Brownie Bottomed Swirled Cheesecake Bars: You won’t believe they’re sugar free!


We spent a long weekend in Vermont, which first meant a road trip with Marley, Lexi, and Beenie! For those who do not know, Marley is my new rescue puppy, Lexi is a rescued cat, and Beenie is a rescued bunny 🙂 . Suffice to say, it was a packed car!  Vermont was a relaxing few days; we stayed in a beautiful house with architectural details that never-ended (like a rainforest bathroom – where the entire bathroom is the shower, complete with a waterfall).  On our drive home back to the heart of the Catskill Mountains, I exclaimed, even though Vermont was gorgeous, it does not beat coming home!  We camped out at a Wilderness Area just 7 minutes from the house and enjoyed watching the sunrise over the lake.  The reason for this background story? Well, as I was away & couldn’t be baking, I HAD to make some goodies for the trip: enter these brownie bottomed cheesecake bars with strawberry & chocolate swirls!  It’s a good thing these were packed away in the back of the car, otherwise I’d have eaten them all on the drive.  That’s not unheard of…while waiting in the car when we were driving to our camping location, I ate a box of cookies.  Yes, in the long 7-minute drive I couldn’t control myself.  Oy vey!post1 post3 post2post4Lexi & Marley had to check out the rainforest shower with me! post7 post9 post10 post5 post6I think someone was tired out over her long-weekend…. 😉

Ingredients (makes 1 8×8 baking pan):

  • Brownie Base:
    • 1 1/2 Cups cooked black beans, washed & drained
    • 14 Medjool dates, pits removed
    • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used super dark)
    • 1/4 Cup sorghum flour (or wheat flour)
    • 2 chia / flax seed eggs (2 Tablespoons ground chia or flax seeds, whisked with 8 Tablespoons warm water, set aside for 5 minutes until thickened)
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
    • 2 tablespoons milk (I opted for hemp)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Cheesecake:
    • 1 14 oz container firm tofu
    • 12 Medjool dates, pits removed
    • 1 can full fat coconut milk
    • 2 lemons, zested & juiced
    • 2 tablespoons potato starch
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons agar agar (NOT agar flakes) – Can’t find agar powder? 1 Tablespoon of agar flakes = 1 teaspoon agar powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Strawberry sauce:
    • 1/2 Cup strawberries
  • Chocolate sauce:
    • 5 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
    • 3 Tablespoons cacao powder
    • 2 Tablespoons raw date syrup / raw maple syrup / raw agave
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In your food processor add your beans & dates and process until smooth. Add in your cocoa powder, flour, milk, chia/flax mix, baking powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, and process until smooth (you’ll need to stop and scrape down the sides to ensure all ingredients are incorporated).Photo Sep 01, 3 37 52 PMs
  2. Measure & cut two pieces of parchment paper (or tin foil) that drape over both sides (you will be lifting the bars out with the parchment / tin foil paper so be sure it’s long enough!). Lay one piece of paper horizontally and the other vertically (making a criss-cross), and spray with non-stick spray.Photo Sep 01, 3 41 27 PMs
  3. Pour your brownie mix into your prepared pan and smooth over to ensure it’s evenly spread. Pop that in the oven for around 30-35 minutes. To test & check if your brownie layer is done, insert a toothpick into the center, if it pulls out cleanly they’re ready. While your brownies are baking, let’s make the strawberry & chocolate sauces!Photo Sep 01, 4 34 55 PMs
  4. Add your strawberries to a small sauce pan and simmer until your strawberries are cooked.  Add the contents of your pan to your blender and blend until smooth.  To prepare you chocolate sauce, combine all of your sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Place in a sealed container and chill in your refrigerator and allow to set (it will thicken as the coconut oil firms up, about 15 minutes). If your sauce solidifies too much, just place your sealed container in a bowl of hot water (coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit).
  5. In your food processor add your tofu & dates and blend until smooth. Add in your coconut milk, lemon zest & juice, vanilla extract, sea salt, and blend until fully incorporated (you’ll want to scrape down the sides to ensure everything is well blended). Add your mixture into a medium sauce pan and whisk in your agar agar, potato starch, and bring to a boil, occasionally whisking. Once your cheesecake filling is boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer for 2 minutes, occasionally whisking. Carefully pour your mix onto your prepared brownie layer.

    Photo Sep 01, 4 36 36 PMs

    To “swirl” your sauces into your cheesecake, gently dollop 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon of each sauce around your cheesecake.  Gently use a small knife (I use chopsticks 😉 ) and swirl through the top of your cheesecake, ensuring to pass through your dollops at least once.Photo Sep 08, 3 00 24 PMsPlease note: These are BLACKBERRY swirls.  I unfortunately did not capture a photograph of these before I made the swirls (d’oh!).  These photographs are to demonstrate how to swirl your sauces! Photo Sep 08, 3 02 22 PMs

  6. Pop your cheesecake bars in your refrigerator to set (cooling time depends on the temperature of your brownie layer! If they’ve cooled to room temperature the cheesecake layer should take 30-45 mins to firm).
  7. To remove your brownie cheesecake bars, once chilled, hold the overlapping edges of your parchment / foil and gently lift up and out of the baking pan and onto a cutting board. Now we can easily slice the bars (I made larger 9×9 bars, you may make them any size!). Store in a container in your fridge for up to one week, if you can get them to last that long!
  8. Enjoy eating whole! Photo Sep 25, 9 06 48 AMsThe strawberry & chocolate sauces just after being swirled. Photo Sep 25, 11 37 27 AMThe swirls once they’ve set.  Photo Sep 25, 11 39 36 AM Photo Sep 25, 11 42 29 AM Photo Sep 25, 11 42 42 AM


  1. rachelmeeks says:

    Looking at the rainforest bathroom, my mind leapt to “WASH THE DOG.” Omg. With bigger dogs like that they’re such a mess to wash, but if the whole room was a shower…. me likey.

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