“When you think about gingerbread, you probably think about cutout cookies and maybe big square wedges of cake, but cheesecake? It all started with me thinking about the very popular gingerbread latte at my local coffeehouse and how I could spin it into a cheesecake. Then, in one of those timing-is-everything moments, I came across a new Nestlé product: Toll House Rolled & Ready Gingerbread Cookie Dough Sheets. Whoa. I looked at the package and thought, why didn’t anyone think of this before? We are all running around like crazy during the holidays and time in the kitchen can be hard to carve out. I used the sheets to make an effortless par-baked crust, poured the cheesecake batter on top, and brought the cake to a potluck to rave reviews. I don’t typically reach for a convenience product, but this one rocked. The gingerbread cookie cutout decorations on top are optional, but nice. I painted mine with powdered food colors.” — Dédé Wilson, founder of Bakepedia — The Baker's Resource ®
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9- by 3-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Wrap the exterior of the pan with a double layer of foil coming up the sides of the pan. Have larger roasting pan ready to create a water bath.
Line the bottom of the pan with the gingerbread cookie dough, then cut to fit. Press any seams together with your fingers.
Bake until dry and just beginning to color, 10 to 12 minutes. If you also want cutout cookies to decorate the top of your cheesecake, simply cut them out, place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake for eight to ten minutes (depending on size) while you bake the crust. Cool the crust (and cookies) while you make the cheesecake filling; turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the molasses, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla, then beat in cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Beat in the flour. Make sure the batter is ultra-smooth. Scrape the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and spread into an even layer. Place the foil-wrapped pan in a larger roasting pan and add enough hot water to the larger pan to come up the sides about 1 inch.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes. The top should look a bit dull and puffed; the center will still jiggle slightly.
While the cheesecake bakes, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla; set aside.
Gently pour the sour cream layer on top of the cheesecake and spread into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, but no longer. Remove the pan from the water, then unwrap the foil and cool completely on a rack. Refrigerate at least overnight. Once chilled, the cake may be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Before serving, run an icing spatula around edge of cheesecake to loosen; remove the sides of the pan and place on a display platter. Decorate with the cookies, if you like, or grate fresh nutmeg over the top right before serving.