Friday, November 16, 2012

Almond Cheesecake

This is one of the new traditions at Thanksgiving. I made it for the first time last Thanksgiving. It was such a hit I had to make it again for Christmas. It is an amazing cheesecake from George Geary's cookbook called 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes. The almonds create such a rich flavor you won’t believe this is a lower-calorie cheesecake.

Almond Cheesecake

Serves 10 to 12

Crust:             1-1/2 cups almond cookie crumbs
                        3 Tbsp margarine, melted
Filling:             2 (8 oz) packages Neufchatel cheese or light cream cheese, softened
                        1 cup lower-fat sour cream
                        1 cup granulated sugar
                        3 eggs
                        3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
                        1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
                        1 tsp vanilla
                        1/4 tsp ground allspice
Decoration:  8 oz lower-fat whipped topping
                        1/4 cup ground almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use a 9-inch springform pan with 3” sides.

Crust: In a medium bowl, combine almond cookie crumbs and margarine. Press into bottom of cheesecake pan and freeze.

Filling: In a large mixer bowl, beat cheese, sour cream and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in flour, almonds, vanilla and allspice. Pour over frozen crust. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the top is light brown and the center has a slight jiggle to it. Cool on a rack for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before decorating.

Decoration: Top with whipped topping and dust with a sprinkling of ground almonds.

Variation: Spike the almond flavor with 2 Tbsp almond liqueur.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  Calories 336.1; Total Fat 19.7 g; Saturated Fat 9.2 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 3.1 g; Monounsaturated Fat 6.4 g; Cholesterol 83.0 mg; Sodium 285.1 mg; Potassium 144.7 mg; Total Carbohydrate 31.3 g; Dietary Fiber 0.8 g; Sugars 23.1 g; Protein 8.0 g. 9 WW PointsPlus.

Notes: I used Italian amaretti cookies for the crumbs. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. This will prevent the cheesecake from cracking. Definitely use the almond liqueur. I used amaretto and added it with the vanilla. This cheesecake can be frozen too. Remove springform ring, wrap in plastic wrap and then foil and place in the freezer. Just allow 24 hours for it to defrost in the refrigerator and wait to decorate just before serving.

NI includes amaretto; however it is calculated with graham crackers not almond cookie. Sparkrecipes did not have a listing for almond cookie.

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