Monday, December 5, 2011

Amond Joy Cheesecake

Almond Joy Cheesecake
Servings: depends on how many slices you make!
For the crust:
1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used cinnamon-flavored.  Weird, I know, but it totally worked and saved me a trip to the store)
1 and 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1 tablespoon coconut extract
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the glaze:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whole roasted almonds, toasted coconut, whipped cream, for garnish
1. For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare your springform pan by wrapping it with aluminum foil to allow for extra three inches or so of foil to project above the sides.  (This will help later when you need to grab the pan.)
3. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, almonds, coconut, and sugar to a fine crumb.
4. With the machine running, slowly add the melted butter and pulse until it resembles moist sand.
5. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan.
6. Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, or until set and lightly browned.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool.
8.  Readjust oven temperature to 325 degrees.
9. For the filling: In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
10.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
11. Add the coconut extract.
12.  Stop the mixer, and gently fold in the toasted almonds with a spatula until well combined.
13. Transfer the filling to the cooled crust and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (until the crust is puffy and lightly browned).
14. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
15. For the chocolate glaze: Combine the chocolate chips, cream, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth.
16.  Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature (this took about 10 minutes for me).
17. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake (which is still in the springform pan) and spread evenly.
18.  Chill the cheesecake overnight or until firm and set.
19.  When ready to serve, run a knife around the perimeter of the pan to loosen the cake.  Release the pan sides and serve.
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