Dark Chocolate Layered Cheesecake

Chocolate crust

Stir together 1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers), 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa; stir in 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter or margarine. Press mixture onto bottom and 1-1/2 inches up sides of 9-inch springform pan.

Filling

3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) dark chocolate chips, divided

1/2 teaspoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spreads or oil)

1. Prepare crust. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in eggs, heavy cream, vanilla and salt, beating until well blended.

3. Set aside 2 tablespoons chocolate chips. Place remaining chips in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1-1/2 minutes; stir. If necessary, microwave at HIGH an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted when stirred.

4. Gradually blend 1-1/2 cups cheesecake batter into melted chocolate. Remove 2 cups chocolate mixture; spread in bottom of prepared crust.

5. Blend additional 2 cups cheesecake batter into remaining chocolate mixture; spread 2 cups mixture over first layer in springform pan. Stir remaining cheesecake batter into remaining chocolate mixture; spread over second layer.

6. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, immediately loosen cake from side of pan. Cool to room temperature.

7. Place reserved chocolate chips and shortening in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave at HIGH an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred. Drizzle over top of cheesecake. Cover; refrigerate several hours until cold. Cover; refrigerate leftover cheesecake. 10 to 12 servings.

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