These magical-in-your-mouth bites of ultimate creaminess with a crunchy chocolate crust and a sprinkle of straight-up cuteness are basically going to be your newest Halloween treat obsession. Nothing can compare to the spicy bursts of cinnamon and caramel-y coconut sugar and a ridiculously smooth toasted cashew cheesecake filling on top of the richest, crunchiest chocolate crust ever. Finish it up with cute jack-o-lantern faces made from melted chocolate, get creative, and have fun!
Mini Jack-o’-Lantern Cheesecakes [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Cheesecake:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flax meal
- 3 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons warm water
- 1 1/4 cups roasted cashews, covered in water and soaked overnight
- 2/3 cups pumpkin purée
- 5 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- A pinch of salt
For the Crust:
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature (it should be the consistency of softened butter)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons coconut flour, sifted (approximately 31 grams — weigh if you can)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- A pinch of salt
For the Jack o' Lantern Face:
- 2 ounces vegan dark chocolate
- 1/4 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
- Mint sprigs, for the stems
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flax meal and warm water and place into the refrigerator to gel while you make the cheesecake.
- Place the soaked cashews into a high-powered blender (make sure you drain the water into the sink first) along with all of the other ingredients for the cheesecake. Purée until thick, smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Set aside while you make the crust. You want to be able to pour the cheesecake onto the crust as soon as it's out of the oven, which is why it's best to prepare it first.
- In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil and maple syrup for the crust, until smooth. Stir in the coconut flour, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt until well mixed.
- Divide the dough by lightly heaping teaspoons between a 12-cavity mini-cheesecake/muffin pan, pressing out evenly.
- Bake until the crust is just set, about 5 minutes
- When the crust has about 2 minutes left to bake, transfer the cashew mixture into a large bowl and pour in the flax eggs from the refrigerator. You want to leave them in the refrigerator as long as possible, so they can really gel up. Stir until the flax is evenly mixed into the cashew cream.
- Remove the crusts from the oven. Your crust with most likely risen in a few spots. Just use a small spoon to pack it back down flat, making sure you don't leave any cracks.
- Immediately fill each cavity, just over 3/4 of the way full, with the pumpkin cashew mixture.
- Bake until the cheesecakes have slightly risen and the outside appears set and firm, but just a small circle in the center still appears slightly jiggly, about 11-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the counter. Then, cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours to overnight to completely set.
- Once set, place the chocolate and coconut oil and in small, microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave using 30-second intervals on half power, stirring between each interval, until smooth and melted.
- Drizzle the chocolate over each cheesecake to create a jack-o-lantern face or use a piping bag.
- Stick a mint sprig in the top of each pumpkin to create the stem.