Do you get nervous cooking for people?
Do you ever try out new recipes on guests?
I would answer, "Yes, quite often" to both of those questions. I'm pretty sure the reason I get nervous serving people dinner is because I'm always experimenting with new recipes. Not the smartest idea, but so far nothing has bombed too badly. I always figure that if a recipe turns out to be inedible, we'll just laugh about it and run across the street for some $3 sushi.
The other week, however, I had one of my most nerve-racking experiences cooking for new friends. Brett and my good friend/co-worker had two of his friends from Michigan in town and we offered to host them for dinner. I was planning to make chicken fajitas for everyone and just set aside some plain veggies for me to eat. But when I went to Costco to buy the ingredients, I couldn't bring myself to buy $25 worth of chicken. My freezer was already packed and I knew it would only be Brett eating the rest of the chicken. Instead I took the plunge and decided to try out Portobello Mushroom Fajitas.
You call that a plunge Faith?
Let me set the stage. My co-workers two friends are large men...as in close-to-6-feet-tall-weighing-maybe-300-pounds-large. They also jokingly told me a couple days earlier that their diet was probably the opposite of mine.
Yeah. I was nervous.
Other than some shredded cheese for topping, the meal was completely plant-based. Portobello mushrooms marinated in veggie broth, lemon juice and spices. Organic chips and salsa. Guacamole. AND these Mini Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecakes. Let me first say that the Portobello Mushroom Fajitas were ah-maze-ing. I cannot wait to share the recipe with you! Seriously, they are so easy to make and are a great, inexpensive way to serve a crowd. All the guys loved them too! But, the star of the meal was definitely dessert. I decided to serve some monster cookies along with these Mini Vegan Chocolate Cheesecakes and didn't tell the guys that they weren't really made with cheese. While Brett had already had one earlier in the day (he's my taste-tester!), our two new guests went for the mini cheesecakes and...
...they polished them off!
Praises! The fact that two large, meat-eating men ate and enjoyed my fully plant-based meal, dessert included, made me grin inside. But really, who wouldn't like these decadent, personal chocolate cheesecakes? They're creamy, sweet and rich with chocolate. And even better, they're made with whole, plant-based ingredients! While they look elaborate, they're quite simple to make and require no baking.
I hope you enjoy these Mini Vegan Chocolate Cheesecakes as much as Brett, me, and our new friends did!
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1.5 cups raw cashews
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- ¼ cup melted dairy-free chocolate chips
- Soak the cashews in water 4-6 hours, then drain
- Soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain
- Add nuts into a food processor and process until fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- Add the dates into the food processor and process until a sticky dough begins to form. Add the nuts back into the processor and process the dates and nuts together until a loose dough forms. The mixture should stick together when pressed between your fingers.
- Line 12 muffin cups with silicone liners or lightly grease the cups and lay strips of parchment paper inside to act as tabs to pull the finished cheesecakes out.
- Divide the crust evenly among the 12 cups, about 1 heaping tablespoons in each. Press the dough down firmly with the back of a spoon until compact.
- Place the muffin tray in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
- Using your rinsed out food processor (or a blender), process the filling ingredients until smooth, scraping down the sides of your processor/blender when necessary. Taste and adjust as necessary, adding a little maple syrup or cacao powder if you want it sweeter or more chocolatey.
- Divide the filling evenly among the muffin cups. Tap the muffin tray gently to release any air bubbles.
- Place the cheesecakes in the freezer until set, about 4-6 hours.
- Once hard, drizzle the melted dairy-free chocolate over top.
- Let the cheesecakes thaw in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour before serving!
*These taste best when thawed in the fridge until soft. While they are still good straight out of the freezer, when they are too cold, they loose a little bit of their chocolate flavor.
**Prep time doesn't include the cashew soaking process or the freezing process.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1 cheesecake
Amount Per Serving Calories 463Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 0mgSodium 6mgCarbohydrates 47gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 9gSugar 17gSugar Alcohols 0gProtein 12g
Nutrition information is a rough estimate provided by Nutrionix and should be used for informational purposes only.