Hey folks, it’s time for a classic American favorite, made a new way, perfect all year long! This Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake is an easy-to-make cheesecake packed with flavor and because it should chill overnight, you can make is a day or two ahead and have dessert ready. You can focus on pulling together the rest of your menu knowing that a lovely and creamy dessert is ready for your party.
I have always loved coconut and chocolate, especially when combined with nuts and nothing says happy childhood memories more than Almond Joy candy bars to me. Even before I started liking dark chocolate, the contrast of the bittersweet coating and the sweet coconut filling thrilled me – and biting into the crunchy almonds was pure heaven.
I adore cheesecake, but I really hate baking in a water bath because it is hard to get the springform pan to stay waterproof and my cheesecake crusts always became soggy. I would rather either use a regular solid round cake pan or a springform without the water bath. And if you’re careful, you don’t need to worry. Just don’t try to rush the baking, be sure that your cream cheese is very soft, and all your ingredients are at room temperature. That way it will be creamy and smooth!
I found the original recipe on the delightful Little Dairy on the Prairie, a blog by a mom who has fun chasing her three rambunctious boys around their large dairy farm outside of Idaho Falls, not too far from the border with Montana. By sharing a recipe made with cream cheese and sour cream, I am helping support her family – see how I justified this dessert LOL.
I did make a few changes, swapping the traditional graham cracker crust with one made with almond flour so it is gluten-free, using cornstarch instead of flour, and then I added a sweetened sour cream layer on top. The contrast of the sour cream with the coconut filling was perfect and just the way my father-in-law loves his cheesecake! And just in case the top of your cheesecake may crack as it cools, the sour cream topping covers up any irregularities – no one needs to know it isn’t perfect!
There is cocoa powder in the crust for a pop of chocolate flavor. But to add more chocolate – you know you can never get enough – and make it taste more like an Almond Joy candy bar, pour a generous amount of hot fudge sauce over the top of each piece. You can buy a jar at the grocery store, but if you want to make a sauce from scratch, I recommend you head over to Jenni Field’s Pastry Chef Online and make The Best Hot Fudge Sauce in the World (this is no exaggeration). One of my amazing friends is Jenni Field, pastry chef extraordinaire. If you haven’t met Jenni yet, you need to. She is the most adorable, funniest, and sweetest person on the planet! And oh my goodness, this sauce is simply the best!
Jenni teaches people how to make desserts they only dreamed of making, and she does it in a way that is totally approachable and so easy that you wondered why we so long! Run, don’t walk, to her website. While you’re there be sure to check out her vast array of recipes. It will become your go-to site for any new recipe you want to try for the first time – there is no one better at walking you through a new technique!!
OK, enough talking – now get in the kitchen and make this heavenly Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake!! Happy Chocolate Monday my friends!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake:
- Crust: Almond meal, cocoa powder, brown sugar, salt, butter
- Filling: Unsweetened coconut, cream cheese, Neufchatel cheese, sugar, vanilla paste or extract, coconut extract, salt, eggs
- Topping: Sour cream, sugar, vanilla paste or extract
- Garnishes: Fudge sauce, candied almonds, mint sprigs
Tips on how to make the creamiest cheesecakes:
Always use room temperature ingredients, don’t over mix the filling, and be sure to let the cake bake just until the center is still a little jiggly – then leave it in the oven with the door propped ajar to let it cool completely. And the final step, letting it chill thoroughly is critical for the best flavor and texture … overnight is the best, but you can get away with 6 hours. I know, it is incredibly difficult to wait to dive into this beautiful dessert, but it is worth every moment!!
To quickly warm eggs to room temperature, place the whole eggs (in their shells) in a bowl of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes
How to make Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake:
- Crust: Mix together the almond meal, brown sugar, and salt; drizzle with the melted butter and press onto the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan then bake 10 minutes at 325°F and set aside to cool
- Filling: Finely mince the coconut in a food processor and set aside; Mix the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, coconut extract, and salt on low so you don’t add too much air
- With mixer running on low add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one and scraping the bowl and beater before adding the next; slowly mix in the coconut just until evenly distributed in the filling
- Pour filling slowly into prepared crust to avoid making air bubbles.
- Bake: Bake at 325°F for 55 to 60 minutes until the center is almost set but still jiggly in the very center, then remove from the oven
- Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth then pour over the top of the cheesecake and return to the oven; bake another 10 minutes and leave the cake in the oven
- Turn off the oven and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon to gently finish baking; take the cake out of the oven and run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake then return to the oven – still with the door propped open for another hour – then set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature
- When cooled cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil (don’t let it touch the top surface) and refrigerate to fully chill and set up – preferably overnight but at least 6 hours for the best texture
- Cut into wedges, drizzle with fudge sauce, sprinkle with some ground candied almonds and add a few whole almonds; tuck in a sprig of mint and serve
If you love the look of the tiny vanilla seeds all through this cheesecake, you can use the centers of whole vanilla beans or take a quicker shortcut by using vanilla paste.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Food processor
- Mixing bowls
- 10-inch springform pan
- Parchment paper
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Wire cooling rack
- Sharp slicing knife
Using almond flour in place of graham crackers for the crust gives us the most delicious gluten-free crust that is lower in sugar and much higher in protein. Tastier and perfect for many applications, this is one crust you will use for all recipes that call for graham cracker crumbs. And the cake calls for a little cornstarch instead of flour to make it safe for anyone with Celiac or gluten intolerance!
- 140g (1-1/4 cups) almond meal/ flour
- 22g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- Pinch of kosher or fine sea salt
- 5 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground
- 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 (8 oz) package Neufchatel cheese (lower fat cream cheese), or another regular cream cheese package
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1 tsp coconut extract, optional
- Pinch kosher or fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
Sour Cream Topping
- 1-1/2 cups sour cream (low fat is fine, but do not use non-fat)
- 3 to 5 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp vanilla paste or pure extract
- Best Hot Fudge Sauce in the World from Jenni Field or a store-bought thick chocolate sauce, such as Fran's brand, lightly warmed
- Crushed candied almonds, plus some whole candied almonds for garnish, optional
- Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish, optional
- Set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper, extending beyond the edge. Add the ring and clip it into place leaving the excess parchment outside the ring. Trim the parchment into a circle about 2-inches beyond the edge of the pan.
- Prepare the Crust: In a bowl, stir together the almond meal with the brown sugar and salt. Drizzle the melted butter over the almond meal mixture and stir until evenly incorporated and has a sandy texture.
- Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan, flattening and compacting it with the bottom of a drinking glass, measuring cup, or your fingers. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the filling.
- Make the Filling: In a food processor, process the coconut until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- To the bowl of your stand mixer, add the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, coconut extract if using, and salt. Beat on Low just until combined, trying not to add too much air to the mixture. With the mixer running on Low, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one until it is fully incorporated, stopping the mixer and scraping the bowl and beater, before adding the next one. With the mixer running, slowly add the finely minced coconut and mix until evenly distributed in the filling. Pour the filling slowly into the prepared crust to avoid creating excess air bubbles.
- Bake the Cheesecake: Bake at 325°F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the center is almost set - it will be slightly jiggly in the center. Carefully move the cake from the oven to the top of the stove.
- In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully pour over the top of the baked cheesecake and return to the oven. Bake an additional 10 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon - this allows some of the heat escape and gives the cheesecake time to gently finish baking all the way to the center. Remove the cheesecake temporarily from the oven, run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake, and return to the oven. Turn the oven off. Leave the cake in the oven (with the door propped open) for 1 hour and then set on a wire rack on the counter to cool to room temperature.
- When cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil (not letting it touch the top of the cheesecake) and refrigerate for at least 6 hours to fully set and chill the cake before serving. Chilling overnight is preferable if you have the time. If there is any liquid on the top when you uncover the cake (like I had), just use a little paper towel or paper napkins to absorb it.
- Run a knife around the inside of the pan to release the cake if needed and gently release the springform, lifting the ring away from the cake. Use the parchment paper to ease the cake off the bottom of the pan and onto a cardboard circle or cutting board.
- Cut the cheesecake into wedges, drizzle the top liberally with the lightly warmed fudge sauce, sprinkle with some of the ground candied almonds, decorate with a few whole candied almonds if desired, and tuck in a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.
- Recipe Source: The Heritage Cook
NOTE: The cheesecake will hold in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week or two (if it lasts that long).
Adapted from a recipe by Amy of Little Dairy on the Prairie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 125mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 33gProtein: 5g
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