HOWEVER, there ARE those special occasions where you want your cheesecake to impress company, so here is a trick that has not failed me yet: bake your cheesecake at a super low temperature for a longer time. It will come out ultra-creamy and will NOT crack.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
Spray the bottom and sides of your springform pan with a little cooking spray. Mix everything well and press into the bottom of a 9" springform pan. Bake at 300 for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
(4) 8 ounce packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
5 eggs (room temperature)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until it is light and smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Mix in vanilla.
Pour over graham cracker crust and smooth the top. Set the pan on a heavy cookie sheet and bake at 350 for fifteen minutes, then TURN YOUR OVEN DOWN TO 200 and bake for 75 more minutes. DON'T FORGET TO TURN THE OVEN DOWN!!!!!!!!!!! After 75 minutes, the center of the cheesecake will be almost set. Take it out of the oven and loosen the sides of the cheesecake by running a VERY thin blade around the edge. Leave it in the pan and let it cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge. Chill for several hours, or better yet, overnight.
PRALINE TOPPING (this is sinfully delicious!!)
¼ cup butter
1¼ cups brown sugar (packed)
16 large marshmallows
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
dash of salt
1 cup of evaporated (canned) milk
½ cup toasted pecans (or almonds)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the sugar, marshmallows, syrup and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Simmer gently for one minute. Remove from heat and cool for five minutes. Stir in evaporated milk, nuts and vanilla, mix well. This is good warm or cold over the cheese cake.