Okay, these are hardly “lite,” but my tofu-based peanut butter cheesecake lightens them up just a smidge so that you don’t go into overload quite as early in the experience of swooning over these three-layered beauties as you might otherwise.
My go-to vegan brownies provide the base for a thick layer of vegan peanut butter cheesecake which is capped with a rich peanut butter-fudge frosting. A garnish of peanuts, whole or halved, provides the perfect crunchy contrast to all of that chewy-creamy goodness.
Scant (or stingy) 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water or coffee
1 1/4 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: approximately 1 cup of vegan chocolate chips and 1 cup of chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13″ baking pan. (A light coat of canola oil seems superior to vegetable shortening.) In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add water or coffee, vegetable oil, and vanilla; mix with a wooden spoon until well blended, approximately 100 strokes. (For some reason, the results seem superior when the liquid and oil are added about one-quarter cup each at a time.) Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make Vegan Peanut Butter Cheesecake.
Vegan Peanut Butter Cheesecake:
1 box of Silken firm tofu
1 cup of smooth or crunchy natural peanut butter
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate or chocolate lite soy milk
1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary to combine all ingredients. After brownies have baked for 15 minutes, quickly remove them from the oven, spread evenly with the peanut butter cheesecake filling and return to oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is slightly puffed and set. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting and garnish with chopped or whole peanuts.
Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting:
1/4 cup vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
1/4 smooth or crunchy natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (you may use vegetable oil instead but, if you do, mix it with cocoa powder before adding)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2-3 cups powdered sugar
approximately 1/4 cup chocolate or chocolate lite soy milk
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together first three ingredients on high speed. Add cocoa powder with mixer turned off and then slowly bring the speed up to high to completely incorporate it. Do the same with the powdered sugar and chocolate soy milk, adding approximately 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. If too thin, add more powdered sugar; if too thick, add more chocolate soy milk.
Approximately 1/2 cup chopped or whole peanuts