*This post was created in collaboration with Disney Books. All words, images, and opinions are my own.
I’m so excited to share a special summer treat with you, inspired by the newest Disney Descendants novel, Escape from the Isle of the Lost, which is in stores now! As part of the New York Times best selling series by star author Melissa de la Cruz, the latest adventure takes Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos back to the Isle of the Lost where they are on a mission to recruit new VK kids to Auradon Prep, but nothing goes as planned when they run into Uma. I won’t give any more away, but I will say that this book was my first experience with the Descendants series, and I really enjoyed reading it! I’m a huge fan of the Disney classics, and it’s so fun to hear about the kids of the original heroes and villains.
Uma’s character was particularly captivating to me, and so in honor of the book release and upcoming movie, I decided to make adorable baby octopus cheesecakes in Uma’s signature blue hues. These cheesecakes are non-dairy, gluten and refined sugar free, and super simple to make and decorate! Kids of all ages will enjoy creating their own sea creature dessert to dig in to along with the newest Descendants adventure!
Ingredients: (makes 6, 2.5″ cheesecakes)
Vanilla Cheesecake Filling:
1 ¼ cups soaked cashews*
¾ cup full fat coconut milk (plus more as needed for blending)
1 ½ tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (sweeten to taste)
2 teaspoons blue spirulina powder, or blue food coloring
*see directions below for tips to soak the cashews
Toasted Hazelnut Coconut Crust:
½ cup hazelnuts
¼ cup almond flour
1/8-teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, melted
¼ cup black candy melts or dark chocolate chips
¼ cup pink candy melts
White candy melts or white chocolate chips (optional, for the highlight on the eyes)
48 blue/teal gum balls or round candy coated chocolates
- To soak the cashews (which makes it easier to blend them), stir ½ TB sea salt into 2 ½ cups filtered water, and add the cashews. Cover with a clean dishtowel and allow the cashews to sit on the counter for 3 hours. Before using, rinse and drain the cashews 3 times or until the water coming off of them is clear.
- Use a clean paper towel dipped into the melted coconut oil to lightly grease each dome cavity. Set aside.
- Place the soaked cashews, along with the other filling ingredients, into a high speed blender, and blend on medium high for at least 2 minutes until smooth. You can add more spirulina or coloring as needed, and sweeten to taste.
- Pour the filling into the prepared silicone mold, filling each cavity ¾ full (I find it easiest to pour from a small measuring cup). Transfer to the freezer for at least 30-60 min, and while making the crust.
- If you would like to use toasted hazelnuts in the crust spread them into one layer on a baking pan, and bake at 325°F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before using.
- Transfer the hazelnuts and other crust ingredients to a food processer, and process for about 1 minute, or until the ingredients start to clump together. You can leave the hazelnuts a bit chunky for more crunch.
- Evenly distribute the crust to the top of each cheesecake filling, and use clean hands or the back of a spoon to firmly press the crust into the filling. Return to the freezer to set (about 2 hours).
- While the cheesecake chills we can work on the adorable decorations! Heat each color of candy melts (or chocolate chips), individually in small heatproof bowls, for 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir, and continue to heat at the same interval until completely smooth and melted.
- Use a toothpick dipped into the black candy melts to draw the face for each octopus onto wax paper. The pink can be used for the round mouth design, and if you’d like to add highlights to the eyes add just a dot of white chocolate to the corner of each chocolate eye.
- When you are ready to eat the cheesecakes carefully remove them from the silicone mold, and use a toothpick to help transfer the chocolate details to the top of each. You can also use pink fondant for cheeks.
- To add their baby octopus tentacles place 8 of the gumballs or round candy into a ring on each serving dish, and top with your cheesecakes. Enjoy! Leftovers can be stored in the freezer (just leave at room temp for at least 10 minutes before serving).
Ahead of the third Descendants movie premiering on Disney Channel this summer, Escape from the Isle of the Lost picks up where the second film leaves off. Catch up with your favorite villain kids and grab a copy of the book for yourself!
Please let me know if you try this tutorial, I would love to see your creations :).