Ghirardelli Chocolate-Almond Layered Cheesecake
- 2/3 cup almonds, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 8 ounces (2 baking bars) Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate, broken into 1-inch pieces
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup almond-flavored liqueur
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast
in the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Allow almonds to cool.
- Place the toasted almonds in a food processor and process until finely ground.
- Combine the wafer crumbs, ground almonds and butter. Mix well. Press the mixture
onto the bottom of the spring-form pan and 1 1/2 inches up the sides.
- Bake for 8 minutes.
- Place on a wire rack and let cool completely.
- To prepare the filling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over hot, but not
boiling, water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is smooth.
- Set aside.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on low just until smooth.
- Gradually add the sugar and combine beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides
of the bowl and beaters with a rubber spatula.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating
well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the sour cream, almond liqueur, and salt,
beating just until smooth.
- Divide the batter in half. Add the melted chocolate to one half of the batter,
stirring until smooth. Pour the chocolate batter into the crust; spread to create
one even layer.
- Carefully spoon the plain batter on top of the chocolate batter.
- Place the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees
- Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center is just set.
- Turn off the oven, and leave the cake inside for 30 minutes with the oven door
- Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack. Loosen it from the sides of the
pan with a metal spatula. Let the cheesecake cool completely, then chill it at least
8 hours or overnight.
- Store covered in the refrigerator.
Yield: 16 servings