There are some beverages I have never really acquired the taste for. Wine, beer, and alcohol in general are perhaps the most prominent ones. Coffee too merits a place on that list. In comparison I am an avid, perhaps even excessive, tea-drinker. That said, I love the smell of freshly ground coffee beans, as well as practically all desserts with a coffee-flavour.
Which is where this dessert comes in to play. Decadent, creamy, rich, and surprisingly easy to make; these coffee cream squares are the perfect treat. They are stored in the freezer too, which means they hold well for a substantial amount of time. Just transfer however many squares you need to the fridge for approximately half an hour before serving and you are good to go.
Allow me to give you the short and sweet rundown of this dish. Bottom crust is simply raw cashew nuts, dates and a dash of espresso powder. It provides the perfect robust foundation. The central piece comes next, which is the coffee cream layer. The ingredient list is as following: coconut cream, strong coffee, vanilla essence and a teaspoon of liquid stevia. Any kind of liquid sweetener can be used instead; be it agave, maple syrup or honey (not vegan). If you decide to use any of those, you will need to alter the quantity so simply add it in while tasting. I opted for stevia instead of a fully unprocessed sweetener, such as dates, in this recipe because I did not want to spoil the perfect smooth texture and pure colour of the filling. The final layer is simply melted dark chocolate, that is both vegan and sugar-free.
No-bake Vegan Coffee Cream Squares Ingredients:
for the crust
- 1 1/2 cup raw cashews (220 grams)
- 2/3 cup pitted dates (135 grams)
- 2 tsp espresso powder (or use a strong instant coffee)
- a pinch of Maldon salt
for the coffee cream
- 1 1/2 cup coconut cream* (240 grams)
- 4 tbsp strong cold coffee (60 grams)
- 1 – 2 tsp liquid stevia
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
for the chocolate top
- 100 grams dark sugar-free vegan chocolate
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (optional, read note on final step)
No-bake Vegan Coffee Cream Squares Directions:
- Start off by making the crust. This is done by first placing the cashews in a food processor and run until you have a crumbly flour. Add in the remaining ingredients and run until you have a sticky dough that holds together. Grab a baking pan lined with parchment and press the crust firmly down. I ended up using a large bread pan since all my other regular ones were too big. Place in the fridge.
- Run the ingredients for the coffee cream filling in a high-speed blender (or food processor) until you have a smooth mixture. Start by using 1 teaspoon of stevia and add the remaining one if you want it to be sweeter. Like I mentioned above, any kind of liquid sweetener can be used instead; be it agave, maple syrup or honey (not vegan). If you decide to use any of those, you will need to alter the quantity so simply add it in while tasting. Take the crust out of the fridge and pour this mixture over it. Smooth it over with a spatula and make sure it is spread evenly. Transfer this to the freezer for at least 2 hours before proceeding to the final step.
- For the final chocolate layer you could technically only use the dark sugar-free vegan chocolate. As you might know from this article, I am not a fan of using oils and you will seldom see any of my recipes call for it. I made this twice, once using coconut oil and once using simply the chocolate. Taste-wise both are amazing with only a marginal difference. The reason why I added it in as an option is because it is significantly easier to slice and spread the chocolate layer if you add in the coconut oil. Since I photograph my recipes and want it to look as presentable and visually-appealing as possible, I made it the second time using that option.
Regardless if you use the oil or not, you make the chocolate layer by melting the chocolate (and coconut oil if desired) in a small pot on low heat. Once completely smooth, pour it over as a final layer, again spreading it out evenly. Since you already had the filling in the freezer you will notice the chocolate firming up as you are spreading it, so be quick!
You can re-freeze these without any problems though I would not recommend doing so more than once. Therefore the optimal way of going about this would be to take them up once, slice, refreeze, and then take up individual pieces as needed. Before serving, let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes or in the fridge for up to 4 hours.
This is all ignorable if you are serving them right-away, in which case there is no need for re-freezing at all. Just place it in the fridge after adding the chocolate layer and it should harden within 10 minutes. Leave at room temperature for another 10 – 20 minutes, and then knock yourself out.
Additional notes (*):
Coconut cream is essentially just canned full-fat coconut milk that has been stored in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (preferably over-night). Take it out of the fridge and scoop out the hardened coconut cream that you find on the top of the can. The reason for doing this is to allow the added water and coconut mass to separate All of the water will have gathered at the bottom of the can, which is not going to be used when a recipe calls for coconut cream.
But that is enough of me pimping out this dessert. Make this now, eat it, enjoy, and drop back to tell me all about it. Let me live vicariously through you since we have already eaten all of it. R.I.P. dessert. You did make my taste-buds tingle while you …erm… lived.
Best wishes and happy no-baking!