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Chocolate Cheesecake #6

Author/Submitted by:
Servings: 16
Categories: Cheesecakes / Chocolate / Desserts

1  cup  chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
16  ounces  Neufchatel cheese, or cream cheese, softened
1  cup  sour cream, at room temperature
1  cup  sugar
1  Tbsp  cornstarch
1  Tbsp  vanilla extract
9  ounces  bittersweet chocolate, melted
3  large  eggs, at room temperature
1/4  cup  creme de cacao, or chocolate-flavored liqueur
    Decoration: chocolate leaves (see Note), fresh raspberries, fresh mint leaves

1. Heat oven to 325F. Lightly grease an 8- or 9-in. springform pan. Wrap foil over bottom and 1 to 2 in. up outside of pan to prevent fat drips in oven.

2. Press cookie crumbs firmly over bottom and 1 in. up sides of pan.

3. Beat Neufchatel or cream cheese in a large bowl with mixer on high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to medium and beat in sour cream until well blended, scraping bowl and beaters once or twice. Beat in sugar, cornstarch and vanilla, then melted chocolate.

4. With mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. Beat in liqueur; pour into cookie crust.

5. Bake 1 hour, 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted 2 in. from center of cake comes out clean (center will still jiggle slightly when pan is gently shaken). Cool pan on a wire rack 10 minutes, then carefully run a thin knife around inside edge to release cake and crust. Leave cake in pan.

6. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before removing sides of pan.

7. Decorate with chocolate leaves anytime, but don't add raspberries and mint until shortly before serving.

Planning Tip: The chocolate leaves can be made up to 1 week ahead. Cover the cake and refrigerate up to 4 days or wrap airtight and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw 2 days in refrigerator before serving. Note on Chocolate Leaves: Thoroughly wash 10 to 12 rose or lemon leaves of varying sizes. Dry completely. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Loosely crumple about 10 small pieces of foil and space a few inches apart on the waxed paper. Melt 1/3 cup each semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips separately as directed on bags. Brush or carefully spread a thick layer on backs of leaves. Drape, chocolate side up, over the foil. Refrigerate until set. Peel off the leaves (they can be used at least once more). Refrigerate in a rigid container with waxed paper between layers.

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