It's unfortunate that I forgot to take a picture of this cheesecake when I cut it. The inside is really the impressive part. Just imagine gooey caramel spilling out of the shortbread crust and little dots of pecans above that. Pretend I photographed it. Then make this.
No need for Cheesecake Factory really.
-20 Sandies shortbread cookies, finely crushed
-3 Tbsp milk
-1 (14 oz) pkg Kraft caramels
-1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk (that's the small can!)
-1 cup chopped pecans
-2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3/4 cup high quality semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a smallish bowl mix together the cookie crumbs and milk. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and slightly up the sides to hold in the caramel layer. (Seriously... do this, or your caramel will stick to the sides of your pan and when you remove the sides you'll have a big messy disaster on your hands).
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the caramels with the evaporated milk. Heat and stir frequently until smooth. Pour caramel sauce into crust, and top with pecans. Chill 1/2 hour in refrigerator or freezer or until semi-firm.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla; beat well until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Melt the chocolate at 50% power in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Blend chocolate into the cream cheese mixture. Dollop chocolate batter over pecan layer and smooth with a spatula.
Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake inside the oven for an hour to cool. Loosen cake from the edges of pan, and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Garnish with caramel sauce, chocolate, or turtles. Remove rim before serving.