I started making this cheesecake at Thanksgiving many years ago when my siblings and I could still all get together for the holidays because our kids were young and didn't have their own lives. It became a tradition for us that continues still. This is the one that I made earlier this week and took to our partial family gathering in Oklahoma.
Here's the recipe. It's somewhat labor intensive (in my opinion), but well worth it because it tastes wonderful. The notes in my recipe book say it originated from Good Housekeeping and was called "Chocolate Zebra Cheesecake". I've changed it somewhat to fit our gluten free needs and I call it:
Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups gluten free ginger snap cookie crumbs
(if you don't like ginger snaps, you can use any other cookie crumbs, Oreos are especially desireable)
3 Tbs. butter, melted
3/4 cup chocolate chips
4 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
5 large eggs
8 oz. sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
8 1-oz. squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
Early in the day or a day ahead, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 3" springform pan. In bowl, mix the cookie crumbs and melted butter; firmly press onto bottom of springform pan for crust. Bake crust 12-15 minutes. Remove crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand several minutes until the chips soften, then spread evenly over crust. (Note: this does not work with old chocolate chips so make sure yours are fairly fresh...trust me on this) Refrigerate.
With mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. In small bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt; gradually beat mixture into cream cheese until blended. With mixer at low speed, gradually beat in eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and cream until blended and smooth.
Divide batter evenly into two containers with pouring spouts. In small saucepan over low heat, melt the baking chocolate. Stir chocolate into one of the bowls of batter.
To create the swirl design, pour half of the light batter into the springform pan. Holding the dark batter about two feet above the pan pour about half of it directly into the center of the light batter. Pouring from this height will cause batter in center of cake to be pushed toward edge of pan, forming a bull's eye design. Repeat procedure three times, decreasing the amounts of batter each time and pouring from high above the pan only into the center. Top of cake should look like a series of concentric circles.
Bake cake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn the oven control down to 225 and bake for one hour and 45 minutes or until center is set. Turn oven off and let cake remain in the oven for one hour. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a thin-bladed spatula or knife around the edge of cake to loosen from side of pan. Cool cake in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate cake at least six hours or until well chilled.
For extra decadence make this chocolate glaze/shell to coat cake with (I've done this a few times and it is very good, but extra rich). In saucepan over medium heat, heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream until bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in four 1-oz. squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate until melted and smooth. Cool glaze for 10 minutes. Meanwhile carefully remove cake from pan to cake plate; with spatula, spread the glaze over the top and side. Refrigerate 30-45 minutes until glaze is set.
To prevent your cheesecake from cracking, place a ramekin filled with water in the oven while baking the cake.
My light batter is extra yellow because I use free range organic eggs from our own chickens. Expect your cake to be a lighter color if you are using store bought eggs.