Can I be real with you guys? I’m completely disinterested in all of the sugary treats of the Winter holidays this year. I would say honestly I’m craving salty lentils and mushrooms on toast, hydrating miso soup with seaweed, deep dark greens, eggs, seafood and citrus. There’s absolutely nothing treat-like about that line-up. I don’t get it, I mean shouldn’t I be in full force gusto over jam filled cookies and gingerbread things???
Maybe it’s how mild Virginia weather has been. Or the fact that I don’t have a cute pet to dress up like a reindeer….
Or perhaps it’s just that I’m biding my time until the days start to get longer. As the world grows achingly dark, I am sleeping more, and doing less. I am living slower, and getting less mundane work done. Our laundry has piled to the breaking point, although somehow the living room is tidy and filled with flowers (because flowers are far from mundane, you see?). That being said, I’m also writing up a storm. I’ve written ten poems and two songs in the last three weeks.
Ah well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s to trust my gut. And my gut is like writing this poem down is more important than the dishes. And also well if your gonna make treats keep them fresh and raw and then go make some eggplant bibimbap k?
So I decided, if I’m going to make a special treat for the holidays, it’s gonna be something I personally love and that I can happily serve to everyone I know. Raw vegan hit that nail on the head! But it’s Christmas y’all so chocolate has got to be a part of this.
I mulled over this chocolate cashew caramel cheesecake concept for a while. And I settled on a version rich with cashews and dates, flavored with cocoa, vanilla bean, nutmeg and cinnamon.
The result: a velvety-smooth, rich (but not too rich), sweet (but not too sweet) Christmas cheesecake! I dusted it with cocoa and topped it with some raw maple-sweetened coconut macaroons (optional but since I’m a coconut freak I couldn’t help myself!).
The crust is made with oats and pecans, so yeah it’s only raw-ish. But do you really care? I definitely don’t. It’s still healthy AF. Not that you’re dairy-loving relatives will know that! Just don’t tell them it’s healthy and everyone is happy!
Bonus: this cake is made entirely in a blender! It’s so easy, which to lazy ol’ me is a huge relief during the busy holiday season. Although you’ll need to build in some soak-time for the cashews, and some cooling time for the cake once it’s together.
But if you desperately need a raw vegan chocolate cashew caramel cheesecake ASAP here are some tips: 1. Cut the soak time of the cashews in half by covering them in boiling water; I add my cashews to a large bowl, add the hot water, cover with a dry cloth and soak for 4 hours at room temp. 2. If you need your cake to cool quickly, freeze until cold all the way through. If hard-frozen, thaw the cake for 20-30 minutes before serving.
And I have another special treat for you! Below is a little Facebook live cast of three holiday songs performed by my band Larkspur (me, Annabeth McNamara and Laurel Humiston) straight from a cozy corner of my living room! Including one original song I wrote and then we finished collaboratively!!! Watch me nervously do funny accents and waggle my eyebrows! Happy Hanna-Chrisma-Kwanzaa-Karma! 🙂 You can watch directly from Facebook here too.