I saw an amazing recipe for eggnog squares in a magazine recently and then I saw the ingredients: cream cheese, whole eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream…..oh boy. Not that these things are bad…but a lot of us are trying to reduce saturated fat and sugar in the diet and there’s definitely a way to do that, more easily than you may think. I really wanted to make them vegan and actually, that’s a little easier than you may think it is.
I recently wrote a really fun piece for Food&Nutrition Magazine about how to adapt holiday desserts to be vegan so you have lots of my tips and advice right at your fingertips. All it requires is a little creativity and I used those tips to make you my Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake Squares. Remember – this isn’t just about being plant-based! These would be perfect if you have someone in your life with an egg and/or dairy allergy as well. There are so many reasons to learn how to adapt recipes.
All About Eggnog
I have a good relationship with eggnog. My Dad is obsessed with it so we had it around a lot growing up. Like, the non-alcoholic kind that you get in the store. But as I got older and began attending my parent’s Christmas parties as an adult, I realized that one of my Dad’s friends made high octane eggnog from scratch. Frothy with eggs and packed full of brandy, fresh eggnog is unbelievable. Steve also taught me the power of using fresh nutmeg to garnish every glass. Eggnog takes me immediately back to holiday parties of years past and it’s such a fun memory. That unique, decadent flavor is associated with the holidays for me. It reminds me of the most wonderful times.
Since I learned that freshly ground nutmeg is nothing short of a miracle spice, I use it all the time and I always keep a few nutmeg nugs in my spice cabinet. Nutmeg nugs are these very hard, woody little balls that you can simply grate up and top just about anything. From holiday beverages and desserts to smoothies and tea and even lasagna (many recipes call for it), you should be using this spice in your kitchen more.
These days, I’m keeping it simple and add just splash of regular or vegan store-bought eggnog in my black coffee and that’s enough for me. Eggnog is high in sugar and fat – even the vegan kinds – so just a splash is perfect for flavor. And then when you want to indulge a bit more, make a delicious dessert like the Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake Squares!
If you need some other holiday cookie recipes, my No Bake Vegan Chocolate Haystack Cookie Bites are a crowd favorite. You also need to try my gorgeous thumbprint cookies – use whatever type of jam you like! And for all your holiday baking needs, here’s over 30 recipes that are dietitian-approved for the holidays.
Making Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake Squares
These turned out so well – they are rich and creamy and just perfect for the holidays. Just like other holiday baking, your house will smell amazing. The thing I like most about this recipe is that it’s pretty hands-off so you can multi-task and do other things (or relax!!) and I focus on ingredients you can just buy in the store to make your life easier. Around the holidays, it’s all about that chill.
You’ll be baking these, so preheat your oven and coat an 8 or 9 -inch square glass baking dish with oil so they don’t stick. Grab that food processor to whip up a quick crust from vegan butter and graham crackers. Simple. Vegan butter is a great product – it mimics dairy butter pretty well and it acts the same when you melt it and use it in baking. Push those down in the pan and you’ve got your crust.
Now you’re going to make the filling. Simply take a package of vegan cream cheese and a package of silken tofu. It’s so fun to add tofu to this recipe because it really boosts the nutrition. Tofu is a bone builder – it’s rich in calcium. It’s also full of other vitamins, minerals and special antioxidants. Some of these are called ‘phytoestrogens’ which people sometimes get confused about and think they could be like real human or animal estrogens but that’s not actually the case. They help the body out by hanging out in estrogen receptors and blocking them. There are phytoestrogens in soy foods but also many other foods like flax and even apples. You eat them every single day.
Add the sugar and eggnog then the lemon juice, brandy, and vanilla. The brandy will cook off in the oven – the alcohol part but not the flavor – so they’ll be alcohol-free when you’re done. Bake those up for nearly an hour until they’re set (they’ll always be soft on the inside) and then let them cool and store them in the refrigerator. Don’t forget to garnish them with that fresh nutmeg.
Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake Squares
- 12 graham crackers
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter melted
- 1 12-ounce package extra firm light silken tofu
- 1 8-ounce package vegan cream cheese
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan eggnog
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (plus more for garnish)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they turn to crumbs. Stir together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Pour into the prepared baking pan and press evenly down with the bottom of a glass.
- Bake until crust is just brown around the edges then set aside to cool, about 3-5 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, beat the cream cheese and tofu with a mixer on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and eggnog, then mix another 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, brandy, vanilla, nutmeg and corn starch and beat until mixture is smooth.
- Pour the filling over the crust then bake until just set, about 50-55 minutes. Filling will not be completely firm when you remove the baking pan from the oven and that's ok. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Lightly dust tops of bars with freshly grated nutmeg before serving.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll ﬁnd cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.