Monday, November 17, 2014

Pecan Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Last year, I was asked if  I made pumpkin cheesecakes. Cheescakes were not really a specialty of mine. And I didn't really eat cheesecakes too often, so I said I didn't. But I promised to try to make it this year. Well, I'm always good on my word, so I made it a mission of mine to look for theee best Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe and I think I've found it from I am Baker. This is her version of the Cheesecake Factory's Pumpkin Cheesecake. However, I decided to switch it up and make a ginger snap and pecan crust, which I think took this recipe over the top.

Baking a cheesecake is pretty tricky. Bake it too long and you'll end up with cracks in the middle of your cheesecake. So I searched for different tricks on how to bake it and I toyed with different baking methods using straight baking and water-bath baking. Although I really liked the texture and appearance of the cheesecake after water-bath baking, I often ended up with a soggy crust due to the water seeping into the springform baking pan. Straight baking made the outer edges of the cheesecake look darker, but they always came out consistent. So its all in your preference. There is also a lot of cooling time for cheesecake. Properly cooling it will help prevent the cracks from forming.

There is a lot of work and effort into baking a cheesecake but there is no doubt that it will be delicious. The caramel sauce totally makes this cheesecake decadent. This definitely made me a pumpkin cheesecake lover. But only MY pumpkin cheesecake. lol. Hubby took one bite and I had him in the palm of my hand. He was definitely proud of this dessert of mine. I had him take some to work and I immediately had some people order for their Thanksgiving celebrations. This will definitely be made frequently in our household.

32 pieces of ginger snap cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted

1) Finely crush cookies in a food processor. Mix in butter, sugar and chopped pecans.

2) Generously grease a 9-inch springform pan or spray with a non-stick cooking spray. This is important to make sure your cheesecake releases nicely from the pan. Press the cookie mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
prepared whipped cream
caramel sauce

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

2) In an electric stand mixer, cream together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined.

3) Add pumpkin, eggs and pumpkin pie spice and continue beating until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

4) Pour filling into prepared pan.

5) Place in the oven (or place on a roasting pan filled with water and place in the oven). Bake for 50-55 minutes. The center should still be jiggly after baking time.

6) Turn the oven off (and remove from the roasting pan if you are water-bath baking). Allow the cheesecake to cool inside the oven with the oven door slightly ajar. This will cool the oven down and allow the cheesecake to cool slowly, which will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking. This may take a couple of hours.

7) Once the oven has cooled down, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to completely cool at room temperature.

8) Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate overnight. Top with prepared whipped cream and drizzle caramel sauce.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle

Now that Fall is in full swing, you all know how I like to stock up on pumpkins after visiting the pumpkin patch around Halloween every year. Around this time, I usually make my staple Pumpkin Spice Pancakes or Pumpkin Soup. And if I'm feeling a little bit more celebratory, I'll make my Pumpkin Dream Cake. This year, quite a few people have been ordering my Pumpkin Cake Roll. You'd think I'd be pumpkined out. But no. I still want to add to my pumpkin repertoire and searched for another pumpkin recipe. This time, I wanted to make cookies out of my pumpkin.

On Pinterest, many have posted recipes for Pumpkin Snickerdoodle. My daughter loves Snickerdoodles, so I decided to give this recipe a try from Center Cut Cook. These cookies came out soft, light and airy and more like a cake than a cookie. But it was delicious. I love the subtle flavor of pumpkin and all the spices in this cookie. And my daughters love these as well.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar (for topping)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon (for topping)

1) In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs and mix well.

2) In a separate large bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Combine dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

3) Stir in pumpkin puree. Place dough in the freezer to chill for about 90 minutes.

4) When dough has chilled, pre heat oven to 350 deg F. Then in a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Set aside.

5) Using an ice cream scoop, scoop dough to make a ball. Roll ball into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place dough balls on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges begin to brown. The middle of the cookie will appear uncooked, which is okay.

6) Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.