Happy Valentine's Day!
This year, I decided to make my valentine a cheesecake. But not just any cheesecake. A cheesecake that completely catered to his dessert needs, which are as follows:
1. Peanut butter. Lots of peanut butter.
2. Sweet and salty.
3. Crunchy and smooth.
So I made a peanut butter chocolate chunk cheesecake with chocolate pretzel crust and raspberry icing.
I admit that I didn't allow my hopes to get very high for this dessert. It seemed like quite a hodgepodge of flavors and textures, and since it was my first foray into the realm of vegan cheesecakes, I didn't know whether it would turn out completely awesome or completely terrible.
It. Turned. Out. Amazing. So amazing that my boyfriend could not stop saying things like, "Wow!", and "This should be in restaurants!" after every bite. No joke. And completely vegan! Swoon.
Here ya go, the money shot:
So good, so decadent.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake with Chocolate Pretzel Crust and Raspberry Icing (long name, but it's worth the time it takes to say it)
For the crust:
- 1 8 oz. package of Oreo-type chocolate cookies (I used Newman-O's chocolate variety, which can be found at Whole Foods, but regular Oreos are actually vegan!)
- 1 cup whole wheat pretzel nuggets
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
- 2 tbsp almond milk or other non-dairy milk
1. Place cookies and pretzels in food processor and blend until you have smallish crumbles. Don't over blend however, you want to preserve some crunch from the pretzels.
2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the Earth balance, then knead with your hands until you have clumps. Add the almond milk and knead more until the mixture is sticking together in a large ball. Add more almond milk if necessary.
3. Drop the ball into a 9-inch pie dish and press with your hands so that the crust coats the dish. Make sure to work it up the sides evenly. Your crust should look like this:
I made my crust ahead of time and let it sit overnight in the fridge, so that's an option if you want to save time.
For the filling:
- 14 oz. silken tofu (I used Nasoya)
- 4 oz. vegan cream cheese (I used Trader Joe's variety, but I hear Tofutti is also very good)
- 2/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 3/4 cup creamy salted peanut butter
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips or chunks (if using chunks, chop lightly beforehand)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place silken tofu, vegan cream cheese, and peanut butter in a food processor and blend until completely smooth, scraping the sides and checking for lumps of tofu.
Love this peanut butter from Trader Joe's. Yum. Can you tell that I frequent TJ's?
At this point, your filling mixture should look like this.
3. Add raw sugar and cornstarch to food processor and blend for a few minutes.
4. Once all ingredients are fully blended, transfer the batter to a mixing bowl and fold in the chocolate pieces.
5. Pour into your prepared crust and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove and let cool to room temperature for at least two hours. After the cheesecake has cooled, it should be chilled in the refrigerator. I let mine chill for about 9 hours, and it was pretty perfect when I sliced into it.
Fresh out the oven.
Now you're ready to decorate!
For the icing:
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar. Make sure it's an organic type made without bone char! (Wholesome Sweetener's brand is bone char free)
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
- 2 tbsp frozen raspberries
1. Combine sugar and Earth Balance in a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth.
2. Place raspberries in a microwave safe bowl and nuke for about a minute so that the raspberries release their juice. Strain the raspberries to get a nice, natural red food coloring.
3. Add to mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate.
4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm the icing so that it won't run on the cake. Also, make sure that the cheesecake is chilled before decorating!
You can decorate to your heart's desire. I used fresh raspberries, raspberry icing, and a cute little banana slice to make it Valentine-y.
Shot with some roses I got from my boyfriend!
I always try to outdo him with gifts, but it never works. Although my cheesecake was bangin', there's no way I could compete with this:
Club box tickets to the Chili Peppers! Sigh. He always wins.
I'll leave you now with one more mouth-watering photo.
Last bite. So sad.
Make this cheesecake for someone and they will love you forever, I swear. Also, this is a great recipe to trick your non-vegan friends into eating animal-free! Sneaky sneaky. ;)
Love peace and non-chicken grease,