Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Chocolate-Almond Butter Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

I'm doing this because I love you.
Also I love my Dad. And he loves chocolate and almonds. Almonds and chocolate. In all forms and combinations. Forever and always.
I have to agree with him, it is definitely one of the world's best flavor combinations (totally trumps peanut butter and chocolate!) Especially when the almonds are toasted!  Really, is there anything better then rich, buttery toasted nuts mixed into velvety dark chocolate? No, there isn't. Don't try to argue with me.
Unfortunately the toasting process proved to be extremely and inexplicably difficult for me to master last night! (Moral of the story: don't bake after midnight?) This was the result of 2 toasting attempts!
Round 1: smoky and black. Round 2: slightly more smoky and black! Fail.
Anyways, by round 3 I finally achieved golden-brown toasty success! Proof of cheesecake success? The pan is half empty. It is 10am. Win.
Also, I'm just going to point out the lack of actual cheese in this cheesecake! Greek yogurt makes an amazingly tasty (and healthy) substitute for excessive amounts of cholesterol-spiking cheese.  So go ahead, eat 2 slices and get your probiotics! (Yes, I realize this is a stretch).  But you're not going to argue with me...
Are you?
Chocolate-Almond Butter Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. cashews
2 T. cocoa powder
1 T. canola oil
2 T. agave syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. cream cheese
1 c. plain greek yogurt
2 T. smooth almond butter
2/3 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 c. toasted, slivered almonds (toast in oven at 350 for about 5 min)

-For the crust, mix the almonds and cashews in a food processor, and pulse until very finely ground (if you like a really crunchy crust, leave the nuts more coarsely chopped). Add the cocoa powder, oil, agave syrup and vanilla and process until the mixture reaches dough consistency.
-Dump the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and press down with moistened fingers to cover the bottom and sides of the pan (otherwise dough will stick to you!)
-Place crust in the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling!
-Add the cream cheese and greek yogurt together in food processor and pulse until smoothly combined.
-In a small bowl, mix the almond butter, chocolate chips and sugar.  Microwave for about 20-25 seconds until chocolate begins to melt.  Stir in the melted chocolate until the mixture is smooth.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
-Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the food processor along with the almond extract, and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
-Remove crust from the freezer. Pour the filling into the crust and spread with spatula. 
-Sprinkle toasted almond slivers on top.
This one's for you Dad!

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