2 cups Graham Crackers
6 tbsp. butter or mararine - melted
1 lb. square caramels
1 5oz. can Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 cup pecans (or more)
4 squares Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups thawed Cool Whip (optional for serving)
PREHEAT oven to 350°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 325°F if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan). Mix crumbs and margarine; press firmly onto bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. VERY IMPORTANT- make sure crust is up side of pan, it holds the caramel in and prevents from sticking to the pan. Bake 10 minutes.
MICROWAVE caramels and milk in small microwavable bowl on HIGH 4 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after 2 minutes. Pour over crust; sprinkle with pecans.
BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add chocolate and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Best to pour mixture starting around the edge of the pan and then pour the rest to cover the caramel. By pouring around the edges this prevents the caramel from being forced to the edge of the pan and sticking.
Place springform pan on baking sheet.
BAKE 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Top each serving with 2 Tbsp. of the whipped topping.
Not a NESTLÉ®-tested recipe.