2 1/2cups (180g)chocolate animal cracker crumbs or chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/2cup (113g)unsalted butter, melted
48 ounce packages (904g)cream cheese, softened
1cup (205g)granulated sugar
1/3 cup (35g)dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2teaspoon (3g)kosher salt
1cup (293g)nutella, stirred(plus more for drizzling)
1/2cup (110g)sour cream
2cups (326g)semi-sweet chocolate chips
2cups (480ml)heavy cream
8Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates
Prepare and Bake the Cheesecake Crust
Preheat your oven to 350°F.In a mixing bowl (or the bowl of your food processor) stir the melted unsalted butter into the chocolate animal cracker crumbs.
When the mixture holds its shape when squeezed, use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the cheesecake crust into a 9" springform pan. *If the mixture doesn't hold its shape when packed add more melted butter to it before remixing. If, on the other hand, you see butter seeping up from the crust, add more crushed crackers to absorb the excess fat.
Once the crust is pressed into the pan, bake it for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool to the touch. Once cool enough to handle, carefully wrap the bottom and side of the pan in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Afterwards, set a pot- filled with 4 cups of water- on the stove to heat. You will need this later to create the baking environment for the Nutella cheesecake.
Mix the Nutella Cheesecake Batter
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. In a separate, larger mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer (or a stand mixer) to blend together the softened cream cheese and cocoa-sugar mixture, on medium-low speed, until smooth. This will take about 6 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters twice during mixing.
Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and beaters after each egg has been mixed into the batter.
Stir the cup of Nutella well until it is semi-fluid. Add it, along with the vanilla extract, to the mixing bowl and mix the batter, on low, for 3 minutes. Finally, mix in the sour cream. Scrape down the bowl and blend on low for another minute after adding the sour cream.
Bake, then Chill the Cheesecake
Scrape the prepared Nutella cheesecake batter into your springform pan. Give the pan a few taps to expel any air bubbles that may be caught in the batter. Put the cheesecake pan into a larger, shallow pan. Fill the outer pan half-way with the water you began heating earlier.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour. When the baking time is up, turn the oven off, prop the door open 3" or 4" inches and allow the cheesecake to cool gradually for an hour inside the oven.
After cooling in the oven for an hour, remove the cheesecake from the water-filled pan, and the foil. Leave the pan on the counter to cool to room temperature for another 30 minutes. Place a piece of plastic film directly on the cheesecake's top and refrigerate the Nutella cheesecake for at least 4-12 hours.
Prepare the Chocolate Ganache
About an hour and a half before you plan to serve the cheesecake, bring the heavy cream and vanilla to steaming point over medium heat in a saucier. Don't allow the cream to simmer.
When steam begins to rise, add the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Shake the pot a little to disperse the chocolate chips and leave them to melt for 5 minutes.
Whisk the cream and chocolate together for 1-2 minutes. It'll go from looking like cream flecked with chocolate to a thick chocolate sauce. Leave the chocolate ganache to cool for 10 minutes before topping the Nutella cheesecake.
Decorate the Nutella Cheesecake
When the chocolate ganache has cooled, use a small offset spatula to spread half of it over the cheesecake. Leave the collar on the springform pan to keep the chocolate ganache neat. Return the cheesecake to the fridge to give the ganache a chance to harden.
When the remaining chocolate ganache is at room temperature, use an electric hand mixer to whip the ganache, on high speed, for five minutes- scraping down the bowl occasionally. The finished whipped ganache should resemble a thick frosting and the beaters should leave marks in the ganache when it's fully whipped. Leave the ganache on the counter for now.
When the ganache on the cheesecake is firm to the touch, remove it from the refrigerator. Stir a 1/4 cup of Nutella before spooning it into a piping bag. Cut the tip of the piping bag off and pipe a drizzle of the Nutella over the surface of the cheesecake.
Once the cheesecake has been drizzled with Nutella, fit a 1M tip into a piping bag. Fill the piping bag with the whipped chocolate ganache. Try not to handle the piping bag too much or heat from your hands will melt the chocolate and cause it to become runny. Pipe 8 rosettes of ganache onto the top of the Nutella cheesecake.
Top each of your ganache rosettes with an unwrapped Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolate.Return the decorated Nutella cheesecake to the fridge until you're ready to cut into it.
Serve and enjoy your Nutella Cheesecake within 3 days of baking. Be sure to keep it stored in the refrigerator*.
*press a piece of wax or parchment paper against the exposed slices of cheesecake. This will prevent the cheesecake from becoming crusty and hard.