We didn't go too nuts with sweet treats during the holidays this year – mostly because we were in the midst of moving and didn't have a lot of opportunity to bake cookies! We received a lovely batch of cookies from a friend for Christmas and enjoyed them all the more as we didn't have a chance to bake our own.
There was one dessert item that featured prominently this year, namely this Double Chocolate Chaga Cheesecake! I was hosting a dear friend for dinner a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to come up with something extra special for dessert. I came up with a chocolate & chaga combination, and played around with ingredient ratios until I got it just right. A solitary leftover piece was left out by the kids for Santa (along with carrots for the reindeer of course) and I made another full cheesecake for Christmas dinner with my great aunt and family.
I am not sure that this could be considered a health food, given the amount of sugar it contains, but there are lots of fantastic ingredients, so if you are going to go for dessert this might just be the way to go! Chaga is a medicinal mushroom, known for its cancer fighting properties. We are lucky to be able to harvest it here in Canada – the powder I used was a dual extract blend by Harmonic Arts. You can find out more about the benefits of Chaga here. Raw Cacao is another wonderful superfood, chock full of antioxidants and the feel good brain chemical seratonin. You can read about the wonders of Raw Cacao on this site.
Without further ado, here is the recipe. Enjoy!
Double Chocolate Chaga Cheesecake
3 cups organic cashews, soaked overnight
2 tsp chaga mushroom powder
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup water (you can also use steeped chaga tea and omit the mushroom powder)
1/8 tsp sea salt
3/4 c maple syrup
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp raw cacao
Combine crust ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture is crumbly. Do a pinch test, if the mixture sticks together you are good to go. Be careful not to process too much, you don't want nut butter! Press the crust in an even layer in the bottom of a spring form pan.
Combine filling ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth, using the tamper as needed. It can be helpful to melt the coconut oil before adding, although I have just tossed it in and it worked out fine. Pour the filling on top of the crust, jiggling the pan a bit to create an even surface. If you'd like you can also smooth the top with a spatula.
Let the cheesecake set in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Bring it out about 10 minutes before serving, as this makes it much easier to slice!
Quick & Easy Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can organic coconut milk (I like the Thai Kitchen Brand as it separates nicely in the can)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Drizzle maple syrup (you can adjust the amount based on personal preference)
Most of the directions I've found for coconut whipped cream instruct you to put your coconut milk in the fridge first. If you are using a new brand, and are not sure if it has separated in the can or not then this would be a good idea. I find the Thai Kitchen brand always separates, so I skipped this step.
Scoop out the cream, leaving the water for another use (smoothies perhaps!) Use a whisk to combine the coconut cream, vanilla extract and maple syrup, whipping until smooth. The whipped cream can be served right away, or you can pop it in the fridge ahead of time to thicken it up a bit.