1Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minute or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles.
Cool brownies, then cut them into 3/4- to 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake (I used a pizza cutter, per Deb’s recommendation). You will have more than the two cups of cubes, loosely measured, than you will need, and I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to decide for yourself what to do with the extra. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.
2Part Two: Crumb Crust
1½ cups or 5 ounces (3 cups or 10 ounces to double) finely ground Oreos, or other chocolate cookie
5 tablespoons (10 tablespoons to double) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (2/3 cup to double) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspooon (¼ teaspoon to double) salt
Stir together ingredients and press into bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 10? springform pan. Fill right away or chill for up to 2 hours.
3Part Three: Cheesecake
3 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Make crumb crust as directed above for 10-inch cheesecake. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
When completely cool, top with following glaze.
4Part Four: Ganache Glaze
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium size mixing bowl. Scald the butter and cream together in a saucepan (or in the microwave on HIGH for 1 minute). Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and then whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.