Chocolate Cookie Crust:
1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (about 30 wafers)
cup confectioners sugar
cup melted butter or margarine
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients and press mixture firmly onto bottom and -inch up side of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 minutes; cool slightly.
3 (8-ounces each) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups mini chips semi-sweet chocolate
Chocolate leaves for garnish, recipe follows
Prepare chocolate cookie crust. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and pumpkin pie spice until well blended. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until well blended. Stir in small chocolate chips; pour batter into prepared crust. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees; continue baking 60 minutes or until almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan. Cool completely; remove side of pan. Refrigerate before serving. Prepare and garnish with chocolate leaves if desired. Cover; refrigerate leftover cheesecake.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Chocolate leaves: Thoroughly wash and dry several nontoxic leaves. In small microwave-safe bowl, place 1 cup mini chips semi-sweet chocolate. Microwave on high 30 to 45 seconds or until smooth when stirred. With small soft-bristled pastry brush, brush melted chocolate on backs of leaves. Avoid getting chocolate on leaf front; removal may be difficult when chocolate hardens. Place on wax paper-covered cookie sheet; refrigerate until very firm. Beginning at stem, carefully pull green leaves from chocolate leaves; refrigerate until ready to use.