Holiday Cheesecake

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Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 16 servings

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Ingredients

•1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
•1/2 cup Diamond of California® Pecans, toasted and finely chopped
•2 tablespoons light brown sugar
•6 tablespoons butter, melted

FILLING:
•4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
•1 cup sugar
•3 teaspoons vanilla extract
•4 eggs, lightly beaten
•1 cup (6 ounces) miniature semisweet chocolate chips

TOPPING:
•2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
•1/4 cup sugar
•Assorted candies

Method

•Place an ungreased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
• In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, pecans and brown sugar; stir in butter. Press onto bottom and 1-1/2 in. up the sides of prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
• In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into crust. Place in a larger baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
• Bake at 325° for 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears dull. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and sugar until smooth; spoon over hot cheesecake and spread to cover. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until topping is just set.
• Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of can. Garnish with candies. Yield: 16 servings.

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