66 NILLA Wafers, divided
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine or butter, melted
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1 tsp. vanilla
25 KRAFT Caramels
3 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup PLANTERS Pecan Pieces, toasted
PREHEAT oven to 325°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 300°F if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan). Finely crush 50 of the wafers; mix with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the margarine. Press firmly onto bottom of pan. Stand remaining 16 wafers around edge of pan, pressing gently into crust to secure.
BEAT cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour into prepared crust.
BAKE 45 to 50 min. or until center is almost set. Run small knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Microwave caramels and milk on HIGH 1 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring every 30 sec. Cool slightly. Pour over cheesecake; top evenly with pecans. Cut into 16 slices to serve, using the wafers standing around the edge as a guide. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator