Chocolate Caramel Almond Cheesecake
A creamy dense chocolate cheesecake on a chocolate graham cracker crust, drizzled with chocolate and caramel and sprinkled with almonds
1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
20 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar (to remove lumps)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
12 ounces dark chocolate chips (60% cocao)
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1. Make crust by combining crust ingredients and pressing into the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack to cool while you make the cheesecake batter.
2. In a large mixing bowl, gently stir the softened cream cheese with the sugar and cornstarch/sugar mixture until smooth. Add vanilla and stir.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring to combine, but being gentle enough to not incorporate any extra air/bubbles into the batter.
4. In a heavy sauce pan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips with the whipping cream. When no lumps remain, remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly (but not completely -- or the chocolate will get too thick to mix!) and then stir the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture, making a dark chocolate batter.
5. Place two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil on a flat surface, and place the cooled 9-inch springform pan (with crust) on the foil. Wrap the foil snugly around the pan to make it water-proof.**
6. Pour the chocolate batter over the crust, smoothing with a spatula. Place the foil-wrapped pan in a large roasting pan, and pour boiling water into the roasting pan, to come about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the springform pan.
7. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place roasting pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 70-90 minutes, or until cheesecake is almost completely set (only the center will still be slightly wobbly).***
8. Remove roasting pan from the oven, and carefully take the springform pan out of the water bath and place it on a wire rack to cool. Gently remove the foil after setting cheesecake on rack.
9. Run a thin knife aroud the edges of the cheesecake, to allow it to separate from the sides of the springform. (This helps prevent cracks during cooling.) When cheesecake has cooled slightly (maybe for 20 minutes), carefully remove the outside of the springform pan. Allow cheesecake to completely cool.
10. Prepare the toppings by warming the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan, until chocolate is melted. (Stir to remove lumps.) Allow chocolate to cool slightly. When chocolate is still warm but not hot, put it into a small plastic bag. Snip off a (small) corner of the bag to allow you to squeeze out the chocolate.
11. In a separate pan or bowl, warm the caramel enough to be able to drizzle it. Drizzle caramel over the cheesecake. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top of the caramel, and then drizzle the chocolate (from the baggie) over the almonds and caramel.
12. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
*We used our homemade caramel dip, but that recipe makes a lot of caramel -- much more than is needed for just this cheesecake. :) If you only wanted enough caramel for drizzling on top, I would suggest just warming a few store-bought caramels. :)
**To make this cheesecake without a water bath, skip the directions about the aluminum foil and dish of water. I do still like to bake the cheesecake in the oven (middle rack) with a large pan of boiling water on the rack below the cheesecake.
***Without a water bath, I bake this cheesecake for 55 minutes at 325 degrees. When the 55 minutes is passed, I turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and allow the cheesecake to do most of the cooling while in the oven.
Joshua created this cheesecake recipe, and it's the BEST chocolate cheesecake I've ever had! The cheesecake bakes perfectly (no cracks!) and is dense and creamy. The texture reminds me of fudge. This cheesecake is yummy and very beautiful when topped with the caramel, chocolate, and almonds. My rating: 10/10