Pull out all ingredients, and allow them to sit out at room temperature while you make the crust.
Prepare the crust
Preheat oven to 375*F. Crush the cookies in a bag (no need to remove the filling), then place cookie crumbs in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small bowl, then pour butter over crumbs and stir until evenly moist. Dump mixture into the bottom of a 9" springform pan and press down firmly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan about 1". I use a measuring cup to press the crumbs up the sides, and around the bottom.
Bake crust in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.
Prepare the filling
Pour chocolate chips into a bowl and microwave (at 50% power) until almost melted. Stir, until fully melted and smooth. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (using a paddle attachment), blend (room temperature) cream cheese until smooth.
Add sugar and blend until fully incorporated.
Add salt, sour cream and vanilla and continue to blend.
Add melted (and cooled) chocolate and blend to combine.
Crack eggs into a small bowl and blend together with a fork.
Add eggs to the cheesecake mixture and blend on low speed just until combined. You do not want to beat the mixture too much after the eggs are added, or you will incorporate too much air- causing it to later puff up and deflate.
Pour filling into baked crust.
Reduce oven temperature to 300*F.
Bake cheesecake in a water bath (pictured below) for 55-65 minutes, until the center barely jiggles when nudged.
To prepare water bath, wrap the cheesecake pan (bottom and sides) with foil, (you may need to criss cross two sheets of foil) so that no water can get into the pan. Place the foil wrapped cheesecake pan in a large roasting pan or baking dish, then pour HOT water into the roasting dish until the water is about 1" deep. Carefully move to oven and bake.
Cool cheesecake at room temperature 30 minutes, then cover and move to the refrigerator and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
Top chilled cheesecake with whipped cream (3/4 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla). Beat cream until it begins to thicken, add powdered sugar and vanilla, then continue to beat until thick and fluffy.
Top whipped cream layer with 1 can of cherry pie filling.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Cut with a sharp knife, and wipe off the knife with a moist/hot washcloth between cuts.
Creating the water bath helps the cheesecake bake more evenly and the moisture in the oven helps create a moist and creamy cheesecake.