from Bon Appetit June 1993, introduced to us by hubs’ University of Houston colleague and friend, Coleen
1 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 5 ½ oz)
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped (about 2 ½ oz)
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons firmly packed golden brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 pre-made oreo cookie crust
4 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 ½ cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
¼ cup whipping cream
2 ½ cups ¾-inch pieces Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (about 10 oz)
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Crust: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter 9-inch diameter springform pan with 2 ¾ inch high sides. Mix chocolate cookie crumbs, chopped peanuts, melted butter, brown sugar and pinch of salt in bowl until well combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and ½ inch up sides of pan. Bake until crust is set, about 8 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. (--OR—use the cheater method. Spray the bottom of a springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dump the contents of a premade oreo cookie crust into the pan. It’ll break into pieces. Press evenly across the bottom and a little way up the side. If it seems a little dry, spray the top lightly with nonstick cooking spray (just a tiny touch!!). Then put it in the oven for just a minute or two until it is set.)
For Filling: Using electric mixer, beat room temperature cream cheese and brown sugar in large bowl until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and beat just until blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add whipping cream and beat until smooth. Stir in peanut butter cup pieces.
Pour filling into crust. Bake at 325 until sides of cake are set but center still moves slightly, about 55 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes.
For Topping: Blend sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract in medium bowl. Carefully spoon topping over cheesecake. Return cheesecake to oven and bake 5 minutes.
Cool cheesecake in pan on rack. Run small sharp knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated (HA HA, it would NEVER last 3 days untouched in our house.).) Release pan sides. Let stand 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.
10 servings, maybe more actually since it is a big tall cheesecake.
[Note (12/23/2010): This year we baked the big cheesecake, on right, but saved some of the batter and made a few mini "tasters" in a muffin tin. T added a chocolate chip to the top of the one at the bottom left. Delicious!!]