Almonds and Cherries for the Improve Cooking Challenge

It’s Improve Cooking Challenge day again!  Kristen decided we should make some delicious food using cherries and almonds.

Earlier this month I mentioned that J’s cousin’s family came to visit.  They had no problem helping J and I taste test this recipe.  There were smiles all around!

I kept with something that I know, cheesecake.  I used this recipe from my 3 Books in 1 Favorite Desserts Cookbook, as I only had 3 packages of cream cheese.  I made this cheesecake a few years ago and my notes indicated it was a keeper.

I experimented with something new.  I have never put nuts in my crust.  I know Mom has and I have seen recipes doing it, so I tossed some in.  A Oreo crust with almonds.

J and I love eating fresh cherries, but I was not prepared to pay $5.99/pound.  I had never baked with maraschino cherries before and had some in the pantry.  Cherry requirement satisfied.

To add a little more pizzaz I used almond extract (instead of vanilla) and made a drizzle with the maraschino cherry juice.

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake with Oreo Almond Crust

Preheat oven to 350*.


12 Oreo Cookies – about 1 C crumbs

1/2 C Almonds

2 T Butter

Process all ingredients in the food processor until crumbs form.

Press firmly onto bottom of 9 inch springform pan and set aside.


3 – 8 oz packages Cream Cheese, softened

1 – 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 tsp Almond Extract

1 C Chocolate Chips, melted and slightly cooled

4 Eggs

1 – 10 oz jar Maraschino Cherries, drained, patted dry and sliced

Beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and almond extract until well blended.

Add chocolate; mix well.

Add eggs, one at a time.  After each addition mix on low-speed until just blended.

Layer 1/2 cheesecake batter on top of the crust, layer cherries and add remaining cheesecake batter.

Bake for 65-70 minutes or until center is almost set.

Run knife around rim of pant to looses cake; cool completely before removing rim of pan.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.


Juice from 1 – 10 oz jar Maraschino Cherries

1 T Cornstarch

Mix juice and cornstarch; thicken over medium heat.  Cool.

Drizzle over cheesecake when ready to serve.

Chocolate, cherries and a little almond makes for a delicious cheesecake dessert!

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38 Responses to Almonds and Cherries for the Improve Cooking Challenge

  1. Jen says:

    Wowza! This looks so good. I am going to make it! Cant wait to try it.. You are giving the cheesecake factory a run for their money! 😉

  2. Brenda says:

    This recipe looks awesome!! Have you ever tried Hazelnuts while cooking? They are a very good nut for cooking with also! We grow there out here in Oregon, so there are plenty around, I’m not sure how available they are all over the country however. Let me know if you want some recipes for them though, you’ll be hooked! 🙂

    • Robyn says:

      I have not baked with Hazelnuts. We eat them with mixed nuts and enjoy them. I will have to see if I can find some.

      • Brenda says:

        If you can’t just let me know…I’ll send you some to try 🙂 It is always good to get some marketing for our industry on great cooking blogs such as yours 🙂

  3. Kristen says:

    Very nice. I am not sure you can go wrong with chocolate and cheesecake. The cherries add such a nice splash of color and flavor. I often put almonds in my crusts, so I can imagine they made a great little crunch.

  4. Judy says:

    Oh my goodness, does that look good!

  5. Melody♪♫ says:

    wow! It’s a beautiful cheesecake & the recipe indicates it would taste even better than it looks! (You had me at the word Oreo®…)

  6. Well you certainly hit so many good notes with this cheesecake…the almonds in the oreo crust sound perfect! And so pretty, too! : )

  7. Yum! Your cheesecake looks fantastic! What a great idea for the Improv Challenge!

  8. This is looks sinful in the best way! Thanks for sharing! Please come check me out! #32

  9. Bridget D. says:

    This looks delicious, Robyn! The Santa Fe crew is coming to stay with us for a few days around the 4th. I may try it out on them! 🙂 Hope all is well in your neck of the woods, and you get the needed rain. We have been pretty fortunate around here in that department. Although, I’ve heard when you get a bit further west of us it is really, really dry.

    • Robyn says:

      We are doing well.
      Glad you are getting moisture. Mom and Dad are dry, so it’s not that far west of you.
      Hope you have a great 4th and visit with the Santa Fe crew. Are you going to take in the big Celebration in Seward?

      • Bridget D. says:

        We will be in Seward on the 4th selling funnel cakes. We are also going to be celebrating Dave’s 60th birthday!

  10. Mmm, I love cherries and chocolate together. Looks amazing!

  11. Candy C. says:

    Wow Robyn, what a GREAT looking cheesecake! I’ll bet they were lining up to be “taste testers!” 🙂
    AND I picked up an idea for a new scone recipe for the Farmers’ Market – Cherry Almond!

  12. Kristin says:

    I love cheesecake! Looks great!

  13. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says:

    That is stunning! I want half of it. 🙂

  14. This looks delicious! I love cherry cheesecake, but I don’t think I have ever had the cherries baked inside, just on top. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  15. Jeannelle says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I tried it and it is very good!

  16. Buttons says:

    Robyn what a great idea. This looks and sounds delicious. This whole post made me so hungry I ate a piece of Ice Cream cake for breakfast. Is that bad? 🙂 Hug B

  17. Debi says:

    This looks and sounds, wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing on Thursday’s Treasures Week 39. I’m so glad you joined us, I hope you will be joining us each week. <3 and hugs!

  18. Jocelyn says:

    That is one incredible looking cheesecake!!! Thank you so much for sharing it on Trick or Treat Tuesday:-)

  19. Robyn, this is amazing! The flavor combination of chocolate and cherries, yum! And with the almond added in just puts this dessert over the top! Thanks for sharing, now I’ll have to check out some of the other wonderful creations.

  20. Michelle says:

    That cheesecake looks delish! All the posts do. Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday last week. I can’t wait to see what you link up this week. Have a wonderful weekend.


    • Robyn says:

      Michelle and Joan,
      I think it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and/or cheesecake! Glad you like the looks of this recipe.

  21. Dawn @ DJ's Sugar Shack says:

    I was hoping to join the Improve Challenge this month but life happened & I didn’t have time. So sad.
    This cheesecake looks divine! I love chocolate and cherries & cheesecake for that matter. I’d love if you shared this over at Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday. Hope to see you there!

    • Robyn says:

      Hope you get a chance to join the Imporve Challenge soon, Dawn! Thanks for the link up invite and leaving a comment.

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