Chocolate and peppermint make a delicious duo, don't you agree? So of course they deserve their moment at Christmas. I can think of many ways to enjoy this pair of flavors. Have you tried peppermint hot cocoa? Or how about mint meltaways, candy canes dipped in chocolate, peppermint patties, chocolate peppermint bark, or chocolate peppermint cookies. They are all yummy, right?
Well, how about peppermint cheesecake? If this hasn't graced your vast array of treats over the holidays, you are missing out on quite a delicious addition. These rich and creamy bites are cashew based with a delectable crust to add just the right touch of chocolate. The mint chocolate drizzle on the top doesn't hurt either! I use my muffin pan to make these bites of delight so they are the perfect portion size. Not too much, not too little. With a small amount of prep work, making these is a breeze. Like with most cashew based recipes, plan on four hours of soaking time. You can also make your crust in advance, even the day before if need be. Once you make the crust, simply press the crust mixture into the bottom of each muffin cavity and keep the muffin pan in your refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to add the cashew peppermint mixture.
I know you will adore these cheesecake bites. Maybe they will become one of your Christmas favorites like they are in my house. Enjoy!
2 cups raw pecans (or walnuts, could also do half and half)
1 & 1/4 cups packed medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 Tbs raw cacao nibs (optional)
pinch of sea salt
3 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
Mint Chocolate Drizzle:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao)
5 Tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp peppermint extract
1. While the cashews are soaking, prepare the crust by placing all of the crust ingredients in your food processor. You want to achieve a fine texture that you can squeeze together with your fingers and have the mixture stick together. If it seems to dry and crumbly, you can add one or two more dates.
2. Once the crust is made, prepare your muffin pan by cutting small strips of parchment paper about 4 inches long and 1 inch in width. Criss cross them in each muffin cavity. This will allow you to pull out the mini cheesecakes effortlessly. Now press down the crust mixture onto the bottoms of each muffin cavity. You will use approximately 2 packed tablespoons of mixture per cavity. Now place the muffin pan in the freezer for about an hour.
3. Once the cashews are done soaking, rinse them well and place them in your high speed blender. Add the rest of the filling ingredients except for the coconut oil (that is last). Blend the cashew mixture until it is nice and smooth. The mixture should be fairly thick. Then add the melted coconut oil and blend until everything is well incorporated. Taste the mixture to make sure it has the right amount of peppermint to your liking.
4. Now divide the filling mixture evenly between each muffin cavity. There should be about 16 mini cheesecakes. Smooth the filling out and place the muffin pan back into the freezer for 3-4 hours, or until set.
5. For an optional treat, you could add some mint chocolate drizzle to each cheesecake bite. To make the drizzle, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup and peppermint extract. Then drizzle the chocolate over the cheesecake bites and place them in your refrigerator to firm up the chocolate. Get ready to indulge in a chocolate peppermint treat! Makes approximately 16 cheesecake bites. Store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator for a softer consistency, or freezer for a firmer one.