Ghiradelli Chocolate Almond Layered Cheesecake
2/3 C. almonds, finely chopped
1 1/4 C. finely crushed vanilla wafers
1/3 C. butter, melted
8 oz. (2 baking bars) Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate, broken into
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. sugar
1 C. sour cream
1/4 C. almond-flavored liqueur
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease a 9-inch spring-form 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 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-sized 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°F. 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
closed. 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.
Yields 16 servings