While summer celebrates desserts that are light and fruity, fall and winter adorn the table with treats that are a bit more decadent. It would practically be a dessert crime to let the season pass without plunging your fork into at least one type of cheesecake. Pumpkin cheesecake, pecan cheesecake, apple crisp cheesecake...There are so many autumnal ways to enjoy this luscious and rich dessert.
For a bar-style dessert that has the added element of a spike of Irish cream, the gluten-free cheesecake bars in the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp really take the cake. Best part? They don't require any actual cooking whatsoever.
Nutrition coach, baker, and fitness instructor Sashah Handal starts by making the crust, which, like the cheesecake filling, is no-bake. "It's just equal parts pecans and gluten-free granola," she says. The only other ingredients you need on hand to make the crust are a few tablespoons of coconut oil, brown rice syrup, and a pinch of sea salt. "You just dump [the pecans and granola] right into your food processor," Handal instructs, adding that they just need to be broken down enough to combine together when the coconut oil and brown rice syrup are added. Once everything is mixed together, it's poured into a glass baking dish and patted flat. Then, just pop it in the freezer while you make the cheesecake filling.
These cheesecake bars have one special ingredient: Baileys Deliciously Light. The Baileys is infused right into a homemade whipped cream, made with heavy cream, cream of tartar, and cane sugar. "It gives it a really fun Irish cream flavor and a little bit of sweetness from the Irish cream itself," Handal says, as she gently folds the whipped cream into a mixing bowl. Of course, you can't make cheesecake without cream cheese. "Keep your cream cheese in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it because the colder it is, the easier it is to bind to the other ingredients," Handal says. Here's what else you'll need to add to the mixing bowl for the cheesecake filling: powdered sugar, arrowroot starch, and a touch more Baileys Deliciously Light.
Once the filling is ready, just pour it on top of the crust, pop it in the freezer for an hour, and voila! "It's really creamy on top and the Baileys isn't overpowering; it's a perfect addition to make this a play on your classic cheesecake," Handal says as she takes a bite. "The Baileys just makes it a very fun, adult cheesecake bar."
If your mouth is watering just as the sound of these bars, check out the full recipe below so you can make it yourself at home and watch the episode to see how it's done, step by step.
Gluten-free cheesecake bars recipe
For the crust:
1 cup gluten-free granola
1/2 cup raw pecans
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 heaping tsp sea salt
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup Baileys Deliciously Light
For the cheesecake filling:
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup of the whipped cream (recipe above)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup arrowroot starch
1/3 cup Baileys Deliciously Light
1. In a food processor, pulse granola and pecans together until only small chunks remain, about 15 to 30 seconds.
2. Combine with coconut oil, brown rice syrup, and salt in a medium mixing bowl until granola is thoroughly coated.
3. Press sticky mixture into a 11 x 7 glass baking dish, lined with parchment paper. Don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease behind this! The crust needs to be pressed very firmly if it’s going to keep together when cutting your bars.
4. Once you have a flat half-inch thick layer pressed into your baking dish, put into the freezer while you make your filling.
5. Use an electric mixer on medium-high to combine cream cheese and Baileys Deliciously Light whipped cream until smooth.
6. Add in the dry ingredients and combine on medium for another 20 seconds, or until the sugar and arrowroot starch have been fully dissolved—and don’t forget to scrape down your sides to get every last bit.
7. Turn the mixer on low, and with a gentle stream, pour in your Baileys Deliciously Light until it is all absorbed by the filling.
8. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling on top in a smooth even layer.
9. Return the cheesecake bars to the freezer for three to five hours to set. Pull them out to room temp 10 minutes before serving.
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