I love when a recipe I create ends up inspiring countless others. The reach one simple idea can have is so fun and I love seeing and playing with all the different possibilities. In the summer, I created a No-Bake Vegan “Cheesecake” recipe for a 4th of July celebration. That recipe inspired Meg of Beard and Bonnet to create a delicious chocolate chip crust version and from there she created a Key Lime “Cheesecake” Truffle, that in turn gave me the idea of creating these delicious Autumn-inspired pumpkin spiced “cheesecake” pops! Phew! I love it. I can only imagine all that is to come from here with this idea.
Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever stop being so amazed at all of the delicious things you can make with cashews. I love making various cream sauces for tacos or pasta and the fun you can have with desserts, like these cake pops, are endless. Whoever first came up with the idea to soak cashews and turn them into cream, they should be in some foodie hall-of-fame somewhere. (Does that exist? Because if it doesn’t, it should!)
These Pumpkin “Cheesecake” Pops are not nearly as complicated to make as what the different groups of instructions below leads you to believe. They are quite easy. There is no baking required and it takes more time to wait for the pops to set, then to do anything else. I have served these to several non-vegan, non-gluten free people now. Actually come to think of it, besides myself, those are the only people that have eaten these. “Regular eaters”. Every last one loved them and they just couldn’t believe they were totally vegan and grain-free!
The filling is creamy and has a nice, but not overpowering, pumpkin spice flavor and the simple chocolate coating hardens quite quickly which gives a nice contrast to the creamy center. As these sit (covered) in the fridge for a few days after you make them, the outer chocolate coating will get softer, but it is still delicious, just a bit less crunch.
If you you follow a paleo diet, I believe you have yourself a fun seasonal and “safe” treat! (You can swap out the maple syrup for honey, if you prefer and aren’t vegan.)
[print_this]Vegan Pumpkin “Cheesecake” Pops (Grain-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-Free)
Makes about 20 pops
Pumpkin “Cheesecake” Filling
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil
- juice from 1 lemon
- lemon zest from that lemon
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey, if not vegan)
- dash of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Place the raw cashews in a food processor or high powered blender with the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and taste to see if you need to add anything.
Scrape mixture into a shallow bowl or glass baking pan and place in the freezer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, checking and stirring occasionally until the mixture is solid enough to form into balls. Roll the mixture into balls with your hands.
Place the balls on a wax or parchment paper lined pan and place it back in the freezer. If they are a tad soft yet, give them another 30 minutes or so to totally firm up. You may want to reroll them in your hands one last time when they are really firm, to get them totally perfect and smooth, if need be. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. The chocolate hides a lot and they tasty so good, the shape really doesn’t matter.
Once the cake balls are ready, if they feel firm enough all the way through (you want them firm enough that they won’t turn to mush but not too firm to where you can’t get the stick in), insert the lollipop sticks into the balls part way, don’t go too far. After you place the sticks in them, I find standing them upright into styrofoam (or one of those fancy cake pop holders), so they don’t get too mushy or misshaped. Place them back into the freezer or fridge while you prepare the chocolate coating. If the sticks are in, you can leave them covered in the freezer for a day or two, if you want to make them ahead of time. If you are moving right to the melted chocolate, the fridge should be fine.
** If you have a nifty cake pan thingy, you could try forming these in there and just freezing. I don’t have one, so I have no experience myself, so I can’t say for sure that it would work. I’d love to hear from anyone that experiments.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey if you aren’t vegan)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup cacao powder
- pinch of salt
Get a double boiler set up with a small glass bowl over a pan with water. Add in the coconut oil and stir until it is melted. Add in the maple syrup and vanilla. Sift the cocoa powder into the mixture and stir until it is is all well combined. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, you don’t want to scorch the chocolate or have it seize up on you.
Remove the cake pops from the freezer. Start dipping each of the cake pops into the chocolate, twist and turn the pop in your hand to allow any excess chocolate to drip off, sprinkle some of the cinnamon crunch topping (recipe below) on top, then stand it back upright. The chocolate should harden almost immediately on the pops.
Continue coating all of the cake pops. If the melted chocolate starts to cool off, very gently heat it back up over the double boiler.
Store these in the fridge until just before you serve them.
Cinnamon Crunch Topping
- 2 tablespoons raw organic almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a coffee or nut grinder, grind up the nuts and the cinnamon until it is a very slightly chunky sand-like consistency. Sprinkle over the top of the cake pops just after dipping into the chocolate.[/print_this]