Holiday Cheesecake

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Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1-1/2 hours plus chilling

Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 16 servings


•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

•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

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


•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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