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Originally published Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Recipe: Frango Chocolate Cheesecake

Serves 16

- Nonstick cooking spray

Crust:

- 1 cup fine chocolate wafer-cookie crumbs (about 20 cookies)

- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar

Filling:

-15 Frango mint chocolates, coarsely chopped (see Kitchen Note)

- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature

- 1 package (8 ounces) light cream cheese, room temperature

- 1 cup granulated sugar

- 2 eggs, room temperature

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- 1/3 cup whipping cream or half-and-half

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping:

- ¼ teaspoon unflavored gelatin

- 1 tablespoon cold water

- 3 Frango mint chocolates, chopped

- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature

Glaze:

- ¾ cup whipping cream

- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

- 3 Frango mint chocolates, chopped

- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Place a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan, using a paper towel to wipe out excess. Set aside.

2. To prepare crust: Combine cookie crumbs, melted butter and sugar, mixing until well blended. Transfer to prepared springform pan and press evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan. (The crust is not pre-baked.)

3. To prepare filling: Heat a pot of water until it's steaming but not simmering. Place chocolates in a stainless steel bowl and place over, but not touching, the hot water. (A double boiler can also be used.) Heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until almost melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely smooth. Cool until tepid.

4. Place cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it begins to smooth out. (An electric mixer can also be used.) Add sugar and blend well. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add melted chocolate, cream and vanilla and beat until well mixed.

5. Pour into the crust, smoothing out the top. Bake about 40 minutes or until the sides of the cake rise and the top jiggles slightly when shaken. (The cake will appear underbaked but will firm upon chilling.) Run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to release cake from the sides. Tranfer cake to a wire rack and allow to cool completely in the pan.

6. To prepare topping: Heat a pot of water until steaming but not simmering. Combine gelatin and water in a stainless steel bowl and place over hot water until gelatin is softened. (A double boiler can also be used.) Add chocolate and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until melted. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and allow to cool until tepid. Whisk sour cream into chocolate mixture until blended. Evenly spread topping on top of the cheesecake and refrigerate 4 hours, until completely chilled.

7. To prepare glaze: Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until melted. Add butter and whisk until melted. Let rest at room temperature 30 minutes until cooled and thickened. With the sides of the pan still in place, pour glaze evenly over the cheesecake and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until set. The cake can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.

Times Kitchen Note: Seattle Chocolates, sold in grocery stores, also makes a mint truffle similar to Frangos that can be used in this recipe.

From "The Marshall Field's Cookbook: Classic Recipes and Fresh Takes from the Field's Culinary Council"

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