Needs to be baked and refrigerated for 8 hours or overnight before topping.
For a no bake version and making homemade sugar free condensed milk substitute see below.
Graham Cracker Crust:
16 Graham crackers, finely crushed
approximately 4-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Cookie Crust:
1 cup sugar or granulated sucralose
1 cup flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark baking cocoa
approximately 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted
2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar or granulated sucralose
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup Hershey’s Special Dark baking cocoa, and/or 1 cup chocolate chips
Use 9 inch spring-form pan if intend remove to a serving platter — or otherwise use a pan or dish you feel comfortable leaving it in to serve — or may also attempt to line a pan with parchment paper or foil to make lifting it out of a non-spring-form pan possible. If intend to leave it the baking pan or dish to serve, very lightly butter the bottom and about 1/8 to 1/4 inch up the sides from the bottom.
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Mix dry ingredients for chosen crust well.
Slowly add just enough melted butter to moisten mixing well after each addition. Stop adding melted butter when you can pinch it between thumb and forefinger and it just begins to somewhat stick together.
Press gently to mold into bottom of pan.
Bake for ten minutes.
Remove and allow to cool completely on cooling rack.
Decrease oven temperature to 325 F degrees.
Using stand mixer with whisk or paddle attachment or using an electric hand mixer, cream together sugar and cream cheese.
Add sour cream and blend to combine.
Add eggs one at a time and blend to combine.
Add remaining ingredients (except chocolate chips) and mix until well blended, smooth, and then fluffy.
Fold in chocolate chips (optional) or sprinkle on top after batter has been placed in pan.
Pour into the pan over crust. Gently and evenly spread with rubber spatula if required.
Bake for approximately 45 to 50 minutes or until lightly golden brown. It will appear to be set around the edges but still jiggle a bit in the center when done.
If still extremely wet but top is already browning, very loosely cover top with a sheet of foil — but poke vent holes to allow moisture to escape.
Remove and cool on rack. When fully cooled, cover and refrigerate still in the baking pan for 8 hours or overnight.
If removing from spring-form pan, run blade or spatula around edges before removing the outer ring. Run a blade or spatula under the edges of the crust carefully to loosen all the way around before attempting to remove. Place on serving platter.
If using parchment or foil lined pan, remove from pan then very carefully peel while inserting spatula or blade carefully as needed to prevent cheesecake from sticking and tearing away. Place on serving platter.
If leaving pan or dish to serve, run blade or spatula around the sides to loosen prior to adding topping.
Add topping of choice. Serve.
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
Fruit Topping (or Pie Filling):
Cherry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Strawberry, Apricot, Apple, or Pear
1 Tbsp. corn starch (If using sucralose, increase to 2 Tbsp)
4 Tbsp hot water
1-1/2 cups sugar or granulated sucralose
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional
1/8 tsp ground clove, optional
1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
3 cups choice of prepared fruit or berries
Optional: 1 to 3 Tbsp brandy, sherry, etc. as desired
Whisk the corn starch with hot water to form a smooth mixture. Set aside.
Combine sugar, cinnamon, and clove.
Place the cherries and sugar mixture in a pot over medium heat.
Stir to dissolve the sugar.
As soon as the sugar is dissolved, give the cornstarch mixture another quick whisk then add to the fruit and stir to blend thoroughly.
Continue to stir it comes to a boil and becomes slightly thickened and glossy.
Remove from heat.
Stir in vanilla and if using also liquor (optional).
Use as desired, cooling first if required.
Note: May be canned using water bath method.
Chocolate Drizzle Topping:
Drizzle top with stripes of a choice of melted dark, and/or white chocolate, or Hershey’s syrup, or fudge sauce.
Hot Fudge Sauce:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup Hershey’s baking cocoa
3 cups sugar or granulated sucralose
1 can (12 ounce) evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
Melt butter, cocoa, sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil and boil for 7 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
Whisk vigorously for a minute or two.
Store in refrigerator in sealed jar or airtight container.
Microwave to warm and stir well before serving.
After final whisking, may pour immediately into sterilized canning jars and use hot water bath canning method if desired.
Do NOT use inversion canning method nor pressure cooker due to dairy content! Inversion does not ensure food safety. Pressure canning can cause curdling or clumping as well as result in over thickening of sauce into a rubbery or tar texture.
1 cup sugar or granulated sucralose
1 small can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 to 4 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup pecans, fine chipped
1/2 to 1 tsp cornstarch (If using sucralose, increase to 1 or 1-1/2 tsp) dissolved in 2 Tbsp warm water
maraschino cherries, halved
Optional: 1 to 2 Tbsp Dark Jamaican Rum
Heat sugar, pineapple, juice, rum (optional), and pean chips in saucepan to dissolve sugar.
As soon as sugar has dissolved, stir in cornstarch mixture.
Continue to stir until very slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. (Caution: It will still be hot/warm!)
Stir well right before using. Spread the hot/warm topping thinly over top of cake.
After spreading, add maraschino cherry halves.
Allow to cool completely and set — especially before adding frostings or other items that could melt unintentionally.
If desired, top individual servings with fresh slices of banana. (Note: I do not personally care for banana on cheesecake, but goes very well with this topping when used on chocolate, chocolate rum, coconut, and other cakes).
Other Topping Options, include but are not limited to:
Fresh fruit slices
Piped Whipped Cream
Piped Frosting Decorations
Maraschino cherries pre-soaked for 24 hours or longer in choice of rum, vodka, champagne, sherry, or brandy, then if desired dipped in melted chocolate and rested on waxed paper in cool area (do not refrigerate except to quick start for longer than 15 to 25 minutes or chocolate fats will separate turning the chocolate whitish or grey) until chocolate has set.
If you want/need a “cheat” no bake version (not diabetic friendly or low sugar) which only needs to be chilled for a few hours:
Read labels carefully on the pie filling and crusts — OR make your own to reduce sugar, artificial additives, etc.
However, the condensed milk has added sugar and there is no getting around that. So either control via portion size — OR — Make your own sugar free condensed milk!
To Make Sugar Free Condensed Milk:
Equivalent to 12 ounce can of condensed milk — although actual total quantity may vary slightly.
1/2 cup granulated sucralose
1/2 cup water
1 – 1/3 cups powdered milk
Mix water and powdered milk. Heat water and powdered milk until hot but do not boil then stir in granulated sucralose. Cool and store in airtight container or jar in refrigerator.
Version Two (Recommended for No Bake Cheesecake)
1 can evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups granulated sucralose
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Heat 1 can evaporated milk and granulated sucralose in a saucepan over medium heat just until warm and whisk in 1 Tbsp cornstarch. Reduce heat and simmer stirring constantly until smooth and thickened. Cool completely and use right away.