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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Egg-Free Black and White Cheesecake Bars (Vegan version available)

I wanted to use the silken tofu I had in my fridge for a dessert, but was not really sure what to make. I had only ever made smoothies with silken tofu, so I decide to do some research on the interwebs. I came across everything from pies to puddings, but did not find anything that would satisfy my craving in the moment. Additionally, most of the recipes would require me to go shopping for ingredients I did not have. Using what I already had at home, I came up with this recipe for egg-free cheesecake bars.

RECIPE
Crust
1 box Graham cracker crumbs (or take Graham crackers and crush them into crumbs)
1 stick butter, melted (for vegan version, use 1/2 c of a non-dairy margarine like Earth Balance)
1/4 c agave nectar

Filling
2 pkg 12oz silken tofu, soft
2 pkg 8oz low fat cream cheese (for vegan version, use non-dairy cream cheese like Tofutti)
1 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
6oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used the Trader Joe's brand, about half a bag)
1 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, mix together the Graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sweetener. Pat down the crust into a baking sheet (make sure the sheet has some depth). The bigger the baking sheet, the thinner the bars will be.  

For the filling, blend tofu and cream cheese, then transfer to a mixing bowl and add white sugar. Transfer half of the mixture into another mixing bowl. For the "White" portion of the bars, add vanilla and brown sugar to one half of the mixture. 

For the "Black" portion of the bars, you will need to melt the chocolate chips. Bring a cup of water in a saucepan  add the chocolate chips to a heat-resistant bowl (glass Pyrex or metal mixing bowl), and place the bowl on the sauce pan. Make sure the bowl has a greater diameter than the saucepan so it does not fall in. Constantly stir the chocolate chips over the heated water until melted. Make sure that water DOES NOT mix with the melted chocolate because it WILL ruin the chocolate. Add the melted chocolate to the other half of the cream mixture.

Now comes the layering! Take the "Black" mixture and spread evenly over the crust using a spatula. Once covered, do the same with the "White" mixture. Make sure the layers DO NOT MIX! Pop this into the oven and let bake for 30 minutes or so. When the top layer forms cracks, the bars are finished. Take the bars out of the oven and let chill. Once cooled, slice the cheesecake into bars, store in a freezer safe container, and freeze. Once the bars are frozen, feel free to enjoy!


TIPS
For Coconut Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars, spread peanut butter on slices of the cheesecake bars and top with toasted sweetened coconut flakes. NOTE: To toast flakes, empty the amount desired into a pan that has been heating on the stove at medium heat. constantly stir the flakes until they are evenly golden and toasty.   




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