- 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Optional: Chocolate and vanilla star meringues, chocolate shavings, chocolate curls, candied orange peel, chopped pistachios
- Place an ungreased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, pecans and brown sugar; stir in butter. Press onto bottom and 1-1/2 in. up the sides of prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into crust. Place in a larger baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
- Bake at 325° for 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears dull. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and sugar until smooth; spoon over hot cheesecake and spread to cover. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until topping is just set.
- Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. If desired, top with optional garnishes.
1 slice: 499 calories, 38g fat (20g saturated fat), 122mg cholesterol, 285mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate (29g sugars, 1g fiber), 7g protein.