In a food processor, combine cookies and chocolate. Cover; process until finely ground. Add butter. Cover; process with on/off turns until moist clumps form. If you like, use plastic wrap as an aid to press crumb mixture onto the bottom and about 1 1/4 inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan (with 2 3/4-inch-high sides). Bake in a 325°F oven about 8 minutes or until set. Remove from oven; cool completely.Advertisement
Increase oven temperature to 350°. Wrap two layers of heavy-duty foil around bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
In an extra-large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until smooth. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar, the flour, 2 teaspoons orange peel and the vanilla. Beat cream cheese mixture until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed just until combined.
Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place springform pan in a large roasting pan. (Make sure there is a least 1 inch between springform pan and edges of roasting pan.) Place roasting pan on oven rack. Carefully pour enough hot tap water into roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake in a 350°F oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until edge of cheesecake is firm and center appears nearly set when lightly shaken. Remove pan from water bath; transfer to a wire rack and cool 15 minutes. Remove foil. Use a small metal spatula to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan and cool about 2 hours or until completely cooled. Cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill overnight before serving. (Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in the water. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened and bubbly. Add cranberries. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until cranberries pop, stirring occasionally. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon orange peel. Remove from heat; cool completely. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
To serve, top cheesecake with cranberry topping. Cut into wedges. If you like, clean knife between each cut.