Saturday, April 2, 2016

Almond Joy Easter Cheesecake

I’ve been slacking on the food blogging lately – way too much else going on right now!  We are less than a month away from getting married (April 30th!!!) and just bought a house, so it seems every spare moment of my time in consumed with wedding planning & house stuff. 

Despite all the craziness, I had to keep up my Easter tradition of baking a cheesecake.  This was my 9th annual cake – it’s starting to get difficult to think of new flavors to try out.  Last year was Chocolate Bailey’s – and you can see recipes for all the previous years here

I love anything with coconut – so Almond Joys are one of my favorite candies.  (My family agrees – my parents admitted to stealing some of my Almond Joys from my Halloween baskets…)  Although if they combined Mounds and Almond Joys to make them dark chocolate with almonds, it would be even better…

I think this cheesecake was probably the best I’ve made so far.  Not only are there almonds and coconut on the garnish, but they are baked into the crust and in the filling as well!  It was pretty time consuming, but definitely worth it. 

Almond Joy Cheesecake (adapted from The Curvy Carrot)
·        For the crust:
·        Coconut oil spray
·        1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (I used cinnamon-flavored)
·        1½ cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
·        ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
·        ¼ cup sugar
·        ½ 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 T coconut extract
·        1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the glaze:
·        1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
·        ¾ cup heavy cream
·        1½ t vanilla extract
·        Whole roasted almonds, toasted coconut, for garnish
For the crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Toast all your coconut and almonds for the recipe (keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn…)

2. Spray your springform pan generously with coconut oil spray.
3. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, almonds, coconut, and sugar to a fine crumb (my food processer is tiny, so I processed the ingredients individually then added them to my Kitchenaid mixer to blend…)
4. With the machine running, slowly add the melted butter and pulse until it resembles moist sand (or do this in a mixer).
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.
For the filling: 
9.  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 and 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.
For the chocolate glaze: 
15. 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.
17. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake (which is still in the springform pan) and spread evenly.
18. Garnish with the whole almonds and remaining toasted coconut.
19.  Chill the cheesecake overnight or until firm and set.
20.  When ready to serve, run a knife around the perimeter of the pan to loosen the cake.  Release the pan sides and serve. Enjoy!