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Mix together cookie crumbs, butter and almonds until blended.
Press evenly into bottom and 1-inch up sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan.
In large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until thoroughly blended. Blend in cream and vanilla and beat 3 to 4 minutes longer. Beat in melted chocolate, beating 2 minutes more.
Turn 1/2 of filling into crust, spreading evenly.
Top with a single layer of cookie halves (using them all).
Carefully top with remaining filling, spreading evenly and smoothing top.
Bake in preheated 400°F. oven 20 minutes.
Without opening oven, reduce oven temperature to 300° F. and continue baking 40 to 45 minutes longer until cheesecake is set around edges but still jiggles slightly in center.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until well chilled, 4 hours or longer. Run a sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen cake.
Combine chocolate chips and cream in a 1-quart glass measure. Heat in microwave oven on high power 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until smooth when stirred. Stir in butter, until melted, and vanilla.
Refrigerate until thickened to spreading consistency, about 25 to 30 minutes or longer.
Spread evenly on top of cake and return to refrigerator until firm.
To serve, cut into slices with sharp knife. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.