Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mini Almond Joy Cheesecakes

I've been eyeing this recipe for quite some time now and I finally found the time to make it. You would think that I would be spending these last two snow days grading the bazillion papers I brought home...but NOPE, I'm baking instead. 
I absolutely loooove coconut and chocolate together. It's one of my favorite combinations.

My dad's birthday is this weekend, so I knew he would just love these. My parents are both huge fans of coconut in anything. And in case you didn't know already, my mother is where my sweet tooth comes from! She's the one person I can count on when I want to eat dessert for breakfast. No judgement, she just grabs a spoon and joins right in. :)

These mini Almond Joy Cheesecakes are the perfect version of the candy bar. The cheesecake on it’s own is super creamy, coco-nutty, and delicious, but the crust is where it's at! I love how you can see the little specks of coconut and almonds throughout. It is the most amazing crust and full of flavor. 

I tried to make these "skinny jeans approved" by using coconut oil instead of butter for the crust, reduced fat cream cheese, and I threw in some Greek yogurt for good measure. The result: super smooth, creamy, and amazing! I love the extra boost of flavor from the coconut oil. It has the perfect amount of sweetness from the toasted coconut and chocolate glaze. I also opted for the "mini" version...hey, it's all about portion control!  

If your significant other is a fan of chocolate and coconut, these would be perfect to serve on Valentine’s day! 

Mini Almond Joy Cheesecakes
Recipe adapted from The Curvy Carrot
Makes 6 mini cheesecakes
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon sugar
4 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 (8-ounce) packages reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup non fat, plain Greek yogurt (you could also use non fat, vanilla)
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 tablespoon coconut extract

Chocolate Glaze
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, almonds, and coconut until a crumb mixture. With the machine running, slowly add the melted coconut oil and pulse until it just starts to come together.
Divide the crumb mixture into your mini cheesecake pan then press evenly with the bottom of a glass to create an even crust. Bake crust in the oven for about 5 minutes and let cool.
Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the coconut extract. Gently fold in the coconut with a spatula until well combined.
Transfer the filling to the cooled crust and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. The top should be slightly puffy and lightly browned. Remove cheesecake from the oven and let cool completely.

Combine the chocolate chips, milk, and vanilla in a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave for about 15-20 seconds. Remove and stir until smooth. Pour glaze over the cheesecakes (which are still in the pan) and spread evenly. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and sliced almonds.

Refrigerate the cheesecakes for about 4 hours or overnight. Remove carefully and serve. 

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