How much would you pay for this beauty? Would you believe the lady that bought it at the silent cake auction held for my MOPS group got it for only $20? Now that's a bargain to be proud of, I think. I mean, the ingredients and platter alone cost me over $13, not counting the time and energy spent making it. Well, the lucky lady is the mom of our favorite babysitter, and she was deliriously happy to get it. She took it home and came back to the church Community Day and found me, saying that she had sampled it at home and that....well, I won't mention all of her comments, but let's just say that she's freezing it in small slivers to enjoy for the next few months and doesn't intend to share with her husband.
My family wasn't too keen on me donating it without them getting some, so I'll probably be making one sometime soon.
Now, methods of baking cheesecakes vary widely, and I try different things to prevent cracking, like water baths, different baking temps, etc. I have yet to find a foolproof method. This particular cake has turned out perfectly for me before, but this time had a gigantic crack. I am not going to recommend a certain way to avoid that, as obviously I haven't mastered it.
Oh, by the way, I got the original recipe from Allrecipes, but my version is a bit different.
2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
5 T. butter
14 oz package caramels
5 oz can evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted, divided
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 T. flour
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 T. milk
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine cracker crumbs and butter and press into a 9" springform pan, going about an inch up the sides. (This is important, so that the caramel layer won't stick to your pan.) Bake for 10 minutes.
Melt the caramels with the milk on the stove over low heat until completely smooth.
Reserve about 1/3 cup of caramel, and pour the rest into the crust. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup pecans. Stick into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Melt the 3/4 cup chocolate chips and let cool a bit.
Combine the cream cheese and sugar and blend until smooth. Add the eggs, flour, and vanilla and mix just until combined. Do not overmix! Add the melted chocolate and stir.
Pour over caramel/pecan layer and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until center is barely set.
Let cool on a wire rack, then stick in the fridge overnight.
Before serving, melt the 1/2 cup chocolate chips with milk and stir until smooth. Spread over top of cheesecake. Drizzle with reserved caramel sauce and sprinkle with reserved pecans.
I have to say, this is probably my favorite cheesecake. I love the chocolate truffle one, and the white chocolate raspberry, and many others....but this is pretty unbeatable.