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Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Recipe: Cherry Almond Cheesecake on a Stick

No, this isn't a quick and dirty dessert but oh, it's delicious and worth the time and mess. And it is messy. They ever tell you that--oh, you'll need this, this, and this, and it'll take this long to make, but the cleanup! Oh, the cleanup will take even longer...yeah. So this is your waring: Cleanup required!

Yes, I know it's sponsored by Ghirardelli but I shall let that go in favor of the dessert itself. Because even big businesses can have good ideas.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ready In: 4 Hours 10 Minutes
Servings: 16
1/3 cup chopped dried tart red cherries
2 tablespoons Kirsch (cherry-flavor
brandy) or apple juice (I used apple juice)
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (I used 1/4 because I'm not a fan of the extract)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup coarsely crushed graham
cracker pieces
16 round paper lollipop or wooden craft
2 (10 ounce) bags Ghirardelli® 60%
Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
, toasted*
1. In a small bowl, combine dried cherries and Kirsch. Let stand while preparing cheesecake filling. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8x2-inch square baking pan with foil, making the foil as smooth as possible.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. For cheesecake filling, in a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, and almond extract; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in eggs (do not over mix). Stir in the cherries, Kirsch, and graham cracker pieces.
3. Pour filling into prepared pan. Bake on the middle oven rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center appears set when gently shaken.
4. Cool cheesecake in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and freeze cheesecake for 2 hours or until firm.
5. Line a large tray or plate with parchment paper or waxed paper; set aside. Remove cheesecake from pan. Peel away foil. Using a sharp knife dipped in warm water, cut the cheesecake into 16 small squares. Insert a stick into the side of each piece of cheesecake. Lay on the prepared tray.
6. In a large microwave-safe bowl, place the Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips. Microwave on medium power (50 percent) for 1 minute. Remove and stir. If chocolate is not melted, return to microwave and repeat heating step, stirring every 30 seconds to avoid scorching. Stir until smooth. Place almonds in a shallow dish.

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