Last weekend, we celebrated the birthday of my brother’s girlfriend. I’m used to bringing my own food to family functions now because I don’t trust that the stuff people cook will be vegan (example: the Spanish rice at the party had chicken fat in it, who knew?!) so it’s no big deal. The only time I really start to feel left out is when dessert comes around and I stare, thinking about my sweet tooth and how I wish I could eat the cakes or pies or cookies. Sure, sometimes I bring along vegan treats and don’t tell people they’re vegan, but sometimes it’s a lot of work and I just don’t feel like getting all the ingredients out to do so. (Hey, I work full-time and I’m back in school. I want to cook quick and easy things lately!)
I knew there would be cheesecake and that got me thinking about how I could really go for cheesecake. Should I make a vegan one? Oh, that takes too long with prep and baking and letting it sit in the fridge. Plus, everyone knows I wouldn’t be eating a non-vegan cheesecake, which means they’d know it was tofu, which means they’d say “eww!” and not touch it. Maybe I could make Smlove, I thought? Smlove makes the world go ’round, after all. But again, Smlove takes a lot of time. On Friday, I decided against making dessert and I would just eat fruit. Saturday morning came around, however, and I really wanted to bring along something sweet. I ran into two problems, however:
Problem #1: In an effort to save gas (the closest grocery store is 15 miles), I really didn’t want to leave the house for a few small ingredients. So I’d scour the cookbooks I had that focused on a (quick) dessert that consisted of ingredients I had in the house. Seemed easy enough, right? I had Tofutti cream cheese, silken tofu, non-dairy milk (soy and almond), flours, chocolate chips, peanut butter, agave nectar, etc. But alas, I found nothing. I didn’t have enough fruit to make a crisp, didn’t feel like going through the trouble of cakes/cookies, and a lot of the other interesting recipes called for more exotic ingredients.
Problem #2: I am not very creative in the kitchen. Isa and Terry and Joanna and random vegan blogs have saved my ass in the kitchen countless times. I just really stink at putting recipes together. Making something on my own was not going to work out.
I couldn’t overcome problem #1 (unless I wanted to go to the store) but what was the worst that could happen with problem #2? Well, it could taste horrible and I could throw it away. That’s it. So I took a risk and made these bad boys…
These are mini peanut butter cheesecake cups with peanut butter caramel and chocolate drizzle. I mixed 1/4 silken tofu with 1/4 cup of Tofutti cream cheese and 2 TBS of agave nectar with 3 TBS of peanut butter. I basically did a modified version of Isa and Terry’s PB caramel from Veganomicon (peanut butter, brown rice syrup, agave nectar) and melted some chocolate chips in the microwave with a little unsweetened soy milk. After whipping the cream cheese, tofu and sugar together, I scooped it into the mini puff pastry shells and baked them for about 10 minutes, just to firm up. I topped them with the PB caramel and chocolate drizzle, then refrigerated for an hour. The only problem with these puff pastry shells is that you have to eat them quickly or they’ll get mushy. But these were devoured quickly, and I was pretty amazed. I found that I probably didn’t need to bake them at all, so I could omit that next time. These, however, will definitely be a new dessert staple in my house.