- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1/2 recipe Molasses-Gingerbread Cookie Dough (use remaining dough to make gingerbread men or reserve for another use)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 pounds (four 8-ounce bars) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 6 Gingerbread Men, for decorating
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a generously floured piece of parchment, roll dough to a 13-by-10-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush off excess flour. Slide dough and parchment onto a baking sheet. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 14 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Break into large pieces, then pulse in a food processor until finely ground.
Combine butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups cookie crumbs in a bowl. Press mixture firmly and evenly into bottom and one third of the way up side of springform pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan with a double layer of foil. Set a kettle of water to a boil. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and the vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in molasses, salt, spices, and zest. Pour filling into cooled crust.
Set springform pan in a large, shallow roasting pan. Carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up side of springform pan. Bake cheesecake until set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer springform pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
Before serving, run a knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen; remove sides of pan. Arrange gingerbread cookies in center of cake in a circle.