1 1/2cupsPamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix(which, by the way, we love love love - it makes perfect you'll never know they're gluten-free pancakes)
3/4cuppecansfinely chopped, (1 cup chopped pecans is different from 1 cup of pecans, chopped, right? You need way more than 1 cup of pecans here.)
48-oz blockscream cheese(If you get the reduced fat, you will regret it.)
1-3teaspoonsalmond extractto taste
1-1 1/2cupssemi-sweet chocolate chipsoptional
Preheat the oven at 350.
If your springform pan is not a nonstick variety, brush it with a little melted butter before getting started.
Whisk the brown sugar and flour together in a medium bowl.
Chop the butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender to mix them with the flour mixture until it is crumbly. (If you don't have a pastry blender, a fork or wooden spoon will work, but it will take a lot more effort.) Stir in the nuts.
Press the crust mixture into the prepared springform pan to the depth you prefer. Set the pan aside.
If you remembered to set the cream cheese out to soften, congratulations! You can skip this step. I never remember to do that, so I soften mine in the microwave. Soften it one block at a time in the microwave. I put each block in my microwave for 30 seconds, then stir it a bit and put it in for 20 seconds more. That is good for me. Your microwave is probably different from mine, so experiment to see how long you need to put yours in for. You don't want to cook it, but you do want to make it soft.
Mix your softened cream cheese with the sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, and almond extract. I prefer to mix mine in my KitchenAid, but it will mix using a whisk (will require a LOT of work on your part) or a hand-held mixer. Be careful not to overbeat the batter or it will rise and then fall while it cooks.
Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. The center will still be jiggly after 45 minutes, but turn the oven off and crack the door open a bit. Leave it in the cooling oven for an hour, then move it to the counter to finish cooling.
If you want to add a layer of chocolate ganache to your cheesecake, do the following: heat chocolate chips, butter (cut into small cubes), and 1/2 cup heavy cream in a pan in the microwave in 30-second increments. I heated it for 30 seconds, then stirred well, then heated for 15 seconds and stirred well. It was still thick, but thin enough to pour. I poured it all over the top of the cooling cheesecake.
Once the chocolate has set, cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill over night. (If you cover it before the chocolate is set, the chocolate will get weird on top.)
Once fully chilled, the cheesecake is ready to serve.