Chocolate Pecan Crust
10 rectangular chocolate graham crackers
3/4 cup ground pecans
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
Place graham crackers in large plastic food storage bag. Finely crush with rolling pin. Place in bowl. Add pecans, sugar and cinnamon; stir to mix well. Add butter; mix until well blended. Scatter crumb mixture over bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Cover with plastic wrap; press evenly over bottom and up sides of pan. Refrigerate pan until ready to use.
32 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whole strawberries (optional)
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer or in food processor, until well blended and smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract; beat until blended. Pour cheese filling evenly into crust-lined pan. Bake cheesecake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes or until the center is just set. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight.
To serve, remove side of pan. Cut into wedges. Garnish with whole strawberries and fresh mint sprigs if desired.