Turtle Cheesecake

Prep Time : 25 minutes, plus 1 day to chill
Cook Time : 50 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup pecan pieces
2 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 (14-ounce) bag caramels
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for 6 minutes and set aside to cool.

Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.

Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a double boiler, or in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water (don't let the bowl touch the water), melt the caramels in the evaporated milk.  Stir until smooth and pour the mixture into the cooled crust.

Sprinkle the toasted pecans over the top.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, or using a hand-held mixer and a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down the bowl several times.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth.

Melt the chocolate chips in the double boiler and whip in the cream cheese mixture.  Pour the batter over the caramel layer.

Bake until barely set, about 40 minutes.

Cover, refrigerate overnight and serve cold the following day.