Raw Mini Chocolate Mousse Cakes/"Cheesecakes"... Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Refined Sugar-Free. I get really excited when I try a recipe that checks all the boxes for a great dessert... healthy, easy, no-bake, make-ahead, delicious and guest-worthy. Not many desserts fall in those categories, but this dessert fits them all... and more. It's a fantastic dessert!
Over the last couple of years, I've slowly adapted using some raw ingredients/techniques in some of my recipes.... like using nuts to make a nut milk/flour, using dates/bananas as a sweetener, coconut oil as a fat, flax/chia seeds as a binder, etc... Some of the recipes I've made aren't totally raw, as they are either partially cooked or baked. But a few of the recipes have been amazing... completely raw. And this happens to be one of those recipes. A dessert I find could rival any baked cream/cheese based dessert. It's hard to tell this dessert doesn't use any type of dairy, or cheese, or cream... and you'd never guess it's mainly made with nuts, cacao and dates. Ok, and a few other ingredients... but all good:). Having said all this, I don't totally subscribe to a raw, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Paleo, etc... type of diet. Of course, if we have an intolerance to a certain type of food ingredient then I eliminate or minimize it. But for the most part, I like to implement all sorts of foods in our diet, from all food groups... be it cooked or raw. Personally, I find a good balance is key. Ah, to get that balance just right... getting off topic here:).
In any case, this dessert happens to be just perfect for the summer months... because it's a no-bake type of dessert. It's also a wonderful make-ahead dessert, as it stays in the freezer beautifully for days... so you can plan ahead and limit any last minute preparations. You can make this dessert as mini individual servings, which looks really nice for a dinner. But if you want, you can also make it as a larger cake... maybe an 8 inch square or round pan... and just cut in small pieces. Toppings are optional, but you can really get creative with so many variations. Hope you enjoy...
Note: While I chose to use half maple syrup and half honey, you can use either or... and you can definitely adjust sweetness to taste.
You will need: makes 12 mini cakes
1 cup raw pecans( can use nut of choice)
4 large medjool dates
2 TBS unsweetned finely shredded coconut
1 TBS dark cocoa/raw cacao
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups raw cashew pieces
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated orange zest(optional, but tasty)
1/3 +2 TBS raw cacao( or cocoa)
1/2 cup coconut oil(warmed to liquid in a bain marie)
pinch of salt
Topping: optional, to taste
unsweetened dried coconut
fresh raspberries, mashed
chocolate sauce/ grated chocolate
1. Place nuts, dates, coconut, salt, vanilla in food processor, process till combined and is a rough chop. Add the cacao and pulse till combined to a rough paste. The crust should stick together when pressed.
2. Place about 1 TBS of pecan chocolate crust into each mini pan well. Press down with fingers to firmly place the crust into pan. If you have any remaining crust just divide it evenly among the 12 mini wells.
3. Set the pan with crust aside. Make filling.
1. Place cashews into blender with honey, maple syrup, vanilla, and water.... orange zest, if using. Blend a bit till creamy.
2. Add in your cacao powder and melted coconut oil. Blend till creamy and smooth.
1. Divide chocolate filling evenly between the 12 mini cheesecake pan wells.... the filling should reach to the top. Add any chopped nuts and sprinkling of coconut, if desired.
2. Set the chocolate mousse cakes in freezer to set... for a few hours or until very firm.... or overnight.
3. Remove cakes from pan.... and decorate with extra chocolate shavings, nuts, melted chocolate, crushed raspberries/fruit, etc.
4. Allow the cakes to defrost a bit before serving... I like to place them in the fridge if I make them ahead to soften a bit so they won't be completely frozen.