Happy 2018 friends! I can’t believe January is almost OVER. I feel like 2017 went by literally in the blink of an eye and this year is already zooming past me at the speed of light. Is it just me or does time seem to keep going by faster and faster the older I get?! I mean, I think about when I was growing up and how each year seemed to last forever. Waiting for summer vacation to come?! Forget it. You basically have to wait 20 years. And nowadays, I sit down for lunch one Tuesday afternoon in January and blink my eyes open to a Saturday morning in November! Maybe I am just crazy. But I resolve to NOT let this year go by without being able to embrace each moment, and take in every memory.
With that comes a lot more of simply doing what I love. Sounds pretty easy right? To be honest, this first month of 2018 has been…. rough. Life has been throwing some curve balls my way, and I felt like it has taken me a while to regain my footing. But it has all taught me that life is too short to be doing anything that doesn’t bring me joy or doesn’t fuel my passions. Sorry… did I go to deep? Okay, let’s lighten it up. Sheesh! Long story short, I am excited to start writing more, dreaming bigger, and creating lots of exciting content on this little tropical tasty oasis that I have somehow neglected over the past couple months. SO. To start out this new year, I bring you one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE recipes.
I found this recipe from an instagram account that I love and have been following for a while (@dani_nemah). The original recipe was for vegan blackberry cheesecake bars. When I first replicated it, I made blueberry bars. And this time I wanted to twist it up and make an almond raspberry version. (Anyone else desperately obsessed with almond extract?) To my delight, they turned out wildly delicious. The best part (besides them being wildly delicious) is that they are super simple. So do yourself a favor and make these. (PS. for my vegans or gluten free bb’s out there, this is an actual divine gift that you do NOT want to miss out on.)
These beauts have two layers, obviously. The crust & the cheesecake. Can I take a poll of who is team crust and who is team cheesecake? I feel like this goes back to the age old debate of cake or frosting… (team frosting all the way, y’all.)
Okay. The base. The crust of these bars is made with my FAVORITE brand of granola. When I made these, I had literally four bags of different flavored Purely Elizabeth granola (found them on sale in Montana, okay. What’re you gonna do?). But of course I didn’t have just the plain original version so I had to make a run to Whole Foods (bummer). Crisis averted. You just blend one bag of this goodness with 1/3 cup of coconut oil.
Then, add this blended up crack to a pan (an 8″ by 8″ works great) lined with parchment paper and smoothen it out until it is evenly distributed.
You can then blend your second layer. The frosting, if you will. I would say this is my favorite layer, but the crust on these gives it a run for its money. And that is saying aLOT coming from me.
Anyways, you will need to soak 1 1/2 cups of cashews in water for roughly 3 hours. Then you blend with 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1 TBS almond extract, and the juice of one lemon. I blended in the raspberries after I had blended all the initial ingredients together so that I could leave them only coarsely blended so as to have some chunky chunks in them. Personal preference. I’m a chunk kinda gal. Then pour this over the first layer, and stick them in the freezer! Once they are totally frozen, take them out and cut them into squares!
And voila! You have little tiny squares of heaven. Don’t thank me. Really, don’t. Thank Dani. She is a genius.
- 1 bag Purely Elizabeth original granola
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- 1½ cup raw cashews, soaked (2-4 hours)
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 TBS almond extract
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¾ cup raspberries
- Soak your cashews in a bowl or jar of filtered water for about 3 hours.
- Blend your crust ingredients in a high speed blender. I use my Vitamix and it works like a dream.
- Add this to an 8"X8" pan lined with parchment paper. If you want thinner bars, use a bigger pan. If you want thicker bars, use a smaller pan.
- Evenly distribute the mixture on the bottom of the pan.
- Blend all your cheesecake ingredients in a high speed blender and add to the top of your first layer. Evenly distribute.
- Freeze pan until the bars have totally solidified (a couple hours).
- Once frozen, remove from freezer, remove parchment paper, and cut into squares!
- Bite in, fall in love, and enjoy! Store in freezer for future enjoyment.
xoxo, tessa jean.