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These Vanilla Bean Cranberry Swirl Bars are made with cashews for a smooth and creamy "cheesecake" that's completely paleo, dairy free, vegan, and gluten free! You can use leftover cranberry sauce for the tart cranberry swirl.

Vanilla Bean Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

These Vanilla Bean Cranberry Cheesecake Bars are made with cashews for a smooth and creamy "cheesecake" that's completely paleo, dairy free, vegan, and gluten free! You can use leftover cranberry sauce for the tart cranberry swirl.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 bars
Calories 213 kcal
Author Rachel

Ingredients

For the cranberry sauce swirl (if not using leftover cranberry sauce)

  • 6 oz. cranberries
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon allspice
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup orange juice from 1 freshly squeezed orange + zest of one orange

For the crust

For the cheesecake

  • 2 cups raw cashews soaked in cold for at least six hours or preferably overnight see Notes
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk shaken
  • ¼ cup coconut oil melted and cooled use refined coconut oil if you want no coconut flavor
  • cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder

Instructions

  1. Line an 8” square pan with parchment paper for easy removal, and grease well with coconut oil. Set aside. Prepare cranberry sauce (directions below) and set aside to cool, if not already prepared.

  2. Add the pecans, almond flour, pitted dates, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt to a food processor or high-powered blender and pulverize until it comes together into a sort of sticky dough, with small pecan bits remaining. Don’t over process, or it’ll turn into nut butter! Press the date dough evenly along the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. In the same food processor or high-powered blender (no need to wash between - I used my Vitamix, but most powerful blenders should do the job), combine all of the filling ingredients and blend for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is silky smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides as necessary. You may need to add a bit more coconut milk or lemon juice to get it to blend smoothly if your blender isn’t super high-powered.
  4. Once it’s smooth, taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness/tartness levels, if desired.
  5. Pour the filling into the prepared pan over the crust. Smooth out the top and tap the pan hard against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Dollop about ⅓ cup of cranberry sauce around the top of the cheesecake and use a sharp knife to swirl it in. Tap hard against the counter once more to settle everything.

  6. Place in the freezer to set for at least 3 hours or until completely frozen.
  7. Let them thaw at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving. I recommend running your knife under hot water to warm it up before cutting the cheesecake with the still-hot (dried) knife.
  8. Store leftovers tightly wrapped in the freezer.

For the cranberry sauce

  1. Add cranberries to a medium saucepan. Add maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, and spices to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst and cook down, about 10 more minutes. For a very smooth sauce, use an immersion blender to smooth it out. Transfer to a bowl to and let cool.

Recipe Notes

You can also cover the cashews in very hot/boiling water and let them sit for about an hour if you want to speed up the process - it won't be quite as creamy, but it will do the trick!

Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Bean Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
Amount Per Serving (1 bar)
Calories 213 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 9g
Protein 4g 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.