Strawberry Protein Cheesecake Bars

Oatmeal Cookie Crust:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Water

1/4 Cup Coconut or Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed

3/4 Cups Quick-Cooking Oats

1/2 Cup White Whole Wheat or All-Purpose Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Protein-Packed Strawberry Cheesecake Filling:

1 1 12-Ounce Package Extra-Firm Silken Tofu

1 (8-Ounce) Container Vegan Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Pro(Zero) Natural Strawberry Jam Protein Powder

1/3 Cup + 1/4 Cup Strawberry Jam or Preserves, Divided

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil. Lightly grease and set aside.

Whisk together the olive oil, water, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl before adding in the remaining dry ingredients for the crust. Stir well to combine and form a cohesive but slightly crumbly dough. Transfer the mixture into your prepared pans; using lightly moistened hands, press it into the bottom of your pan so that it's in one even layer. Bake 15 - 18 minutes until lightly browned and let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling by first draining the tofu of any excess water before tossing it into your food processor or blender. Puree thoroughly until completely smooth. Add in the “cream cheese” and pulse to incorporate. Scrape down the sides and blend again, ensuring that no lumps remain before adding the protein powder, 1/3 cup of the strawberry jam, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend thoroughly until completely smooth and creamy.

Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the par-baked crust, and smooth out the top with your spatula. Tap it gently on the counter a few times to knock out any air bubbles. Take the remaining 1/4 cup of strawberry jam and spoon dollops all over the surface. Use a flat knife or spatula to gently marble and swirl the jam throughout, being careful not to disturb the crust underneath.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the edges appear set but the center remains ever so slightly wobbly when tapped. It will continue to firm up as it cools.

Let cool completely before moving it into the refrigerator, where it will continue to solidify until it can finally be sliced into bars, after a minimum of 4 hours.

Makes 12 - 16 Bars

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.bittersweetblog.com