Combine crumbs and butter and press onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Melt caramels in milk in heavy 1 1/2 quart saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour over crust. Top with pecans. Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Mix at medium speed with electric mixer until well-blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Blend in chocolate. Pour over pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of pan. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream, additional chopped nuts and maraschino cherries if desired.
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