Category Archives: sweet

Celebrate Cooler Temperatures With Vegan, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

It’s already fall where we live, and our thoughts naturally turn to pumpkin treats. And what is more autumnal than pumpkin pie? Normally, this cool weather delicacy is made with eggs and condensed milk, but our vegan, gluten-free version calls for unsweetened almond milk and cornstarch (or arrowroot powder). The texture is more jiggly than a traditional pumpkin pie, but our version still tastes great and goes down smooth!

CRUST INGREDIENTS

6 tablespoons cold vegan butter or margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour (we used Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour for a light, flakey crust)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6-8 teaspoons cold water

FILLING INGREDIENTS

3 cups pumpkin puree (2 15-ounce cans)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup turbinado or coconut sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 3/4 teaspoon combination of powdered cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg (or allspice)
dash of sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour flour into large mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt, and cut in the butter or margarine. Gradually splash in the water and form your mixture into a pliable ball. Make sure it’s neither too moist or too dry. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, combine the filling ingredients in another bowl and stir vigorously until they’re thoroughly combined. For additional smoothness, place the contents into a blender and whip for a couple of extra minutes. The texture should be light and frothy.

Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to warm on your counter for a few minutes. Roll into a thin disk and press inside lightly greased pie pan. (Use coconut oil, olive oil, or vegan butter/margarine). Pull any excess dough up over the sides of the pan and tamp with the tines of a fork to create a crust. Carefully pour in batter, making sure it is spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with a bit of additional cinnamon and/or nutmeg and place in preheated 350 degree oven.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, until crust is lightly browned and separating slightly from the pan. You’ll know your pie is done by the delicious aroma! Remove pie from oven, set it on your counter, and allow it to cool. Seriously, try not to eat all of it while it’s still hot! Pumpkin pie tastes best at room temperature. Serve as is or with a dollop of vegan whipping cream (or two, or three, or…) Serves 4-6 guests, unless they’re very hungry. Everyone will rave about this delicious autumnal treat. Welcome to fall!

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You Won’t Be Able to Stop Eating This Vegan, Gluten-Free Rhubarb/Pear/Almond Crumble!

It already feels like autumn where we live, and we’re craving warmer, heartier foods. Of course, sweet desserts are delicious any time of the year. We recently modified a traditional rhubarb/pear/almond crumble recipe by substituting Earth Balance for butter, and gluten-free flour for the whole wheat kind. Our results were stellar. You’ll keep going back to the pan for this dessert — again, and again and again. Try your hardest not to devour the entire thing!

FILLING INGREDIENTS

2-3 Bartlett pears, depending on size (red is great, but yellow will do)
2 long stalks fresh rhubarb
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup lightly packed turbinado or coconut sugar
1/2 cup light gluten-free flour (We like Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose)
fresh grated zest of one lemon
pinch of sea salt

CRUMBLE INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/4 cup lightly packed turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 teaspoons vegan butter or margarine such as Earth Balance

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast the almonds for 5-10 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. Cut pears into thin slices and cut rhubarb into small chunks. The rhubarb’s texture may seem much harder than the pear’s, but both will soften nicely while baking and achieve the same consistency. Using a large bowl, mix the pears and rhubarb together with the other filling ingredients. Set on counter to marinate for 10-15 minutes.

Grab another bowl and combine the crumble ingredients, except for the butter or margarine. Cut the butter or margarine into small pieces and stir into the mixture. It’s okay if it comes out a bit lumpy, since the butter/margarine will melt in the oven, anyway! No point in worrying when you’re so close to your goal!

Pour the filling into a square pan and spread evenly. Spread the crumble mixture across the top and sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired. A little bit of cinnamon goes a long way! Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool, but not too much! Your crumble is best served hot.

Call 3-4 of your best friends and tell them to come over immediately, so the dessert won’t be gone before they arrive. The crumble serves 4-5 people with ease. We love it as is, but you can get fancy with added vegan ice cream and/or whipped cream. With so much sugar, this dessert is not a diet food, but it IS 100% vegan, gluten-free, and scrumptious. Welcome, autumn!

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Baba Ghanoush — Naturally Vegan, and a Cinch to Prepare!

You’ve most likely had hummus, but have you tried its sweeter, lighter cousin, baba ghanoush? Baba ghanoush is a lot like hummus, since it has a tahini base. However, instead of adding garbanzo beans, this recipe utilizes roasted eggplant. The result is equally delicious. Our light but zesty meal is easy to make, and perfect for warm summer nights. You can serve it with gluten-free pita bread or with gluten-free toast points sprinkled with thyme, olive oil or vegan butter, and a bit of granulated garlic. We feel confident that you’ll love this dish either way.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium-sized eggplant
2-3 cloves minced garlic
juice of one large lemon
4 tablespoons tahini
sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro, parsley or basil (We used basil, yum!)
small amount of water

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

roasted gluten-free pita bread
regular gluten-free bread
chopped thyme
chopped garlic or garlic salt
olive oil or vegan margarine/butter such as Earth Balance
sliced vegetables such as carrots, celery, zucchini, green or red peppers, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and place in a large, flat pan or cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and olive oil and broil in oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully so the slices don’t burn! They should be pulpy and slightly browned. Peel skin from eggplant and either eat, compost, or discard.

Cut the eggplant pulp into small pieces and place in a blender or food processor. Add the tahini, a dash of sea salt, herbs, lemon juice, and combine thoroughly. If your mixture is too thick, add a bit of water until it becomes creamy and smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Serve with sliced vegetables of your choice, and gluten-free bread or toast points. To make toast points, slather bread with a liberal amount of olive oil or vegan butter/margarine. Sprinkle with chopped thyme and granulated garlic. Broil in oven until the toast is brown and slightly crispy around the edges. Cut the toast in half and serve!

This recipe serves 2-3 people. If you have more guests, feel free to increase ingredient portions accordingly. Great as either a main or a side dish. Get creative! You can add falafels, hummus, or other Middle Eastern cuisine to make a larger meal. Keeps well in your refrigerator for several days. Homemade baba ghanoush is so much more delicious than the store-bought variety! Once you’ve prepared this version, we feel confident you’ll agree.

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Corn, Tomato, and Cannellini Bean Salad is a Cold But Nourishing Summer Meal

When the weather is this hot, who feels like cooking? On the other hand, we tire easily in the heat and need nourishment more than ever. Such a conundrum! Fortunately, we have discovered a recipe that is incredibly simple and quick to make. The entire process takes about fifteen minutes! You’ll love the delightful simplicity of this delicious, protein-rich meal. The addition of gluten-free garlic/sage toast makes it more filling. Great for potlucks or a quick at-home meal.

SALAD INGREDIENTS

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans (also called “white beans”)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (try different colors for a visual sensation!)
1 ear fresh sweet corn
large handful of fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

TOAST INGREDIENTS

Olive oil or vegan butter/margarine such as Earth Balance
8-10 pieces of gluten-free bread
1-2 tablespoons fresh sage, shredded and chopped (remove those stems!)
2-3 minced cloves of fresh garlic, or garlic salt to taste (make sure salt is not iodized)

SALAD INSTRUCTIONS

Drain beans thoroughly and pour into a large mixing bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the corn cob and add to bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, shredded basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with sea salt (not the iodized variety!) and fresh ground black pepper. Toss the mixture until it’s thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl and place it in your refrigerator for 1-2 hours until chilled enough to eat.

TOAST INSTRUCTIONS

Slather 8-10 pieces of gluten-free bread with vegan butter or margarine, or drizzle with olive oil. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and sprinkle dried sage on top. Add minced garlic or garlic salt to taste. Place the cookie sheet in oven at low broil setting. Broil for 2-3 minutes until bread is brown and slightly crispy around the edges. Do not burn! Remove from oven and allow excess oil to drain. Cut bread in half and arrange artfully on a plate.

Spread liberal amounts of salad across your toast and dig in! You’ll be in heaven, and your guests will be, too. This nourishing dish serves 4-6 people, depending on everyone’s appetite levels. Be sure to hydrate with fresh water! Of course, there’s always room for gluten-free, vegan beer or wine, if that’s your sort of thing. And maybe some fresh gazpacho! (See last week’s recipe). Happy summer! Have fun and stay cool in the heat.

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Nothing Says Summer Like Strawberry Gazpacho!

Cold soup is manna to your throat on a hot summer day. When the outdoor temperatures soar, appetites often plummet. However, you don’t want sunshine to cause you to sacrifice good eating or proper nutrition! This vegan, gluten-free recipe is incredibly easy to make (and inexpensive!), and you won’t have to spend hours slaving over a hot stove. The addition of strawberries to the traditional gazpacho recipe makes the dish sweet and extra-zesty. You can top the soup with gluten-free croutons and/or sliced strawberries if you’d like to get fancy. Here’s how:

SOUP INGREDIENTS
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (We used red. Any color will do).
1 cup chopped cucumber, peeled
2 cups chopped strawberries
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable broth (make sure it’s wheat-free!)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

CROUTON INGREDIENTS
3-4 slices gluten free bread, chopped into cubes
3-4 springs thyme, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
olive oil for pan (about 1 tablespoon)

SOUP INSTRUCTIONS

Place all soup ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on medium setting until thoroughly combined. If mixture is too thick, add additional vegetable broth. It should have a nice, creamy consistency and appealing color. That’s really all there is to it! Pour into container, cover securely, and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Serve with croutons and/or additional sprigs of thyme.

CROUTON INSTRUCTIONS

Cut your gluten-free bread into small chunks and dice garlic. Chop the thyme into tiny pieces. Coat the bottom of a small pan with olive oil and fry the garlic until it’s slightly browned. Add the bread cubes and continue frying until they begin to turn brown. Make sure not to burn! Add the thyme and fry for another 2-3 minutes until bread is golden brown and all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Remove bread from pan and allow excess olive oil to drain. Sprinkle croutons and/or sliced strawberries on top of your gazpacho and serve!

This magnificent dish serves 5-6 people. It pairs well with a small salad or an additional loaf of gluten-free bread. For a festive experience, serve outdoors with a pitcher of lemonade, a glass or two of vegan white wine, or a mug of gluten-free beer. Your guests will love this summery meal, and you will, too. It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to four days, but don’t wait that long to consume it! Have a lovely summer, and stay cool!

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Casserole is Delicious Any Time of Year!

When we think of sweet potatoes, we usually envision Thanksgiving dinner. However, this vitamin-packed, naturally sweet vegetable is great during any season. Did you realize that sweet potatoes are high in fiber, and filled with vitamin C, potassium, vitamins B3, B5 and B6, copper and magnesium? They’re one of the most nutritious foods you could ever place inside your mouth. And so good! If you have leftover applesauce, this recipe is a great way to utilize it. You can take this casserole to a Fourth of July potluck as a side dish, or serve it at home with a salad and/or loaf of gluten-free bread. The possibilities are endless! For a festive touch, we used purple sweet potatoes for our recipe, but you can use the more common orange ones, as well.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups sweet potatoes (approximately 4 small or 2 large)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt (NOT the iodized variety)
pinch of ground nutmeg or cloves
1 cup chopped pecans
extra pinch of cinnamon for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and roast in your oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour until thoroughly soft. Remove from oven and cut in half. Allow the pieces to cool. Scoop the softened portion from the skin and discard or eat the skin. Place sweet potato pulp in blender or food processor with the applesauce and combine thoroughly. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on your stovetop and pour into mixture. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg (or cloves), and salt and continue blending. Your mixture should be smooth and creamy, but not runny.

Ladle the mixture into a square baking pan and sprinkle chopped pecans across the top. Be sure to spread them evenly. Add a sprinkle of extra cinnamon if you desire. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until the casserole bubbles slightly around the edges, and the pecans are a dark brown color (but not burned).

Remove from oven and allow to cool on your counter. Serves 4-6 people as a generous side dish. This casserole is so sweet, you can even enjoy it as a dessert! Pairs well with a side of vegetables, salad, brown rice, quinoa, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. If you have leftovers, cover tightly and keep them in the refrigerator. Delicious whether hot or cold! And don’t forget the gluten-free beer or wine. Every day is a reason for celebration! Bon Appetit.

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Start Your Day With These Delectable Vegan, Gluten-Free Morning Glory Muffins

Morning glory muffins have been a favorite of ours for many years. However, when we started pursuing a vegan, gluten-free diet, we discovered that many of our favorite coffee shops had left us out in the cold when it came to these delectable muffins. Almost all of the recipes use butter, eggs and/or milk. This makes them decidedly off-limits. If you love morning glory muffins as much as we do, you may have experienced this depressing scenario, yourself. Have no fear! We’ve discovered a recipe that utilizes your favorite ingredients — raisins, walnuts, apples, etc. However, it substitutes flax seeds for eggs, and coconut oil for butter. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth concoction that will leave you wanting more!

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons flax seeds plus 6 tablespoons water
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (lighter is better)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (almond is great!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 apple, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins (use golden variety for a special treat)
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the flax seeds with water and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg or cloves. Melt coconut oil on stove and combine in a second, larger bowl with flax mixture, coconut oil, vanilla, applesauce, coconut sugar, and non-dairy milk. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Your batter should be moist but not runny. Add carrots, walnuts, raisins, apple chunks, and coconut and make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Grease a 12-muffin pan with additional coconut oil, or use paper liners. Pour the batter into each receptacle. Bake in a pre-heated, 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Your kitchen will smell good enough to eat! The muffins are done when you stick a fork or toothpick in the middle, and it comes out clean.

If you play your cards right, you’ll have twelve muffins that are more or less the same size. They’re great for breakfast, lunch, or as a mid-afternoon snack. Though small, they’re surprisingly hearty and really pack a wallop! You can eat them as is (scrumptious!) or with a dab of vegan butter. If you invite folks over to your house for muffins, they’ll be your friends for life. Enjoy!

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Celebrate Barbeque Season With Tofu/Melon/Pepper Skewers

It’s May already, which means the official beginning of barbeque season! Some of you might be catching whiffs of your neighbor’s meat-based cuisine and wondering what on earth you can cook that didn’t come from an animal. Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with these delightful tofu/melon/pepper skewers! The marinade is light but zesty, due to the inclusion of red pepper flakes, and the heat from your grill will impart a subtle crispiness to the tofu. You won’t even miss the meat, and your carnivorous friends may even ask you for a bite or two. Make sure they ask nicely.

INGREDIENTS
I block (14 ounces) tofu
1 red, yellow, or green pepper
¼ melon of your choice
½ red onion
1 tablespoon tamari
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Dash of sea salt

SWEET CHILI LIME DIPPING SAUCE
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of sea salt

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (For skewers)
Cherry tomatoes
Pineapple chunks
Tempeh pieces

INSTRUCTIONS
Cut tofu, pepper, onion and pepper (and other ingredients, if desired) into large, bite-sized chunks. Mix tamari, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and sea salt in a small bowl. Put tofu chunks in marinade and let them sit for approximately half an hour. Afterward, remove tofu from marinade and place on skewers, alternating with peppers, onion, melon, and any other vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle additional tamari mixture on top. Vegetables and tofu should be pressed together on skewer, but not too tightly.

Place skewers on grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently. Tofu should be slightly browned and a bit crispy around the edges. Vegetables should be soft but not mushy. Remove from grill and serve with dipping sauce. You can serve this tasty dish by itself, or with a small salad and/or loaf of gluten-free bread. We put ours on a bed of fresh arugula and served it with a dab of light, zesty lemon dressing, and it tasted great. We think you’ll agree.

Serves 2 hungry people, or 3-4 not-so-hungry people. We know from experience that the dish pairs exceptionally well with vegan, gluten-free beer. Hopefully you can enjoy this fun meal on a warm evening, while seated in your yard while the last rays of sunshine beam onto your plate. Bon appetit, and relax –it’s almost summer!

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Hearty and Delicious Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

This winter has been an especially long one, and we find ourselves longing for sweet treats that won’t make us feel too guilty. Nothing is more satisfying on a cold winter’s day than a piping hot bowl of apple crisp. If you’re following a vegan, gluten-free diet, you might wonder how you can enjoy this succulent treat without butter and dairy-based ice cream. Have no fear, the dessert can be made to your specific dietary needs. We think it tastes even better than the milk-infused version.

CRISP INGREDIENTS
6-8 medium-sized apples (enough to make 6 cups. You can use several different types at once, from tart to sweet).
Dash of fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

TOPPING INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
¼ cup gluten-free flour (We used Bob’s Red Mill rice flour, it works great)
½ cup gluten-free oats (old-fashioned, not quick)
¼ cup almond meal
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup melted vegan butter or margarine (We used Earth Balance, with stellar results)

INSTRUCTIONS
Hearty and Delicious Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp Chop apples into chunks. You can remove peels if you like, but it’s not really necessary. Peels are full of vitamins. Pour apple chunks into a large bowl and sprinkle them with lemon juice. Add turbinado sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Toss mixture until thoroughly combined and spread into greased 9X9 pan. We used coconut oil for the coating. It has a sweet, subtle flavor that is great for this dessert.

Meanwhile, wash and dry bowl so you can re-use it. Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, melted butter, almond meal, cinnamon and salt until the consistency is similar to wet sand. Spread evenly across the top of the apple mixture and pop into a pre-heated, 375 degree oven.

The mouth-watering scent of apple crisp will fill you with anticipation and nostalgia as the dessert heats up in your oven. Let it bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and slightly bubbly. The apples should be soft but not mushy.

Place the pan on your counter and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes. Serve toasty warm! This dessert is great by itself or with a scoop of vegan ice cream. It’s big enough for 6-8 people, so be sure to invite everyone you know. You won’t have any shortage of friends. Cheer up – spring isn’t so far away after all.

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Treat Yourself to Some Sweetness With Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

Contrary to what Anthony Bourdain once stated, vegans are foodies. We don’t subsist on a diet of nuts and berries, and many of us love sweet treats. If you’ve given up dairy products, you might occasionally long for a creamy dessert. Cheesecake was one of the things we missed the most, until we discovered that silken tofu, whipped in a blender, makes a concoction similar to cream cheese. The walnut/maple syrup crust is gluten-free and delicious. This recipe is inexpensive, easy to make, and well worth a try.

INGREDIENTS
4 cups ground walnuts (if you own a grinder, this part should go quickly. If you do the grinding by hand, like we did, the process will take longer, and your walnuts will be coarser)
¼ cup maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup!)
2 lbs silken tofu
1 cup turbinado sugar (not commercial white sugar, it’s usually NOT vegan)
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt (not the iodized commercial variety)
2 tablespoons lemon zest (approximately 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS
Crush walnuts to the best of your ability and combine with maple syrup. Mixture will be slightly sticky, but not gooey. Press the mixture inside a greased cake pan (we love coconut oil, but olive is good, as well) and place into refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Make lemon zest by rubbing a lemon against a fine grater until the peel is completely grated. Then combine the tofu, lemon zest, sugar, almond butter, vanilla extract, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon in a blender or food processor and whip until smooth and frothy.

Remove pan from refrigerator and pour mixture directly into crust. Be sure to fill completely to the top. Your cheesecake will not rise while cooking, so you needn’t worry about overfilling. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. The edges will be slightly browned, but the center should be slightly wobbly. Remove from oven, set on counter to cool for 1 hour, then transfer to refrigerator and chill for 2-3 hours.

cheesecake

This cheesecake will be somewhat heartier than the conventional variety, with a thicker texture. Serve as is, or with fresh berries or a drizzle of vegan chocolate sauce. Serves 6, but everyone had better be hungry. Your dessert keeps well in the refrigerator and will taste even better the next day. Yum! Enjoy.

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