Everyone knows that time of the year when their co-worker brings in a form to fill-out for their kids’ girl scout cookie sales or when there is a stand set up in the front of the grocery store with all types of iconic cookies on display for purchase. There’s no doubt that one of my favorite parts of being in the girl scouts as a kid was all the boxes of cookies I would get! With so many flavors to choose from its impossible to not find a kind you’d like! I believe strongly in the fact that everyone had that one specific flavor that was dubbed their favorite. For my sister it was the crunchy, chocolaty, minty kind, for my dad it was the buttery kind, but for me, it was the chocolate, caramel and toasted coconut cookie that really set my heart on fire.
It was one of those flavor combinations that just hit every mark for me. There’s the rich, creamy chocolate followed by a thick, gooey, buttery caramel, then its rounded all out with a nutty hit of coconut. It truly was the best part of the year seeing those boxes of indulgent treats in my cupboards.
However, in more recent years I’ve moved onto a lifestyle that isn’t so keen on all the dairy and processed sugar that conventional treats contain. For this reason, I’ve decided to re-create my childhood delights to be a more health-conscious dessert. These bars are dairy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar free but full of flavor! There is no way you’d take a bite into one of these and think you were eating something that’s actually good for you.
The ingredients are so simple and can be found at any grocery store. The recipe calls for soaked cashews which can be soaked in water overnight or soaked for 30 min in boiling water. This helps to soften the cashews so that when they are blended up, they mimic a creamy, cheese-like consistency.
This recipe is also so easy to make and comes together quickly! The most time-consuming aspect of making this dessert is having to wait until they’ve set enough in the freezer. I am confident that anyone would like this recipe, partly because when I recipe tested, I had my dad and my uncle, two of the most anti-healthy food eaters I know, and they loved them. So, for me that speaks volumes to just how good these cheesecake bars are!
1 Cup Pitted Dates
1 Cup Raw Unsalted Almonds
2 ½ Tbsp Coconut Oil
½ Tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
2 Cups Cashews, soaked
½ Cup Maple Syrup
½ Cup Coconut Cream
¼ Cup Coconut Oil
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ Almond Butter
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
¼ Tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (I used the brand Lilly’s)
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
¼ Cup Toasted Coconut
To start, make the crust. Put all of the crust ingredients into a food processor and blend until the dates and almonds have been pulverized and thoroughly combined. Pinch the mixture together to see if it holds shape, if not an additional ½ Tbsp of coconut oil could be added.
Once the crust mixture has been prepared, line a 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper. Press the crust mixture onto the bottom of the pan until there is an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
To make the cheesecake filling put all of the ingredients into the food processor and mix until the mixture is smooth and creamy. You will have to stop and scrap down the sides of the food processor to make sure every piece of cashew gets processed. Once the mixture is finished take the pan out of the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling over the crust. Smooth out the top of the filling with a spatula or spoon and place the pan back into the freezer.
While the bars are setting up in the freezer start making the drizzles and toppings. For the ‘caramel’ add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan over low heat and cook until gooey and combined, then set aside. For the chocolate, combine all the ingredients into a small microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. After the 30 seconds take the bowl out and stir the mixture and place back into the microwave for 30 more seconds. Repeat this process one more time until the chocolate is fully melted. For the toasted coconut put a small frying pan on the stove over low heat add the coconut to the pan and cook until golden brown and toasty (the coconut can burn fairly quickly so be sure to keep a close eye on it)!
Once all of the toppings have been prepared take the bars out of the freezer and drizzle with the caramel and chocolate, then sprinkle on the coconut. Place the bars back in the freezer for 10 more minutes or until fully set, then enjoy!
These bars will last for up to a week, they should be stored in an airtight container in the freezer. I recommend taking one out 5 minutes before you plan to enjoy so it can soften and de-thaw.