So I might lose a bit of credibility here, to disclose that I have only baked as many cheesecakes as I can count on one hand. They always tend to scare me – don’t want to overbake, don’t want to underbake. But the thing about cheesecakes (other than being delicious) is that they are ALWAYS impressive. They look so beautiful, complicated to make, and flavorful to boot.
So one day this winter I was craving making something a bit more “elaborate” than brownies, cookies or the typical baked goods. So, one random Sunday, I made a cheesecake. But, to mix it up, I thought I would try this cheesecake that promised to taste like Almond Joy.
The thing that this cheesecake taught me is that I have been slightly afraid of pretty much nothing. The cheesecake is so easy to make – and you start to get a feel for what a “done” center should really be like. It won’t wiggle in the middle, but it doesn’t look like a chocolate cake, either.
The crust might make this cake – it is amazing. The coconut and almond combination are so delicious, and the crunchy-texture balances out the smooth, rich filling.
This cheesecake is a great one to serve for company because it is so impressive with the chocolate topping and little bit of decoration. It is a lot of cake, so if you don’t have a neighbor to bring it to (like I did after devouring a few pieces) then I would plan this one for company. Also, don’t forget you should give it a night to solidify (although I sneaked a piece the night after I made it and it seemed to hold up ok, but I wouldn’t take that risk if you are making for company!).
Thanks to Bon Appetit Just Desserts for this one. I think it has given me the confidence to try a few more cheesecakes in my baking career!
ALMOND JOY CHEESECAKE
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1 tablespoon coconut extract
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap outside of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with foil. FInely grind cracker crumbs, coconut, almonds and sugar in processor. Add butter; process until moist crumbs form. Press mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of pan. Bake crust until set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
For filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Mix in coconut and extract . Fold in almonds. Transfer filling to crust. Bake until cake is puffed and no longer moves when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool completely on rack.
For glaze: Combine 1 cup chocolate chips, cream and vanilla in small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until smooth. Cool until glaze begins to thicken but can still be poured, about 30 minutes. Pour glaze over cooled cake; spread evenly. Chill cake overnight.
Run small knife around sides of cake to loosen. Release pan sides.