Decadent Hazelnut Cheesecake
1 cup ground toasted hazelnuts* (filberts) or almonds
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
2/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts* (filberts) or almonds
¼ cup hazelnut liqueur or amaretto
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. hazelnut liqueur or amaretto
1. Ground hazelnuts and melted butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
2. For filling, in a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until fluffy. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the 2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts and the ¼ cup liqueur. Pour filling over crust, spreading evenly.
3. Bake about 1 hour or until a 2 ½ -inch area around outside edge appears set and center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a knife, loosen edge of cheesecake from side of pan; cool for 30 minutes. Remove side of pan; cool cheesecake completely on rack (about 1 ¼ hours). Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. (Best if chilled for at least 12 hours.)
4. To serve, in a medium bowl combine whipping cream and the 2 tablespoons liqueur. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Top each serving of cheesecake with whipped cream.
Tip *To toast hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until nuts are light golden brown, stirring once or twice. Wrap warm nuts in a clean kitchen towel. Rub nuts in towel to remove any loose skins; cool.