer and chill for a few hours or overnight. To serve, simply remove from the freezer let thaw until you can slice the bites, then add the almond butter, pecans, and pumpkin seeds on top.