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pina colada cheesecake bars on parchment paper

Vegan Piña Colada Cheesecake Bars

Nisha Vora
Enjoy a virtual tropical vacation with these Vegan Piña Colada Cheesecake Bars! The crust is made with macadamia nuts, coconut and gingersnaps, and the cheesecake filling is sweet yet a little tart, creamy and decadent but 100% vegan.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 cheesecake bars

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 5 ounces vegan gingersnap cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (can sub coconut flakes)
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts (can substitute with pecans)
  • 1 pinch sea salt (if your macadamia nuts are salted, be very sparing with salt)
  • 4 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

Cheesecake Filling

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 8 hours or overnight
  • 3/4 cup refrigerated coconut cream (I used canned coconut cream, but you can also scoop out the thick white portion from a refrigerated can of coconut milk)
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (70-75g) organic cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 medium orange, zested
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp Malibu, or other coconut rum (optional)
  • 8 oz can crushed pineapple or freshly crushed pineapple, juice reserved

Topping

  • 1 small fresh pineapple, diced (or pre-chopped fresh pineapple)
  • coconut flakes, toasted

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Make sure you’ve refrigerated your canned coconut milk or canned coconut cream for 24 hours so that it is solidified.
  • Soak your cashews in cold water for 8 hours. Drain the cashews and rinse.
  • Prepare the pan. Set a rack in the lower middle position. Line an 8x8-inch (20x20 cm) square pan or 9x9-inch (23x23 cm) square pan with parchment paper.

Make the crust

  • In a food processor, blend the gingersnaps and macadamia nuts until they are finely ground. Then add the coconut flakes, salt, and melted coconut oil. Blend until the crust comes together and can be pressed between your fingers. If the mixture is not sticky enough, add a splash more of coconut oil (or maple syrup, if you’d like more sweetness).
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C and wipe out the food processor bowl. 
  • Press the crust into the bottom of the lined baking pan and press it down evenly on the bottom of the pan (I use a flat-bottomed measuring cup to get the crust even). Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set while you make the filling

Make the cheesecake filling

  • Add the soaked and drained cashews and coconut cream to the food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese. Add the cream cheese, coconut oil, lemon juice, sugar, arrowroot powder, and salt. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. 
  • Add the orange zest, vanilla, rum (if using), and 4 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice. Blend briefly to incorporate. Remove the food processor blade and gently fold in the crushed pineapple with a spoon or spatula. 

Bake the cheesecake

  • Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the refrigerated crust and smooth out the top with a silicone spatula. 
    NOTE: if using an 8x8-inch pan, you will likely have a bit of extra batter leftover.
  • Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the edges look very slightly dry and the center appears just a little jiggly but not wiggly. Mine took exactly 40 minutes.
  • Let the bars rest for 15 minutes at room temperature, then transfer the pan to the refrigerator. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. 
  • Before serving, top with fresh diced pineapple and toasted coconut flakes. Slice into bars. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Notes

* To solidify the coconut cream, refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk for 24 hours or more. Most cans will yield 1/2-3/4 cup of solid coconut cream. You can also buy canned coconut cream separately
** I like Tofutti vegan cream cheese because it really tastes like classic cream cheese. If you can’t find vegan cream cheese, you can omit it and use more cashews and coconut cream. You will need to increase the amount of each of those ingredients: use 2 1/4 cups/305-315g raw cashews (instead of 1 1/2 cup) and use 1 cup (240g) coconut cream (instead of 3/4 cup), along with an additional tablespoon of lemon juice.
*** Using canned pineapple is easiest, but if you have fresh pineapple, you’ll get even more tropical fruity flavor. To crush fresh pineapple, add pineapple chunks to a food processor and pulse a few times until the pineapple is in small pieces (about 2/3 cup). To get pineapple juice, add more pineapple chunks to a food processor with some water (1/4 cup water for 2 cups pineapple), blend until you have a smooth puree, and then strain over a fine mesh sieve.
Keyword bars, cheesecake, pina colada, vegan
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