Cashews

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don't miss dairy

Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.

Cashews

Blueberry Cashew “Cream Cheese”

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com
Last month I had the pleasure of trying a delicious cashew cream parfait made by a friend on a weekend getaway to Santa Barbara. It was light-tasting, creamy, and delicious. I must say, I was reluctant to embark on the cashew cream experience, but it does open up a new world of dairy-free possibilities. 

One drawback to cashew recipes is prep time. Depending on what you make, it can take days to complete. Cashews usually require soaking, a high powered blender, and patience, and this blueberry cream cheese recipe is no exception. I do have a few options, though, for those who like to take the faster route.

Either way, the result is this: a soft and sweet cashew spread in a delectable shade of purple, perfect for topping bagels or even spreading on cakes. 

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

For a firm cream cheese, like you would normally buy in a block at the grocery store, you have a few options. The simplest is straining the cream cheese after processing in a cheesecloth overnight.

Do this before adding any extra flavors to the cream cheese but after you add the salt, lemon juice, and vinegar. I do this by fitting the cheese cloth over a bowl, large cup, or pitcher with a rubber band and setting the cream cheese on top.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Plain cashew cream before straining.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

For a firmer cream cheese, strain using a cheesecloth positioned with a rubber band over a tall cup like this.

Make sure to cover the exposed cashew cream with plastic wrap to avoid it drying out. You can leave on the countertop or in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. Extra liquid will drip to the bottom of the bowl, leaving you with a firm, shapeable cream cheese base. There’s so much you can do with this, like adding different flavors or even shaping into a cheese ball.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Set the cashew cream into the cheesecloth and cover with plastic wrap. Allow liquid to drip overnight or up to 24 hours. I put mine in the fridge.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

This one I let drip for about 16 hours. The liquid will collect at the bottom.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Finished cashew cream cheese, ready to be eaten, mixed with seasonings, or shaped into a cheese ball.

A faster option for a firmer cream cheese is to add 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil or a thickener such as tapioca flour or xanathan gum (found in your local Whole Foods store) to your cashew cream, along with your flavor additives, then refrigerate. This will affect the taste, however.

The easiest option is to skip the thickening, which will result in a soft and fluffy cream cheese. It will have more of a whipped cream consistency–still thick enough  to spread on a bagel yet thin enough to spread on a crumbly biscuit or muffin. The softer version of the cream cheese is pictured. Make it your own and enjoy! 

If you do, share it on Instagram with #dontmissdairy. I’d love to see your version! Sharing dairy free recipes is so inspiring to others with lactose intolerance!

Blueberry Cashew "Cream Cheese"
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
  2. fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
  3. 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar*
  4. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 1 cup frozen blueberries
  7. 2 tablespoons white sugar
Instructions
  1. To soak cashews, place in a medium bowl and add water until just covered. Allow to sit overnight, or at least 8 hours. Strain the liquid and rinse the cashews well.
  2. In a high powered blender, add soaked cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and water. Blend until you achieve a smooth consistency, scraping the sides to incorporate. If necessary you can add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, but this will thin your final product. For a firmer cream cheese, strain in a cheesecloth overnight. For a faster, softer cream cheese, move on to the next step.
  3. In a small saucepan, simmer frozen blueberries and white sugar over low heat for about 10 minutes. Liquid should be so much reduced it is almost all evaporated. Remove from heat.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix cashew cream cheese and blueberry reduction until combined. Add a quick thickener if desired, such as melted coconut oil.** You can also add more sugar to taste. Refrigerate for at least four hours to cool and firm. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Notes
  1. *Optional (Gives it that tangy cream cheese flavor. If you don't like the slight taste of apple cider vinegar, you can omit)
  2. **Blend with 1 tablespoon coconut oil for a quick firmer cream cheese option.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

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Chocolate Cashew Butter

Chocolate Cashew Butter from dontmissdairy.com
We had a ton of roasted cashews that we weren’t eating, so I decided to turn them into something we would eat.

Most cashew cream or cheese recipes I’ve been wanting to try call for raw cashews, so I couldn’t make any of these. Trail mix left me with kind of the same problem, and granola bars seemed kind of a blah idea. I know, I know– everybody loves granola bars except me. It’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t love them.

I started thinking about how I’ve been meaning to make a dairy free version of Nutella, and then it occurred to me: I bet roasted cashews would make a really delicious chocolate cashew butter.  Go!

First I pulverized the roasted cashews in my food processor, then added vegetable oil, white sugar, and cocoa powder. You can definitely add a sweeter oil to yours, like a nut oil. I just like to use what I have in my kitchen already. I did have a little trouble getting this to be low sugar and still taste like chocolate, but with some experimenting and taste testing, I eventually got a good flavor balance. 

Cashews in food processor
Crumbled cashews

Processed cashews
It’s sweet but not too sweet, with a buttery, chocolate flavor. YUM.

I suppose I could have kept processing it to make it smoother, but I’m impatient. My food processor is not the greatest and it was taking a long time. Feel free to make yours into a smooth-and-shiny-as-Nutella-butter….or mix in some bigger cashew pieces to make a crunchy butter! 

This is great for spreading and dipping. Spread on graham crackers or croissants, or make a cashew butter and jelly sandwich. I ate most of this batch as a dip with salted pretzels, which was so addicting. It was one of those snacks where you eat a few and you’re like, okay, just one more, then that one more turns into an empty bag of pretzels and a need to buy more cashews.

I hope you enjoy this simple chocolate cashew butter as much as I did! 

Chocolate Cashew Butter from dontmissdairy.com

Chocolate Cashew Butter
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup roasted cashews (salted is okay)
  2. 3 tablespoons oil of your choice
  3. 2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  4. 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/8 cup sugar
  6. dash of sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, grind your cashews until finely chopped.
  2. Add oil and process until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, then process until well combined. Taste, and add more sugar or cocoa powder to your liking.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
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