April 12, 2016 Leave your thoughts
Hello everybody! I’m back from my hiatus! Rejoice!
I wish I could say that for the past seven weeks, I’ve been embarking on a journey of self-discovery on a remote island in Kiribati, or working on some fascinating underground project like all of these other food bloggers. Unfortunately, neither has been the case: I’ve been so busy with schoolwork and overwhelmed with the weight of teenage angst that I haven’t had much time to sit down and write out some recipes.
There are times in our lives when a lot of good stuff happens at once, and it’s a fantastic euphoria party 24/7 for days, weeks, sometimes even months. Then there are times in our lives when bad stuff keeps happening, and while it often makes no sense, it proliferates, and it just outright sucks. Then there are times in our lives which are neither, where you’re kinda like an amorphous blob of mashed potatoes drifting through the expanses of space and time.
That last one has basically been me since the beginning of 2016. It’s been such a potato time, I have no other way to describe it. Until the beginning of April (!!!), I had no idea where I was going to college, and the ambiguity of it all made me beyond anxious. As a second semester senior, I no longer need to put forth the same amount of energy into my present academic affairs, so school kinda feels like a waste a lot of days. I’ve never really had a cohesive group of friends (I’m a social jellyfish), and the unintentional cliquey-ness that goes hand-in-hand with senior year has made me feel kinda isolated from my peers. Nothing “bad” has happened to me, per say, but all of the waiting and monotonous repetition has been fatiguing, and I want nothing more than to go off to college.
“Soon enough!” all of my adult and older friends exclaim. I nod apathetically and think to myself, “Not soon enough.”
Well, at least I’m now on spring break, and I finally have some time to sleep and cook and just sit around and be a lump. I made my final college decision a couple of weeks ago, and this fall, I will be attending New York University to study Global Public Health and Food Studies. I couldn’t be more excited to explore one of the most fascinating cities in the world and meet people with all different ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, and life experiences. I’ll be taking classes like Food & Identity and Health and Society in a Global Context, both of which are so up my alley. So many thrilling adventures are about to play out, and all I have to do is wait. Ugh.
In the meantime, at least I have these cheesecake bars!
I made these on a whim as I was stressing out about approximately 56,784 things. They wound up being delicious and lots of awesome people got to eat them, so that worked out well!
Just look at these beauties. They’re simply marvelous.
Another? You got it!
DaYUMMMMMMMMMMMM!!! (That’s my new catchphrase. I invented it. You like it? No? Okay.)
Yield 12-16 bars
FOR THE CRUST:
1 cup of rolled oats, gluten-free if necessary
1 cup of nuts of choice (I recommend almonds or walnuts)
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
Generous pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of unrefined cane sugar
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING:
1 cup of raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
1 cup of coconut cream
2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup of maple syrup
3 ounces of dark chocolate, melted
FOR THE CRUST:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8 square baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the oats, nuts, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar until coarse but well-combined, about 30 seconds to a minute. Pour in the maple syrup, oil, and vanilla, and pulse a few more times just to incorporate everything. Take a handful of the crust “dough” and see if it holds together when pinched: if it sticks, proceed. If not, add another teaspoon of oil at a time until it does.
Squish the crust into the prepared pan in a flat, even layer. Bake in the preheated over until hardened and beginning to slightly brown, about 20-25 minutes. Once baked, let cool while you make the filling.
FOR THE FILLING:
Put all of the ingredients (except the chocolate) in a high-speed blender and blend on high until completely creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust for sweetness and tangy-ness as necessary, adding more maple syrup or lemon juice if needed.
Pour out approximately 1/3 of the liquid ingredients into a bowl and add the melted chocolate. Stir to combine and set aside temporarily.
Once the crust is cool, add approximately half of the non-chocolate filling to the pan. Layer about half of the chocolate filling on top, then proceed with the other half of the non-chocolate filling and the other half of the chocolate filling on the very top. Using a duller knife or a few toothpicks, gently swirl the top to marble everything together. Don’t overdo it, or you’ll have a mess!
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges seem dry and almost start to change color. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least four hours (preferably overnight) before slicing and eating.
Looking forward to sharing lots more recipes with y’all in the future, since I now finally have time to do so. 🙂