First of all, pan prep. Parchment paper line the bottom of your 9″ springform pan. If you leave the little tabs on 2 sides, its easier to slide the finished cheesecake off the bottom of the pan, so you don’t accidentally scratch the surface trying to get up under there with a spatula.
Bake the crust at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, get your cookie pans loaded with the rest of the cookie dough, and go ahead and bake those off too, or refrigerate for later.
Take a break, get a glass of milk, eat 1-3 cookies. Doctor’s orders. Or someone’s. Doesn’t matter, just do it.
Start your pot of water to boil for the water bath. Decrease your oven temp to 325, mix the batter according to recipe directions (New York Cheesecake with Strawberries) and stir any leftover chocolate chips you may have. This is an optional, but very nice addition. Pour into the prepared pan. Now, you will have about 1.5 cups of extra batter because of the rise of the crust. That’s ok – put it in a covered container and refrigerate. Later on you can pull it out, allow it to come to room temp, and bake it off in muffin tins. Notice instead of wrapping the pan in foil x 2, I’m using a slightly larger, 2″ tall pan to protect my cheesecake from the water bath. Go ahead and bake according to the recipe link – my oven is slow, so I’m baking it for the entire hour and 45 minutes. If your oven is a non-geriatric non-hypothyroid oven, start checking at 1 hour 30 minutes. When its done (very little jiggle in the middle – sounds like a good idea in lots of life areas…but I digress), turn off the oven, crack the door just a little, and leave it for another 30 minutes to an hour. After this you’ll want to refrigerate for several hours.
Now you need some chocolate ganache and some candied pecans. For the pecans, melt 1/2 stick butter with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and a dash of salt, stirring constantly. Allow to come to a simmer, and cook for one minute. Stir in 2 cups of chopped pecans until coated, turn out onto wax paper and cool completely.
For the ganache, bring one cup of heavy cream to a simmer. Pour over 1-1/3 cup of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips – I used dark chocolate here, since there is so much sweetness elsewhere. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes of NO MESSIN WITH. After 5 minutes, stir gently until the ganache comes together. Don’t panic – at first it will look like lumpy chocolate milk. Keep stirring, and all of a sudden it will come together and be glossy and smooth. Spoon the desired amount over the finished cheesecake – I used about 1/2 cup or so, and put the rest in the fridge for ice cream or whatever. Now, top with those candied pecans, and chill for another 30 minutes to an hour.
This is a super, super rich cheesecake, but with the fun twist of a cookie bottom. You can call it so-fist-icated since it has the candied pecans on it, if you like! Pour up a cup of coffee and enjoy.