Believe it or not, I’ve never made a cheesecake… ever! My sister-in-law Doris makes a killer cheesecake, so I get my ‘cheesecake thrills’ whenever we’re all together. But when I saw this recipe, I knew just had to make it. I’m so glad I did because these cheesecake bars taste like a candy bar in cheesecake form.
My Very First Cheesecake Ever is in the oven right now. It’s gonna be interesting to see if it comes out a bit lopsided. The kitchen floors here in My Yellow Farmhouse are old and slant down a bit, especially right in the corner where the stove resides. My Man of All Work (my brother-in-law Mike) did his best to level out the floor, but since I moved here I’ve never baked a cake that was absolutely level. ++ The cheesecake actually came out level – hurrah!
I recommend baking these cheesecake bars the night before, or early in the morning of the day you plan to serve it because once the cheesecake is cooled completely, it’s refrigerated for 4 hours. Then a simple creamy chocolatey topping is prepared using chocolate chips and Cool Whip, then toasted almonds and coconut are sprinkled on top. Yummy!
Chocolate Wafer Crust
- 1 ¼ cups finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies ++ About 25 – I used Nabisco ‘Famous Chocolate Wafers.
- 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 4 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese – SOFTENED
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla AND ½ tsp. almond flavoring
- ½ cup coconut milk ++ Due to my broken ankle I accidentally ordered an Almond Milk/Coconut Milk blend to be delivered via Pea Pod …. luckily, it worked great!!
- 4 eggs
Creamy Chocolatey Topping with Toasted Almonds and Coconut
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips ++ I used mini-chocolate chips.
- 1 (8 0z.) container of FROZEN whipped topping, such as Cool Whip
- 2 drops almond extract
- 1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds – OR – 1/2 cup almond pieces ++ I had whole almonds, so I put some in a food bag & ‘smacked them down’ a bit. ; o )
Line a 10″ x 9″ pan with aluminum foil Bake at 325F for 45 minutes
Once cheesecake is fully cooked, turn off oven – leaving door open – and let cheesecake sit in oven for 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, thoroughly mix 1 ¼ cups finely crushed chocolate waferS, 2 Tbs. granulated sugar and ¼ cup melted butter. Using your fingers, press chocolate wafer mixture into bottom of a 13 x 9” pan, which you’ve covered with aluminum foil – edges hanging over. ++ This will help will when removing the cheesecake bars.
In a medium bowl, using mixer, thoroughly blend 4 packages (8 oz.) SOFTENED cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, ½ tsp. vanilla AND ½ tsp. almond flavoring. Slowly add in 1/2 cup coconut milk. ++ Or.. Almond Milk/Coconut Milk Blend. Add 4 eggs – one at a time, mixing on low until well blended. Pour over chocolate wafer crust.
Bake at 325F for 45 minutes – or until center is almost set. Turn off oven. Open door and leave cheesecake in oven for 20 minutes. ++ If you’re like me and you’ve never made a cheesecake before, you’ll be pleased to see that, after 20 minutes sitting in the still-warm oven, the center will be fully set!! Remove cheesecake from oven, place on a cooling rack and cooled completely. Refrigerate 4 hours – or overnight.
The Finishing Touches — microwave 2 oz. chocolate chips and 1 cup FROZEN whipped topping (such as Cool Whip) in a medium bowl – on high – for 1 minute. Stir and heat on high for another minute. ++ The whipped topping will melt down… don’t worry. That’s the way it should be! Add in 2 drops almond extract. Whisk hot mixture until chocolate chips are completely melted, then mix a bit more until you get a nice dark chocolate color. Pour over cheesecake and spread evenly. Sprinkle on 1 cup flaked coconut and 1/2 cup almond bits – or sliced almonds. Cut into squares and refrigerate until its time to serve. Enjoy!