1 lb.milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 9-oz. pkg.chocolate wafer cookies (40 to 45 cookies)
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup slivered almond
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, meltedsee savings
4 8-oz. pkgs.cream cheese, softened
1 8-oz. cartondairy sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1-oz. bottlered food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
2 egg yolks
Chocolate leaves (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
Fresh raspberries and/or small whole strawberries (optional)
1. In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and 1/2 cup butter over low heat; transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
2. Place wafer cookies, chocolate pieces, almonds and brown sugar in a large food processor. Cover and process until finely ground. Add the 1/2 cup melted butter; cover and process until well combined. Transfer crumbs to a 10×3-inch springform pan with a removable bottom. Press crumbs onto bottom and up the sides of the pan, leaving a 1/2-inch space at the top of the pan. Set aside.
3. For filling: In a very large mixing bowl, beat the cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk and red food coloring with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Add 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks all at once. Beat on low speed just until combined.
4. Pour filling into crumb-crust lined springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the oven rack. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour, or until 2 inches of outside edge appear set when shaken gently.
5. Remove springform pan from baking pan. Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a small metal spatula to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan. Cool for 1 hour; cover and chill at least 4 hours.
6. To serve, use a paper doily to decoratively sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder on the top, if you like. Garnish the center with chocolate leaves and fresh raspberries, if you like. Clean knife between each cut. Makes 20 servings.
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