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Café au Lait Cheesecake

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The richness of coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts make this cheesecake a winner for the fall season.

NotesToasting brings out the natural oils and flavor of nuts. Place nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F (180°C) until fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes.

Neufchâtel cheese is a reduced-fat cream cheese that contains 23% milk fat, which means a few less calories. You could also use a light cream cheese.

Serves10 to 12

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer

Taste and Texturebuttery, cheesy, creamy, nutty, savory, spiced, sweet, tangy

Type of Dishcheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups (375 mL) chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) instant espresso powder
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) milk
  • 1½ tsp (7 mL) instant espresso powder
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) unsalted butter
  • 2 packages (each 8 oz/250 g) Neufchâtel cheese (see Notes)
  • 1 package (8 oz/250 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) milk
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted (see Notes) and chopped 75 mL
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) coffee-flavored liqueur
  • Coffee-Flavored Syrup
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 9-inch (23 cm) cheesecake pan, ungreased, or springform pan with 3-inch (7.5 cm) sides, greased

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

  2. Crust: In a bowl, combine crumbs, brown sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and butter. Press into bottom of cheesecake pan and freeze.

  3. Filling: In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) milk, espresso powder and butter until butter melts. Set aside.

  4. In a mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment, beat Neufchâtel cheese, cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until very smooth, for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce to low speed and mix in milk, hazelnuts, liqueur and espresso mixture.

  5. Pour over frozen crust, smoothing out to sides of pan. Bake in preheated oven until top is light brown and center has a slight jiggle to it, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before decorating or serving.

  6. Decoration: Place a slice on a plate. Pour 2 tbsp (25 mL) Coffee-Flavored Syrup on top and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

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