This is the first cheesecake I ever made, and while it may have been a little under-baked, it still won the “best cheesecake” contest at Zoe Young’s baby shower.
2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 C. white sugar
1/2 C. butter, melted
30 caramels, unwrapped
3 T. milk
3/4 C. pecans, chopped
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 – 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
3/4 C. white sugar
1tsp. vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Mix well and press into the bottom and 1″ up the sides of a 9″ spring form pan. Pour on melted caramel/pecan mixture and chill for 30 minutes.
To make caramel/pecan mixture:
In a small saucepan, combine caramels and milk. Cook over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in chopped pecans. Preheat oven to 325°. In the top of a double boiler, heat chocolate, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and smooth, or heat in microwave…works fine. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Fold 1/3 of the filling into the melted chocolate, then pour the chocolate mixture back into the filling and mix until no streaks remain. Pour into crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until center is almost set. Place a pan of water on rack underneath cheesecake as it bakes to help keep it from cracking. Cool in oven with door cracked open. Refrigerate at least 5 hours before serving.