Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Squares (Vegan, Gluten Free)
These cranberry swirl cheesecakes are a classic twist on a traditional cheesecake, made entirely with gluten free and vegan friendly ingredients. The decadent cheesecake layer mixed with local cranberries is perfect for any holiday party.
Growing up with food allergies, desserts were always the hardest part. Still to this day it is rare that I can ever find a dessert in a restaurant or at a party that is both gluten free and dairy free. But who wants to live a life without dessert? So as a kid I learned how to bake in a way that was dairy free, and then later as an adult also gluten free.
There definitely was a learning curve, and when I was diagnosed with celiac disease there was very little information out there (let alone baking ingredients) to help make the process of creating a delicious gluten free recipe and dairy free recipe.
Needless to say, there were many failed recipe attempts that ended up in the trash, but today I am happy to say that most of the time I can develop almost any dessert I would like to be gluten free/dairy free, and no one would ever know that difference.
This cheesecakes are certainly no exception. They are the perfect amount of sweet and tangy with the cranberry swirl woven into the cheesecake, and have gotten a big thumbs up by my allergy and non-allergy friends and family.
I always like to test my recipes on folks who don't have any food allergies, because...well I don't have a clue what a non-allergy friendly cheesecake tastes like, and I always want to make sure that my recipes aren't just good for the sake of being "allergy-friendly good" but are really really good period.
These cheesecakes definitely got the approval of lots of friends and family, and what I love most about them is that they actually are pretty easy. All you have to do is have a high-speed blender, a food processor, and space in your freezer and most of the work will be done for you.
The key to this recipe is soaked raw cashews, which will make up the bulk of the creamy cheesecake layer. Trust me, you will love to see the look on your friends and families faces when you tell them that their cheesecakes are made almost entirely of cashews.
I hope you have the chance to make these mini cheesecakes for your friends and family. They are perfect for parties, and can easily be made ahead and stored in the freezer for up to a week.
Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Squares
makes roughly 24 squares
2 cups Raw Cashews (soaked in water ideally overnight)
1 cup Coconut Milk
¼ cup Cacao Butter, melted
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
¼ tsp Sea Salt
Cranberry Swirl Ingredients
2 cups fresh cranberrys
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
Cheesecake Crust Ingredients
¼ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup walnuts
½ cup almond flour
4 medjool dates
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Make the Crust:
Add all crust ingredients to a high-speed food processor (I use a cuisinart 8 cup) and blend on high until a dough forms. You may need to push down the ingredients using a spatula a few times.
Next, place parchment paper on a square baking pan. Place the dough in the pan, and using your fingers or a spatula push the dough down until it forms an even layer.
Place the cheesecake pan in the freezer and allow the crust to harden, about 1 hour.
Make the Vanilla Cheesecake Layer
Next, for the cheesecake layer, soak the cashews in a bowl of water for a minimum of two hours (ideally overnight).
Once cashews have soaked, remove from water and discard liquid.
Add soaked cashews to high-powered blender (I use a vitamix) along with 1 cup chilled coconut milk (the thick cream from the can), cacao butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup and sea salt.
Blend ingredients on high until a frothy, pudding-like batter forms that is completely smooth. Remove batter from blender and pour over hardened cheesecake crust.
Make the Cranberry Swirl
Add fresh cranberries, water, honey, and orange zest to a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the cranberries begin to breakdown and a jam like mixture forms.
Next, remove cranberry mixture from the stove and pour it through a fine mesh sifter over a small bowl to remove the seeds/stems from the cranberry mixture.
Discard the seeds, and take your smooth cranberry mixture and add it to the food processor. Process on high until the mixture is completely smooth.
Lastly, take the cranberry mixture and add a few spoonfuls to the top of the cheesecake batter. Using a fork swirl the cranberry mixture through the cheesecake and place the cheesecake back in the freezer.
Allow your cheesecakes to fully set, ideally freezing for 2-4 hours. Once you are ready to serve, remove your cheesecakes from the freezer, pull on the parchment paper, and easily remove from the pan. Then cut your cheesecakes into small squares and serve immediately.
**Note: If your cheesecakes are not going to be eaten right away make sure to keep them in the refrigerator/freezer. They are best served when they are cool and firm. If let out to sit for too long they will become soft.