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Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites [GF, DF, SF]

Santa Baby, Hurry Down the Chimney Tonight 

With a gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free chocolate and vanilla, cheesecake for me.

Sung to the tune of Santa Baby, in my best Eartha Kitt voice. 

Okay, these were an absolute hit at Christmas Eve dessert table! Kids and adults alike loved them and no one seemed to care that they were missing the gluten, dairy and refined sugar typically found in regular cheesecake. Not to mention, they're vegan.

Yes it is possible to make a dessert that ALL your guests will enjoy no matter their dietary preferences!  

Note: Map out your circles across the top of your chocolate layer. Save the scraps. 

To make these Santa hat cheesecake bites you will need a chocolate cheesecake with a coconut pecan base (I made it in a springform pan but you might consider using parchment paper cupcake liners), vanilla creme cooled in plastic baggies for easy squeezing and strawberries. That's it!

A few notes to keep in mind: 

Timing: The cake itself is quite easy to make but there is some required refrigeration/freezer time that draws the process out over the course of 2-3 hours. So you will want to plan for some extra time even though everything comes together rather quickly.

Sweetness: I based the chocolate and vanilla cheesecake layers on my layered pumpkin pie cheesecake with a few tweaks, which I'll share below. The coconut pecan base of this cheesecake is a little sweeter than my pumpkin pie cheesecake. So if you are not into the extra sweetness, simply make the other recipe for the crust.

The Recipe: As you read through the recipe below, don't be alarmed by the lengthiness. Typically you can make everything in fewer steps (see the Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake), but due to the artistic nature of making the Santa hats, more steps were required. All in all it's a fun process and even better when you see the kid's faces light up on Christmas Eve!

Chocolate & Vanilla, Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, Grain Free
Author: Jessica Yeager
 
Serving Size: Makes about 27 Santa Hats

Ingredients

For the crust
2 cups pecans
2 cups dates
1 cup shredded coconut
2 Tbsp maple syrup
 
For the Chocolate Filling (make this first)
1.5 cups cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 Hu Kitchen chocolate bar, melted
1 16oz can coconut cream, chilled in fridge 
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp cacao powder
1.5 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
 
For the Vanilla Filling (make this second)
1.5 cups cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 16oz can coconut cream, chilled in fridge 
1/4 cup maple syrup
8 dates, pits removed 
1/2 lemon, peel & seeds removed
1.5 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
 
For the Santa Hats
27 strawberries, greens removed
A small circle cookie cutter or lid, about 2-3 inches in diameter
A small, easy to use knife for carving out the circles

Get the Goods

First make the crust

1. In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients until sticky and crumbly
2. Using a spring form pan, press mixture evenly into the bottom 
3. Place in freezer to harden as you make the filling

Next make the chocolate filling

1. In a high powered blender, combine the cashews, coconut cream, maple syrup, cacao powder, coconut oil and vanilla extract and blend until smooth
2. In a small saucepan, place the bar of chocolate and melt slowly over medium heat 
3. Add the melted chocolate to the blender and blend all ingredients together
4. Remove crust from freezer and pour the chocolate mixture over the base 
5. Place back in freezer to set which takes about 2 hours

Next make the vanilla filling

1. In a high powered blender, combine the cashews, coconut cream, maple syrup, dates, lemon, coconut oil and vanilla extract and blend until smooth 
2. Pour the vanilla mixture into two small plastic freezer bags (which you will use as a DIY cake piping bag unless you have the fancy ones - then use them!)
3. Seal the vanilla bags and place them into the freezer to set (again takes about 2 hours)

Now Assemble the Santa Hats

1. Start with the chocolate layer first (remove the springform pan side)
2. Using a small cookie cutter or lid, map out your circles over top (see pic above)
3. Using a knife, carve out the circles (save all the extra scraps, you will need these)
4. Place on a tray or in a baking dish to prevent movement 
5. Once you finish the cutting the circles, gather up all the scraps and using your hands create more circles 
6. Next take your vanilla bags and cut a snip at one of the bottom corners
7. Squeeze some vanilla (about 1.5 Tbsp) over top of each chocolate circle
8. Take a strawberry and place on top of each vanilla creme layer (pressing down to create the fluffy white part of the hat) 
9. Then squeeze a little vanilla creme on each of the strawberry tips to create the white fluffy ball on Santa's hat
10. That's it! If you are transporting these, I recommend placing back in the freezer until you are ready to go and then draping a towel softly over top of the tray so not to squish any hats! 

Notes

  • Coconut cream: I use Organic Heavy Coconut Cream by Let's Do Organic. You can also use the top from any canned coconut milk. Just place in the refrigerator for a few hours beforehand to separate the cream from the liquid. 
  • Storage: These will last nicely in the freezer if you have extras
  • No spring form pan: You can also use a pie dish. But make sure it is nice and deep because the layers do stack up nice and high.  
  • Naturally sweet: I love the subtle sweetness of this pie but be sure to taste test as you go to ensure your desired level of sweetness is reached. 
  • For the lemon: You are not using just the juice, use the whole half of the lemon. Use a knife to peel off the skin, then remove any seeds and toss it in the blender. 

DO TELL...Who do you think would LOVE these Santa Hats? Share it with them!


This recipe was created by Jessica Yeager, CNE  <–click the link and come hang out on FB with me!

Or tag me on the gram with #jessicayeagercne if you make this recipe! I LOVE seeing your creations <3 

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