10 to 12 graham crackers, crushed (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1-1/3 cups sugar
1� teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make this a day ahead of when you want to eat it!
Pre-heat the oven to 325˚ F.
Crush the graham crackers into crumbs either by hand or with a food processor, and combine with the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture into the base of a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
Using the paddle on your stand mixer with low speed, or the regular beaters on a hand mixer on low speed, blend the cream cheese until it is completely smooth with no lumps.
When all the lumps in the cream cheese have disappeared, add the sugar and vanilla extract. Blend just to incorporate the ingredients and then add the eggs one at a time. Continue to mix until the eggs have been mixed in, but do not over-beat.
Pour the batter into the springform pan with the graham cracker crust. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in aluminum foil to create a completely waterproof seal. Place the springform pan in a larger baking pan. Fill the larger baking pan with water until it halfway up the sides of the springform pan, creating a water bath.
Bake at 325˚ F for one hour. After one hour, the center of the cheesecake should still jiggle when you tap the pan gently. Turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake in the closed oven for another hour. Then remove the cake from the oven and let it cool to room temperature on your kitchen counter before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.