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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For crust, in a medium bowl combine melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Add crushed crackers; toss to mix well. Press mixture onto the bottom and about 1-1/2 inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
2. In a small saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add chocolate (do not stir). Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture evenly over the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup pecans, if desired.
3. For filling, in a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, beating on low speed just until combined (do not overbeat). Pour over chocolate pecan layer in pan.
4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosenand remove from side of springform pan; cool completely on wire rack. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
5. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish each serving with a drizzle of caramel ice cream topping, and, if desired, additional pecans and Chocolate Garnish. Makes 12 servings.
1. Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside. In a small saucepan heat semisweet baking chocolate over low heat until it melts. Drizzle chocolate over the prepared baking sheet in a crisscross pattern. Chill, uncovered, until firm. Carefully break chocolate mixture into 2-inch pieces.