Vegan desserts are a challenge, but a worthy one. As are gluten-free desserts. But constraints breed creativity. And creativity calls for peanut butter.
We have two couples we like to eat with who have dietary constraints: One’s vegan, the other lactose intolerant. Well, that’s no excuse not to bring food to a cookout.
Inspired by A Saucy Kitchen’s frozen peanut butter cup pie, our peanut butter cheesecake combines the irresistible trio of peanut butter (duh), dark chocolate, and flakey sea salt. No, this is not your average table salt. A light sprinkling of Morton’s flakey sea salt launches any dessert into a new universe of lip-licking-ness.
For the crust, a blend of dates, nuts, cocoa powder and coconut oil creates a more than worthy base. You won’t even notice there’s dates inside. (They provide an essential binding, so don’t you dare leave them out—even if you think you hate dates.) We’ve also substituted sunflower seeds for some nuts we didn’t have/couldn’t afford, and didn’t notice a difference.
Oh, and a word of advice: While this is a delicious accompaniment to a BBQ, the cake will get pretty melty outside. We learned that the hard way.
Gluten-free chocolate crust
- 1 cup dates, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
In a food processor, combine the dates and nuts with the pulse setting. You may have to occasionally scrape the sides down. Once the mixture looks evenly crumbly, add the cocoa powder and coconut oil to the processor and blend some more.
Take the mixture and transfer it to the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan, pushing into the bottom in an even layer. Set aside.
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup coconut cream (yes, this is different from coconut oil)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup vegan cream cheese (Tofutti is our favorite)
Using an electric mixer (or by hand if you’re looking for a work out) cream the “cream cheese” until it softens. Then add the peanut butter, coconut cream, and maple syrup to the bowl. Whip together until everything is combined.
Pour the filling on top of the crust, cover, and place in the freezer while you get the chocolate ready.
- 1 bar (3.5 oz) dairy free dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon almond milk
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Break up the bar of chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. You can use a double boiler here, if you want to be fancy, but we just microwaved it. Melt the chocolate until it’s a smooth consistency and stir in the almond milk. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes.
Once it’s cool enough, spread the chocolate on top of the peanut butter mixture, creating an even layer. Top the cake with the almonds and sea salt flakes immediately. Freeze until ready to serve.