Silver & Lilac Wonderland
Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake
21/2 cups fine chocolate wafer cookie crumbs made from store-bought cookies
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
Three (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
10 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
For the Crust:
In a medium bowl, stir together the crumbs and melted butter. Press the crumbs into the bottom and at least halfway up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375º F. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 350º F.
For the Filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and salt on medium speed about 1 minute, or until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat for 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix for an additional 2 minutes, or until the batter is smooth and creamy. Scrape the bowl and paddles as necessary. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate.
Pour the batter into the crust. Spread it evenly with a small offset spatula, then mound it slightly higher in the center. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until lightly browned and set. There may be a few cracks around the edges. Turn off the heat, prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon, and let the cake rest in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill and firm or preferably overnight.
Run a palette knife or icing spatula around the edge of the pan, remove the springform ring, and carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. (If your want to remove the springform bottom from the cheesecake, run the spatula carefully between the crust and the bottom of the pan.)
The cheesecake can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.