I made this for the first time about a year ago, and it has quickly become a family favorite. Make sure to check out the Hints for a Successful Cheesecake at the bottom. :)
10 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies (like oreos)
1/2 cup butter, melted
24 oz cream cheese, softened*
14 oz good white chocolate bar, broken into pieces
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbls vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Preparation: Preheat oven to 300 F and butter the inside of a 10 inch springform pan. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil so that the foil completely covers the bottom and sides and is pressed firmly against the pan. (I use the extra wide foil so this can be accomplished with one solid sheet.)
Make the cookie crust: First crush the cookies in a food processor or with a rolling pin until very fine. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the melted butter with a fork. Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan until you make an even layer. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan and set aside.
Make the filling: Melt the white chocolate by placing a bowl over simmering water or using a double boiler. Stir the chocolate until smooth and set aside.
Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer) to beat the cream cheese with the sugar and salt. Continue to beat until smooth, then add the eggs one at a time. After each egg, beat the mixture well and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
Add heavy cream and vanilla. Beat well. Add the sour cream and beat well at slow speed.
Give the white chocolate a final stir to make sure it is smooth and add to the cream cheese mixture. Beat well at slow speed.
Pour into the prepared springform pan.
Make a Water Bath: Place the springform pan into a high sided pan such as a lasagna pan. Place onto middle rack of oven. Add hot water to the lasagna pan. The water should come up the side of the springform pan at least half way.
Bake for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes (I find I usually end up baking it 5 - 10 minutes longer - just check it closely the last 20 minutes or so). When done, the cheesecake should be mostly solid around the edges but still jiggle a little in the center when you shake the pan. Remove from oven and let the cake stand at room temperature for about an hour.
Remove cheesecake from water bath and place in fridge (still in springform pan). Cool in fridge, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. When completely cooled you may cover with plastic wrap.
To remove cake from springform pan, run a knife under hot water, then wipe dry. Run the knife around the edge of the cheesecake. Unbuckle the springform and remove the ring. Run the knife under the cheesecake to remove the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer to a large platter.
*The tub of softened cream cheese does not work as well as the solid bricks of cream cheese softened for an hour or so on the counter.
Hints for a Successful Cheesecake:
1) Always bring refrigerated ingredients (eggs, cream cheese, sour cream, etc) up to room temperature before using
2) Always mix at the slowest speed and for the minimal time that will accomplish the task. Over beating can cause the cake to 'crack' on top.
3) Always use a water bath as described above to bake a cheesecake, even if the recipe does not call for it.
4) Always butter the inside ring of the springform pan. This prevents the cake from sticking to the sides, those preventing cracking when the cake shrinks as it cools.