Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Written by Eydie Desser

I love lemon bars and wanted Ashley to come up with a plant based version that would make me smile. Of course, she came up with something even more delicious—a lemon cheesecake bar. This is definitely company worthy!

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (firmly packed) Medjool Dates (about 9-10 dates), pitted
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond meal (flour) or other brand
  • 1 cup oat flour


Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 TB lemon zest (from about 1 lemon—reserve lemon for use later in the recipe)
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut cream (from 3- 5.4 oz. cans)
  • 1 cup lemon juice from about 5 lemons, or Whole Foods 365 organic 100% lemon juice
  • ½ cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • ½ TB alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • 12 small strawberries, leaves removed

Instructions

1- Place cashews in a medium bowl and pour enough water to cover the nuts by an inch or two. Let soak for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2- Over a small bowl, using a zester, or grater, zest the rind of 1 lemon (about 1 TB zest). 

Make The Crust:

Preheat oven to 350℉

1- Line the bottom and sides of a 9×9 baking dish with a large piece of parchment paper to come up 2 inches on all sides. You will use the parchment paper to lift the cheesecake out of the pan before slicing. Set aside.

2- Place pitted dates in a blender or bowl of a food processor and process until completely pureed.

3- Transfer date puree to a large mixing bowl and add almond meal and oats.  Using your hands, combine ingredients to form a thick dough.

4- Place the dough on a parchment lined baking dish and flatten with the palm of your hand.  

5- Put the pan in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes; or until the edges are slightly golden brown.

6- Remove from the oven and let sit. Keep the oven turned on.


Make The Filling

1- Drain cashews and place them in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until cashews turn into “cream”.

2- Add coconut cream and lemon juice.  Continue to process until completely pureed and smooth.  

3- Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, arrowroot powder and lemon zest. Process until thoroughly combined.

4- Pour mixture over the prepared crust. Gently shake the pan to release any air bubbles.

5- Return the pan to the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. If the center of the mixture still jiggles, continue baking for another 5 minutes.  

6- Remove pan from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack to room temperature, about an hour. Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. 

7- Remove cheesecake from the refrigerator. Lift the lemon cheesecake out of the pan using parchment paper as handles. Transfer to a cutting board.  Remove parchment paper, and slice cheesecake into 12 equal rectangles.   

8- For the strawberry garnish:  with a paring knife, thinly slice the strawberries,, lengthwise from tip to leaf end but not slicing all the way through, keeping the leaf end intact. Fan out and place on top of each lemon bar.

Nutrition Per Serving:  440 calories, 21g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 57g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 38g total sugar, 26g added sugar, 7g protein

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