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When I first took on a plant-based diet I assumed I would have to kiss things like cheesecake goodbye.  Thank God I was merely uneducated on plant-based baking. 

The beautiful thing about non-dairy sour cream, non-dairy cream cheese, and non-dairy mayonaise is they own the exact same flavor as their dairy-based rival but they do not have the same characteristics!  They do not have the cholesterol, same bad fats, place of origin and all other negatives associated with dairy based foods.  

All those who are lactose intollerant, squeemish at the though of eating from an utter, or who have high cholesterol give me an ‘Amen’!

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What You’ll Need: (for 8-10 mini cheesecakes)

3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer

4 T warm water

8 0z of non-dairy non-hydrogenated cream cheese (equivalent of 1 pack of Tofutti brand)

1/2 cup raw sugar

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup almonds

3 T non-dairy non-hydrogenated butter (Earth Balance)

How You’ll Do It: (don’t be nervous by al the little steps, this comes together quickly and easily)

Preheat oven to 35o °.  Bring non-dairy cream cheese and non-dairy butter to room temperature. When heated, lay almonds flat on a baking sheet and roast for 9 minutes or until fragrant. (Do not burn!)

In your Magic Bullet, whip egg replacer and water until thick and foamy.   Cream together your cream cheese, extracts, and sugar.  Then mix in egg replacer.  Once creamed together by hand, place back into your blender and blend consistenly until very smooth.

Use your Magic Bullet, or a food processor, to pulse your toasted almonds into a medium fine flour.  Once an even consistency is reached (you may have to pulse 1/2 cup at a time, depending on your appliance) put the almond flour in a medium bowl.  Cut in non-dairy butter into flour and mix together until all non-dairy butter is incorporated without large lumps. 

Using a your hands, scoop up about 1 T of almond mixture and press it into the bottom of a muffin tin to create a thin crust covering the bottom of the tin.  While pressing crust into the bottom of the tin, gently spread the crust upward about 1/4″ up the sides of each  individual muffin tin. 

Once you’ve formed 8-10 mini almond crusts in the bottom of muffin tins, slowly pour your filling into each tin just covering the crust.

Bake for 40 minutes.  When you remove your muffin tins from the over, it is OK if the center is somewhat jiggely.  Cover your muffin tins with plastic and refridgerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.  Remove gently from tins, using a toothpic or fork to finesse if needed. 

 Serve topped with fresh fruit, a light drizzle of maple syrup or a dash of chopped almonds.

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Why You’ll Love It:

  Whole almonds, with skins, provide great benefits for cardivascular health.  Almonds are high in both manganese and vitamin E which help to regulate blood pressure.   Using a whole almond crust for your next cheesecake or tart is a great alternative for a traditional graham cracker crust!

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