With an easy pecan-and-date crust and tons of warm spices, these Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars are packed with the holiday season’s warm flavors. These “cheesecake” bars are made with soaked cashews to replicate cheesecake’s creamy texture—no dairy or baking necessary. You won’t miss the dairy one bit in these gluten-free, vegan bars.
Who wants a Gingerbread Cheesecake Bar?! 🙋🙋🙋 If your hand is raised as high as mine is right now…you’re going to want to make these.
I’m a huge fan of the flavors that come along during the holidays – I like to put cinnamon, nutmeg, and all the warm spices in my treats all year round, but this time of the year I can really go for it and get everyone as excited about all of the warm flavors as I am.
These Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars are the epitome of an incredible holiday dessert. They’re creamy, sweet, and laced with all of the flavors that I love about this season. They’re similar to many of my paleo and vegan cheesecakes in that they’ve got a cashew-base, which replicates that lusciously creamy cheesecake texture.
The Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars are sweetened with maple syrup, which adds a subtle but not overpowering sweetness that enhances, instead of competes with, the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves that flavor the cheesecake.
Unsulphured molasses is also incorporated into the bars, which gives a deep, rich flavor that brings all things holiday-season to mind. It tastes like a gingerbread cookie but transformed into a magically creamy dessert.
Some of the tang of classic cheesecake is recreated with a hint of lemon juice and zest, which also serves to enhance the gingerbread flavor and add some brightness.
The creamy filling is laid over a crust made of dates, pecans, cinnamon, ginger, and salt – it’s simple, but works so well with the flavors present in this dessert. If you’re a fan of gingerbread…you’re going to love these. Enjoy!!
Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars
For the crust
For the gingerbread cheesecake
- 2 cups (284 grams) unsalted raw cashews soaked in cold water for 4 to 10 hours
- ½ cup (120 grams) full-fat coconut milk shaken together in the can to incorporate the cream + coconut water
- ⅓ cup (113 grams) pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup (56 grams) refined coconut oil melted and cooled
- 3 tablespoons (63 grams) unsulphured molasses
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Garnish: ground cinnamon grated fresh nutmeg, and pecan halves, if desired
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, and lightly grease with coconut oil.
In the work bowl of a food processor, place dates. Pulse until finely chopped. Add pecans, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt; pulse on medium-low speed until a sticky dough begins to forms, with small pecan bits remaining. (Do not overprocess or the dough will become oily.) Press dough into the bottom of prepared pan.
Drain soaked cashews, and rinse with cold water. In the container of a blender, combine cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, molasses, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, 1½ teaspoons ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon salt; blend until mixture is silky smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.
Pour filling into prepared crust, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Tap pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Freeze until completely firm, at least 3 hours.
When the cheesecake bars are set, run a knife under hot water to warm it up before cutting bars with the still-hot (dried) knife. Cut into 16 squares. Garnish with cinnamon, nutmeg, and pecan halves, if desired.
Let thaw at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.
This recipe was originally printed in the 2017 Holiday Issue of Bake From Scratch Magazine!