Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

18 chocolate graham cracker squares, finely crushed (1½ cups)

½ cup butter, melted

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened, divided

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 eggs, divided

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

Peanuts for topping, optional

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine cracker crumbs, melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press into bottom and an inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 package cream cheese until smooth. Beat in peanut butter and remaining ¼ cup sugar until combined. Fold in 1 lightly beaten egg; set aside.

3. In saucepan, stir chocolate chips over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cube remaining cream cheese and add to chocolate. Stir to combine. Stir in milk and vanilla until smooth. Lightly beat the remaining 2 eggs and fold in.

4. Spread half the chocolate mixture over the crumbs in pan. Carefully spread peanut butter mixture over chocolate layer. Evenly spread remaining chocolate mixture over peanut butter mixture.


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5. Bake 45 minutes or until top is set when lightly shaken. Outer 2 inches of top with be slightly puffed and dry-looking; center will look darker and wet. Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Use small sharp knife to loosen crust from sides; cool 30 minutes. Remove sides of pan; cool completely on rack. Cover and chill 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with peanuts if desired.

-- Lynn Vogt, "Gilroy Assistance League's Reflections Volume II"