Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and position rack in center of oven (too high or too low of rack placement will cause baking problems). NOTE: Use a conventional (regular) oven rather than a convection oven in baking your cheesecake. The forced hot air from the convection oven causes too much browning and can often cause the center of the cheesecake to collapse.
Prepare Chocolate Crust.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and peanut butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. NOTE: Do not over beat the mixture. You want to avoid beating air into the mixture. Too much air will make the cheesecake fall.
Add sour cream and lemon juice. Add chocolate chips, mixing until blended into the mixture. Pour cheesecake mixture into prepared cookie crust, using the back of a spoon to spread evenly over the crust (this helps get rid of any extra air bubbles).
Place cheesecake in center of middle oven rack. Position a baking pan filled halfway with hot water on lower rack. Bake 15 minutes, then lower own temperature to 300 degrees and bake another 70 minutes or until edges are light brown and center is almost set. NOTE: There should be no wet spots or liquid areas in the center of the cheesecake. Remember that a cheesecake continues to cook when it is removed from the oven.
How to tell when cheesecake is done cooking: The cheesecake is done when center is almost set, but jiggles slightly when gently shaken. For a perfect cheesecake, use a cooking thermometer and take it out of the oven when the cheesecake reaches 150 degrees F. at the center to avoid over baking. Expect a slight shrinkage as it cools. If there is great shrinkage, you have baked it at too high a heat.
How to prevent cracks in your cheesecake: When the internal temperature of a cheesecake rises beyond 160 degrees F. while baking, it will always crack. To prevent this from happening, use an instant-read cooking thermometer to test its doneness. Take it out of the oven when the cheesecake reaches and internal temperature of 150 degrees F. at the center to avoid over baking.
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
Turn oven off. Let cake stand in oven, with door ajar, 30 minutes or until center is completely set. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. NOTE: A wonderful looking baked cheesecake (with no cracks), can crack as it sits on the cooling rack because the cake shrank during cooling and clung to the sides of the springform pan. To avoid this from happening, cool the cheesecake for only a few minutes, and then, using a paring knife, free it from the sides of the pan before allowing it to cool completely.
Prepare Chocolate Topping. Spread Chocolate Topping over cooled cheesecake. Let Chocolate Topping cool and set.
Once the cheese cake is cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours before cutting (the cheesecake will solidify to a perfect consistency during this time).
To serve, slide a small knife around edge of cake to loosen it and remove sides of the springform pan; transfer onto a cake plate.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Chocolate Crust Recipe:
1 1/2 cups (about 22 cookies) cream-filled chocolate cookie crumbs, including the filling*
3 tablespoons butter, melted
* I like to use Oreo cookies
Lightly grease (butter) a 9-inch springform pan. In a food processor, whirl cookie crumbs to fine crumbs. Add butter; whirl 5 to 10 seconds more. Place crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared pan being careful not to get crumbs on sides of pan. Press crumb mixture firmly and evenly over the bottom. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool crust completely on a wire rack.
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons powdered (confectioner's) sugar
In a medium bowl combine sour cream, melted chocolate chips, and powdered sugar.