My recent move from the swamps of Florida to the hills of New Jersey + a post-college-existential crisis = an exciting and draining past couple of months. Between commuting into New York City, trying to find my footing and trying to keep my head on straight, I've had a hard time finding the energy to do things I previously loved... But lately things seem on the upswing. Maybe it's the new year, maybe that I can see spring on my calender, but I'm starting to feel like myself again. I'm currently revamping my entire herbal line (branding, formulas, the whole sha-bang), getting a decent start on my herbal final paper - and I'm back to crafting in the kitchen.
When I first discovered raw veganism back in college, I was enamored with raw vegan desserts, especially cheesecakes. They provided me with a creative outlet, something that I lacked growing up. Back then, every trip home from college was another reason to create another cheesecake. Throughout 2012, my cheesecakes were just as much emotional medicine as they were physical sustenance. Pomegranate cheesecake with a salted chocolate crust for the weekend that my sister and I dealt with ridiculous, borderline circus family drama, a creamy yet fluffy strawberry cheesecake for the week I spent in the hospital with my grandmother, and now, mini strawberry rose cheesecakes to celebrate my survival of winter and getting through yet another funk.
This recipe is as much about delicious dessert as it is medicine for the soul. Roses are one of my favorite forms of medicine - they help us soften from a place of healthy boundaries, allowing us to open up to those around us while feeling safe and protected. They inspire us to take care of ourselves, and to remember that we are just as sacred, beautiful and worthy of admiration as they themselves are. Coconut is cooling, grounding, and full of healthy, stable fats - making it useful for those of us who tend to be spacey and a bit too airy. The Strawberries provide a delightful color, and remind us of the sweet bounty of summer.
Make sure you soak your cashews 30 minutes to 2 hours ahead! It makes them easier to blend in the blender, and makes them much easier to digest.
Strawberry-Rose Mini Cheesecakes
Raw + Vegan + Gluten Free / Serves 12
- 1 cup oats, ground into flour
- 1 cup dates, soaked in hot water to moisten
- 3 tbsp shredded coconut + more for the bottom of the pan
- 1 tbsp rose petals
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 C soaked cashews
- 1/2 C strawberries
- 4 T maple syrup
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1/4 C date water
- 1-3 tsp rose water (optional - otherwise they will be yummy strawberry-lemon cheesecakes)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 T chia seeds
- 4 T melted coconut oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Soak 1 C of dates/dried food in some hot water to moisten them, drain (save the water for the filling)
- In a food processor, process oats until they are flour-like
- Add soaked dates, coconut, rose petals, vanilla extract and salt and process until it sticks together when you pinch it
- Press crust into a lightly oiled and slightly coconut-dusted muffin pan, and place in the freezer
- Blend together cashews, strawberries, maple syrup, lemon juice, date water, 1 tsp rose water (add more if you want it), and vanilla extract until smooth
- While the blender is on low, add the chia seeds, melted coconut oil and salt
- Spoon mixture into your muffin tins, and freeze
Within 30 minutes, your cheesecakes will be the perfect consistency for snacking (though I ate some without freezing - delicious). Store them in the freezer, covered. They're best served slightly dethawed.
~~ Substitutions: you can use raisins instead of dates, any liquid sweetner instead of maple syrup, and almonds instead of oats! You do need to use cashews in the base, and the melted coconut oil is important for setting - other than that, feel free to switch it around ~~
I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it reminds you that the warmth and color of spring and summer will return, even if its currently -13 degrees outside with windchill.
Here's to having the energy to do the things we love,
xoxo - Blaire