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Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter a 10 inch (25 cm) spring form pan. Place the springform pan on a larger baking sheet (to catch any drips).

Crust: In a bowl combine the chocolate wafer crumbs with the melted butter. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake for about 5-7 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Cheesecake Filling: Melt the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Then, in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the cream cheese, on medium low speed, until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated. Finally, fold in the sour cream. Pour the batter into your pan and smooth the top.

Bake for about 50 - 55 minutes or until firm yet the center of the cheesecake still looks a little wet and wobbly. Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools). Let cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate for about an hour before covering with the ganache.

Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat (or in the microwave). Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly and then pour over cheesecake. With an offset spatula or back of a spoon, evenly spread the ganache over the top of the cheesecake. Cover and return to the refrigerator for several hours, preferably overnight. This cheesecake is quite rich, so cut small slices.

To freeze: Place the cooled cheesecake (can cut into slices) on a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, until firm. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag. Seal and return to freezer. Can be frozen for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Makes about 14 - 16 servings.

Chocolate Cheesecake Crust:

1 1/2 cups (150 grams) chocolate wafer crumbs (homemade or store bought)

1/3 cup (75 grams) butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:

12 ounces (340 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

24 ounces (3 - 8 ounce packages) (680 grams) full fat cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup (220 grams) full fat or reduced fat (light) sour cream, room temperature

Ganache:

4 ounces (115 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)

1/2 tablespoon (6 grams) butter, room temperature

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