Cherry Almond Cheesecake On A Stick







Makes 16 servings

Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 35 to 40 minutes
Cool: 1 hour
Freeze: 2 hours

1/3 cup chopped dried tart red cherries
2 tablespoons Kirsch (cherry-flavor brandy) or apple juice
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup coarsely crushed graham cracker pieces
16 round paper lollipop or wooden craft sticks
2 10-ounce packages Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
1 cup coarsely chopped sliced almonds, toasted*


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1. In a small bowl, combine dried cherries and Kirsch. Let stand while preparing cheesecake filling. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8x2-inch square baking pan with foil, making the foil as smooth as possible.

2. Preheat oven to 325°F. For cheesecake filling, in a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, and almond extract; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in eggs (do not over mix). Stir in the cherries, Kirsch, and graham cracker pieces.

3. Pour filling into prepared pan. Bake on the middle oven rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center appears set when gently shaken.

4. Cool cheesecake in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and freeze cheesecake for 2 hours or until firm.

5. Line a large tray or plate with parchment paper or waxed paper; set aside. Remove cheesecake from pan. Peel away foil. Using a sharp knife dipped in warm water, cut the cheesecake into 16 small squares. Insert a stick into the side of each piece of cheesecake. Lay on the prepared tray.

6. In a large microwave-safe bowl, place the Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips. Microwave on medium power (50 percent) for 1 minute. Remove and stir. If chocolate is not melted, return to microwave and repeat heating step, stirring every 30 seconds to avoid scorching. Stir until smooth. Place almonds in a shallow dish.

7. Carefully hold a cheesecake by the stick over the bowl and spoon melted chocolate over the cheesecake pieces, spreading with the back of a spoon to evenly coat. Dip one end of coated pieces into chopped almonds. Return to the prepared tray. If necessary, refrigerate before serving to set. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

*To toast nuts, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread nuts in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until light brown, watching carefully and shaking once or twice.


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