Tonight we’re headed to a Halloween party. I will be dressed as a bear bringing pumpkin cheesecake squares. Maybe just dressed as a bear (to Ed’s Grizzly Adams); the dessert isn’t part of the costume.
I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago and knew it would be good. It comes from the Baked Boys and every recipe of theirs is a keeper. These cheesecake squares have a layer of pumpkin cheesecake and then they’re topped with a healthy dose of cream cheese frosting. DOUBLE CREAM CHEESE. I skipped their pastry layer for a much quicker and easier graham cracker crust. I also decorated the top with a chocolate spider web, which kind of loses its affect when you cut up the squares. I snuck a little bite and they are pretty awesome.
Happy almost Halloween!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
8 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling:
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 large eggs
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1 tablesoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped or 1/4 cup of chocolate, melted
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch glass or light colored metal baking pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper and butter the parchment paper.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter in a bowl, then distribute in your prepared pan, pressing the mix into the bottom of the pan. (Note, I halved the recipe and didn’t test this ratio for the crust- add more crumbs and butter to form a solid layer along the bottom of the pan if needed)
Remove the pan from the freezer, line it with aluminum foil, and fill it with pie-weighs or dried beans. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300° F.
Make the cheesecake filling:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed just until it is lump free and smooth. Do not over beat or the tops of the bars may crack. Add the sugar and beat again until well combined, about 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and spices. Add this mixture to the mixer and beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter will be loose.
Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 23-30 minutes, or until the filling is set and slightly puffy. Allow the bars to cool to room temperature, before chilling in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat just until smooth.
Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the chilled pumpkin squares. Sprinkle pecans evenly over the top of the squares or drizzle the melted butter on top and return to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
They can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.
Please excuse the excessive text for this post; bagels are kind of a big part of my life.
I worked at a bagel bakery through out college. Lots of early mornings opening the store, prepping cream cheese and baked goods, waiting on customers, pulling bagels off the bagel shaper, and, very rarely, getting to mix up some actual bagels. I ate plenty of bagels in this time, about two a day and yes I did put on quite a bit of weight. Now I still eat bagels, but usually after a long run. My favorite are always salt bagels which seem to be a dying breed. But there’s nothing tastier than a salt bagel with cream cheese.
Well, maybe a grey salt bagel with herbs de province hot out of the oven with cream cheese. I just ate a bite and cried a little. So good. I’d never attempted bagels at home before. It is an involved process, but when every bagel shop stops making salt bagels, you must take matters into your own hands. I made a few simplifications to the recipe. I skipped the egg glaze on the bagels (they were nicely browned without it), used a rack on a sheet pan in the oven to let the air circulate underneath the bagels a little better, and I pulled them out of the oven at 25 minutes to cool. I also boiled the second batch right away which was a mistake because they got a little too fat. I miss that bagel shaping machine. Perfect bagels every time.
After a (super windy but fun) marathon on Sunday and a spin class tonight, I was in need of some carbs. These bagels did the trick. Heather has the recipe on her blog if you’re up for the homemade bagel challenge.
For Jessica’s wedding shower (Aren’t they a cute couple?!), I decided we needed a nice girlie cocktail. This one combines the mint/lime/rum flavors of a mojito with the bubbly of champagne.
I love reading Jessica’s posts- she always has great baked goods and tailgating ideas (I’ve been bookmarking everything for football season). I’m so happy I got to meet her via Tuesdays with Dorie. Can’t wait to see the wedding photos!
Thanks to Nikki for organizing the virtual shower. Take a look at what everyone else made. I only wish we could all be doing this in person!
From Food & Wine
Makes 12 drinks
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups packed mint leaves,
plus 12 mint sprigs, for garnish
6 limes, cut into wedges
2 cups light rum
3 cups Champagne or sparkling wine
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over high heat
just until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the mint leaves and lime
wedges and muddle well with a wooden spoon. Add the rum and stir well.
Strain the drink into another pitcher.
Fill tall glasses with cracked ice and pour in the drink, filling them about
twothirds full. Top with Champagne, garnish with the mint sprigs and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The mojitos can be prepared through Step 2. Refrigerate the
mojitos in the pitcher overnight.
This one is far from the pumpkin quick bread that you have in your mind. There is nothing quick about the recipe. A first rise, then overnight in the fridge, then up to room temp again, then baked, then cooled, then eat. This really is a bread though, complete with nice yeast flavor. The description as similar to a brioche is right on.
I just added some fresh cranberries, held off on the walnuts and raisins. The cranberries were nice and tart. This will be a really great toast for breakfast this morning, I’m willing to bet.
Find the recipe with our host, Rebecca at This Bountiful Backyard
Out of the oven just minutes ago. I sliced the end off for sampling as soon as it was cool enough to handle. So, so good. I only made one loaf but I have a feeling I’ll be making another batch next week.
PS- anyone else get big air bubbles like mine? See the lumps at the top of the bread in the photo. Good things looks aren’t everything.
Despite a long name and three separate layers, these bars are really simple to put together. Normally, I don’t like recipes that combine two or more desserts. While I’d probably rather eat a giant chocolate chip cookie AND a nice slice of cheesecake, these bars are easier than all that and pretty tasty too.
I like a recipe that only makes an 8x8 pan. Fewer in the house for me to eat and not enough to really give away so I keep them all for us.
I used almond extract in the batter as I am out of vanilla(!). Almond extract has a stronger flavor so I used a bit less and the bars still have a good almond flavor. That said, when I make them again I’d go with vanilla for a more classic chocolate chip cookie flavor.
Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook and My Baking Addiction
Makes 12 bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper (leave a little overhang to help lift the bars out of the pan later) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave the oven on at 325.
Prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be a little sandy. Set aside (I put it in the bowl the crust was mixed in and then just wipe the mixer bowl to save washing extra dishes!).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla then pinch of salt on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter, pushing the dough together in little globs as you put them in place. The dough should cover most of the cheesecake layer
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Lift the bars out by the overhang; slice into desired size and store in the refrigerator.
Well, after an 18 mile run yesterday I decided to take on a mini version of this recipe. I also decided to do this in the evening, after half a cocktail. As you might imagine, my ability to improv a recipe under these conditions yield less than perfect results. The nectarine layer was good. The cake was very eggy tasting. Both Ed and I agreed that it was too ugly to photograph. I ate chocolate chip cookies instead.
I promise to do better next time.
Growing up, we used to always have Yorkshire pudding instead of popovers. As far as I can tell, the recipe is very similar. One difference? Yorkshire pudding falls in the middle, where popovers stay puffed- or at least mine did. I used a little hot oil in the muffin tin and didn’t need to cook the popovers quite as long- which was good because dinner was ready. We had these with a little (maybe a lot) of butter for dinner last night.
Leftovers this morning with more butter and perhaps some cinnamon sugar or some maple syrup I picked up in Vermont this weekend. Cute little maple stand by the side of the road while running a 100 mile relay. Turns out, maple syrup is good running fuel.
Totally thought I had another week to post this recipe. Whoops! Ah well, made it just in time. Tuesday nights are already crazy for me- running from the day job to teach spinning at night. Today I also had to make a dessert to bring to a work picnic tomorrow. I’ve got two desserts in the oven as I type and I’m covered in flour.
For the galette, I used just buttermilk, no ice water, to make the dough. Filled it with strawberries, the only berry in the house, and a handful of chocolate chips. Folded up the edges and sprinkled with sugar and ta da. Not too shabby for a Tuesday night dessert.
I’d love to try the dough again with sour cream and change up the fillings. Can’t wait to see the combinations everyone else came up with this week. You can find the recipe with Lisa of Tomato Thymes in the Kitchen and Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness
I like this recipe for blueberry muffins because it is easily adaptable. I had only a tablespoon or two of yogurt left, so I used sour cream for the remainder and it worked out really well. I might even just replace the yogurt with sour cream entirely. With a nice sprinkle of coarse sugar on top, these are the perfect go to recipe.
And yes, the oven temps are correct. High, brief heat gives you some nice fluffy muffins.
- Blueberry Muffins
- Adapted from Alton Brown
- 12 1/2 ounces cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Heavy pinch salt (or fine sea salt)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream or a mixture of both
- 1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries
- A couple of tablespoons of sugar, coarse or otherwise, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 380 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin (for 12 muffins) with vegetable spray.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg and yogurt. Add the dry ingredients reserving 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients and toss with the blueberries. Stir mixture for a count of 10. Add 1 cup blueberries to mixture and stir 3 more times.
Using an ice cream scoop, add the mixture to greased muffin pans. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Place into the oven and increase the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Remove from oven and turn out, upside down on tea towel to cool completely (even after spraying, I had to loosen the muffins from the tin a bit before taking them out). Serve immediately or store in airtight container for 2 to 3 days.