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Jan 24, 2017

Chocolate No Bake Cheesecakes (gluten free + vegan)

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How are the New Year's Resolutions going? So far so good over here, which is why it's been a bit quiet on the site this past month. My eating habits got a bit (read: a lot) lax toward the end of 2016 and needed reigned back in. It's so easy to make excuses and put off cleaning up bad habits during the holidays.

I set a few goals to start out 2017 on a better track. I will turn 35 next month, and while it's not like I'm reaching retirement age or anything, I know that focusing on my health is more important than ever. I want to always be able to chase after my kids, and be around for every part of their lives. What starts as one bad habit can easily turn into many. I've been feeling the effects of not keeping my diet and exercise in check and I am super motivated right now to correct it!

On that note though, every diet needs a bit of wiggle room for a delicious dessert! In all seriousness, I personally can stick to a healthy(ier) eating plan so much better when I allow myself the occasional treat. This treat was one that was easy to enjoy. It isn't overly sweet and has just enough rich chocolate flavor without going overboard. It's also a perfect little dessert for Valentine's Day, which will be here before we know it!

Chocolate No Bake Cheesecakes (gluten free + vegan)

2 cups gluten free pretzels
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp sugar

2 cups dairy free milk 
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
8 oz. dairy free cream cheese alternative, plain flavor, at room temperature 

1/2 container So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip 
1/4 tsp LorAnn Oils Cheesecake flavor (optional)
finely shaved dairy free chocolate, mini chocolate chips, or a dusting of cocoa powder for garnish

Instructions - 
for the crust: 
Place the pretzels in a food processor and pulse until ground into crumbs. Add the sugar and pulse just until combined. Add the melted coconut oil and stir. Spoon the pretzel mixture into a silicone mold (like this one) and press down firmly to compact the crumbs into a crust. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes.

for the filling: 
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and cocoa powder. Turn burner on to medium heat and pour in the dairy free milk. Whisk to combine, and continue whisking occasionally until the mixture gets hot and begins to thicken. Once the filling is thick (but not boiling), remove from the heat. Stir in the chocolate extract and salt.  Fold the cream cheese alternative into the filling mixture until completely combined.

for the topping:
In a medium bowl, fold the cheesecake flavor into the CocoWhip. Scoop the CocoWhip into a piping bag and place in the refrigerator to chill (or place the bowl in the fridge to chill). 

to assemble: 
Spoon the filling mixture evenly on top of the crusts and place the mold into the freezer for 1 hour (or the refrigerator for 3-4 hours) to set up. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecakes and the CocoWhip from the refrigerator. Pipe (or spoon) CocoWhip onto each cheesecake and top with shaved chocolate, mini chocolate chips or dust with cocoa powder. Serve cold!

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