Friday, February 9, 2018

Hazelnut Cheesecake

This time I awoke to thoughts of cheesecake at 3 a.m.

Of course we at MLK have offered you cheesecake recipes, in a variety of flavors, from the beginning. I’ve chipped in a few myself. But lately we’ve gone in other directions, and it’s been over a year since cheesecake reared its yummy head on these pages.

Many years ago, when my husband and I lived in the Berkeley area, we threw a small party (it was a small house!). I don’t recall why—there was no holiday involved. Maybe it was a housewarming. Maybe it was a birthday. I simply don’t remember. 

We invited most of the people we knew, and almost all were work colleagues of my husband’s. One of them, a tall guy, maybe thirtyish, brought cheesecake that he’d made himself. It was delicious, and he volunteered to share his recipe. In fact, he gave us four recipes—an embarrassment of riches! And I kept them. And more important, I knew where to find them now. 

I apologize to the cooking gods that I’ve forgotten the man’s name. It’s scrawled on one of the recipes, but I can’t seem to read it. But I want to thank him again for sharing.

One of the original recipes was for almond cheesecake, but since my daughter recently bought a package of hazelnut meal, and I had hazelnut extract on hand, I swapped the flavors. In addition, the original recipe called for a pan that I’m guessing would be 8 or 9 inches, and I cut the recipe in half (much as I love cheesecake, I don’t want to be eating it for days on end) and used a 6-inch pan, which turned out to be just the right size. 

The original recipe called for cooking the cheesecake in the pan set in a larger pan with water in it (to keep the cheesecake moist). This works well, but you have to make sure your inner pan does not leak! Either don’t use a springform pan, or use a whole lot of aluminum foil to seal it.

Hazelnut Cheesecake



1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup crushed hazelnuts
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a springform pan.

Mix the brown sugar and nuts together, then add the butter and mix in.

Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.


1 lb cream cheese (2 8-oz packages) at room temperature
1 tsp hazelnut extract
5/8 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 oz hazelnut meal

Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Place the oven rack in its lowest position.

Butter a round, deep pan (see note above)

With a hand or stand mixer, mix the cream cheese until it is smooth.

Add the sugar and hazelnut extract and mix.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth (scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing).

Add the ground hazelnuts.

Pour into the prepared pan with the crust. Place the pan with the cheesecake into a larger pan no deeper than the first pan.

Place the two pans together in the oven. Pour hot water into the bottom (larger) pan, but keep the level well below the rim of the first pan.

Bake for about 60 minutes. The cheesecake should be just beginning to draw away from the sides of the pan.

Let cool partially on a rack, then remove the outer ring of the springform pan and finish cooling.

Hmmm . . . With all the cattle in Ireland, especially in County Cork, you'd think there'd be plenty of Irish cheesecake recipes. Surprisingly, a quick online search turns up a lot of recipes, but the first ones don't originate in Ireland (and almost all include Bailey's Irish Cream in the mix). I will have to hunt through my Irish cookbooks (and maybe buy some Bailey's!).

Wonder if the Crann Mor Hotel in Many a Twist has cheesecake on their restaurant menu? Or maybe Rose should experiment a bit--although cheesecake isn't exactly pub food. Stay tuned!

About Many a Twist:

“For fans who have gotten absolutely hooked on these County Cork Mysteries, you’ll not be disappointed with this new tale… Connolly sticks to what she knows best: How to write a drop dead awesome book that keeps readers entertained from beginning to end!”
Suspense Magazine

Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and plenty of bookstores!


  1. This sounds and looks wonderful! I wish I could smell it. Oh, wait! I can, and taste it, too, if I make it. Mmm, hazelnut cheesecake.

  2. Sounds delicious, though cheesecake is kind of off my list these days. I could have 2 bites, right? I've decided that 2 bites of anything is OK and amazingly satisfying. LOL

    1. My local supermarket has what they call "cheesecake bites" which are dipped in chocolate--one is just about the right size.

  3. Sounds great!
    Am I right in thinking that if you wanted to go with a different nut profile it would be a straight, one for one, adjustment? 1 Cup crushed hazelnuts=1 cup crushed almonds=1 cup crushed pecans?

    1. Basically, yes. If you're using the nuts in the crust, there's no problem making it thicker or thinner--up to you. If you're including nuts in the filling, just make sure they're finely ground so they don't all sink immediately.