Almond Joy!

Nothing like almonds, coconut and chocolate together in one place. I find that the traditonal candy bars are too sweet for me though, so I thought “how can I put them all together in one place that is just as good, but not so sweet?”

Well, it turns out that there are many ways to do that!

Brownies, cake, cheesecake, bar cookies and re-making the candy itself. I started by using my favorite dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. That cut the sweetness down signigicanly, and because I like my chocolate the darker the better it worked out great. I also tried some recipes using Splenda. Some people don’t like it, I happen to find that it makes whatever taste just fine. You have to be careful about using it in cakes and cookies though where the sugar adds moisture to the finished product. Splenda in this application is better be used as part of the sugar content of a dish and something like applesauce or prunes being added to increase the moisture.

RECIPES TIME:

ALMOND JOY CHEESECAKE

SERVES 12
Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 2- 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 oz marscapone cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • OR 1 cup splenda
  • 4 large eggs
    Glaze
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sweetened toasted coconut


For crust: Preheat oven to 290°F.

1.Wrap outside of 9-inch-diameter springform pan tightly with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with heavy duty foil, make sure that you go all the way up the sides of the pan with the foil and do not make holes in it.

2. In a food processor bowl fitted with a steel blade, finely grind cracker crumbs, coconut, almonds and sugar.

3.Add butter; process until moist crumbs form.

4. Press the mixture firmly onto bottom and up the sides of the pan approximately 1 inch.

Bake the crust until it begins to brown, about 12 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 290°F.

For filling:

Using an electric standing mixer, beat cream cheese, marscapone cheese and sugar in large bowl just until smooth. 

Continuing beating while adding eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Add in coconut extract .

Pour the filling into the crust.

You are going to bake this cheesecake in a waterbath. To do this:

Place the cheesecake (still wrapped in aluminum foil), in a larger baking pan.

Place the both pans  into the oven.  Add boiling water to the outside pan, making sure you don’t get water inside the cheesecake pan. Fill the pan until water comes about 1/3 to 1/2 up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake until cake jiggles slightly in the center, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from the oven carefully. Remove from the water bath and cool completely on rack. Then refrigerate over night.

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.

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