Boozy Browned Butter Brownies

Boozy Browned Butter Brownies

Boozy Browned Butter Brownies




Heh. Title as tongue twister. I thought about Browned Butter Baileys & Kahlua Brownies, but that just wasn’t as fun. Then again, I’m probably just easily amused.

I posted on my facebook page earlier that I found it funny that bloggers are accused of *cough cough, I’m looking at you, Martha Stewart* not testing recipes and just generally not knowing what they are doing. Why did I find that funny? Because it took me more than one pan of these brownies to get it right, to get it to where I thought they were good enough. Mind you, my boys absolutely loved the pans that didn’t make the cut. Brownie overload. But I was NOT going to post a recipe/slash photo that wasn’t good enough. And I know I’m in the majority with that opinion. The majority of bloggers I know won’t post something that either doesn’t turn out magically wonderful on the first try or that they haven’t decided is great after the 73rd try (and fail). We take as much pride in our work as people in any other job. The ones that don’t are the ones that disappear after six months because blogging is work. The things we post don’t happen in five minutes. We spend hours a day creating (or recreating and making our own the recipes of others) recipes, photographing them, writing posts etc etc. Why? Because we love you *breaks into the Mickey Mouse Club Theme Song* And because we love to cook, and love to write and love the people we meet. Bottom line though? Find a decent blogger…and chances are you are finding someone whose recipes you can trust. I hope you count me among them. If for no other reason than my sons are over here getting nauseous and fat from too many brownies.

Boozy Browned Butter Brownies

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate (Again, Ghirardelli makes a good one), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square pan with foil; butter the foil.
  2. Place your butter in a medium saucepot. Over medium heat, melt the butter and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the butter is golden brown. Watch carefully, cause this can go from brown to black in a second and then all you’ll have is 3/4 of a cup of trash.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate. Let sit for five minutes, then stir to get a smooth mixture.  Stir in the brown sugar and a 1/2 cups of the white sugar. Add in the vanilla and 3 of the eggs, one at a time, and stir well after each one.
  4. Stir in the flour, then spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons flour. Using a hand mixer, beat at low speed until well combined. Add in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the egg; beat well.
  6. Add in the liquors (you can btw, sub any favorite liquor for the Kahlua and Baileys. Using all of one of them would be yummy, as would something like Amaretto or Frangelico or maybe Peppermint Schnapps for a Christmas version) and beat well.
  7. Pour the cream cheese batter over the top of the brownie batter. Spoon portions of the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake batter and use a knife or the back of a spoon to swirl the two batters together. The brownie batter is thick so don’t expect it to swirl easily.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it.
  9. Let cool in pan on a rack for about an hour, then use the foil to take the brownies from the pan. These will cut easier (and have a better texture) if you let them chill overnight. Slice with a hot sharp knife.

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Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies With Apricots & Blueberries

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies With Apricots & Blueberries

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies With Apricots & Blueberries


I remember how back when I was a kid, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and we wore Saber Tooth Tiger skins for clothing,  some years at Christmas time, my mom would get a fruit tray to set out. She also got a bag of shell on mixed nuts every year that we loved but that’s neither here nor there other than a memory I have. As for the fruit tray, you know the kind I mean; all neatly set up, with dried peaches, pears, apricots, prunes and dates on it. In our household, the peaches and apricots would get eaten first and the prunes would sit there until we kids got desperate. I actually like prunes sometimes now but I still prefer the apricots.

When I got older, I got into the whole cover perfectly good and nutritious fruit with chocolate thing. Easy enough; take a nice piece of fruit, fresh or dried and dip it into chocolate and cover up any nutritional value it ever had. What’s wrong with that, right? 😀 My favorite was of course to take a dried apricot and cover it in either semi sweet or white chocolate. The chewy tangy fruit mixed with the sweet chocolate… pure Heaven. So when my friend Jenni over at Pastry Chef Online came up with an utterly delicious Apricot Swirl Brownie, it got me craving that fruit/chocolate combo again.

So what did I do? It isn’t entirely original because I have seen cookies with dried apricots and white chocolate in them before but I combined two of my favorite fruit flavors (in the Summer, I am constantly eating sliced fresh apricots and fresh blueberries with a little sugar and cream) in a cookie with both white and dark chocolate. I love the way this turned out; fairly reminiscent of those chocolate covered fruits I love. The soft sweet cookie, tangy fruits and bites of chocolate just go together so well! These are extremely easy to make so….

You know the drill….

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies With Apricots & Blueberries

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 6 ounce package dried apricots
  • 1 6 ounce package dried blueberries
  • 1 cup good quality white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup good quality bittersweet or dark chocolate chips (Ghirardelli makes a good 60% dark chocolate chip; not too sweet or too bitter)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the dried fruit into a small bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain well. Lay the berries in a paper towel and gently blot dry. Blot dry the apricots and chop into small bite sized pieces.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugars, and extracts. Beat well, until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir to mix, then add to the butter mixture all at once. Beat at low speed until fully combined. Alternately, you can use a heavy wooden spoon to mix.
  4. Add in the white and dark chips; stir well. Add the apricots; stir well. Last, gently add the blueberries, being careful to not break them up more than can be avoided.
  5. Roll golf ball sized pieces of dough in your palms to get them rounded, then lay about 3 inches apart on large ungreased baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 14 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and the cookies look just set in the middle. They will firm up as they cool. If you prefer a crisper cookie, let cook for maybe an extra 2 minutes, until the top is golden brown and looks dry.
  7. Let sit on the pans for two minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
  8. I got 27 good sized cookies from this. You could make them smaller but make sure to adjust your cooking time.

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Amaretto Chocolate Mousse Cake With Mascarpone Cream & A Mixed Berry Sauce

Amaretto Chocolate Mousse Cake

Amaretto Chocolate Mousse Cake




Whoaaaaa mannnnnn, that’s a long title. But I wanted to fit all the goodness in there so I broke my own rule about trying to avoid long titles.

This is also known as a flourless chocolate cake but that has such “omg, I can’t do that” connotations that I fiddled with the name some. Hey, I change recipes themselves, why not names too? :-p This is one of those desserts that, when people taste it, they are convinced that you 1) are a gourmet cook and 2) spent days making it. In reality however, this isn’t difficult at all. The most labor intensive part is making the berry sauce and you could used jarred ice cream topping if you wanted to or just serve the berries whole. I would of course, cry if you did, so just don’t tell me if you forgo  the berry step. I don’t like crying. It makes my nose stuffy and I look like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer after a 3 day booze binge.

Back in the day, I would never attempted something like this because for some reason, I have to agree with the general assessment, it just LOOKS and tastes like it must be complicated. So if I can get over being a chicken, so can any of you out there afraid to try it. This isn’t even as complex as unbaked chocolate mousse because there is no egg separating, no whipping a ton of cream to fold in, yada yada yada. You melt some good chocolate and butter, beat the crap out of some whole eggs, fold them together and bake. Voila! Cake. And the topping I made as well as the sauce are also easy. You’ve got this. Honest.

This cake is dense, rich, and almost fudge like when chilled. The texture changes at room temp and I personally prefer the silkiness it has when cold. But try it both ways and see how YOU prefer it. It’s outstanding either way.

Use good quality chocolate in this, not say, Wal Mart brand. The flavor here is pure chocolate and you get what you pay for in this.

You know the drill… 🙂

Amaretto Chocolate Mousse Cake

  • 6 refrigerator cold large eggs
  • 12 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Mascarpone Cream-
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Berry Sauce-
  • 16 ounce bag frozen mixed berries, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap a 9 inch springform pan in two layers of heavy duty foil. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pan well. Set the pan inside a large baking dish.
  2. In a small heavy bottomed pot, over low heat, melt together the butter and chocolate. Stir constantly until you have a smooth lump free mixture. Pour in the Amaretto and extracts and mix well. Set aside off the heat to cool for five to ten minutes. Start some water boiling for the water bath. Not, not for you. You can bathe later. For the cake.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl (make sure this is scrupulously clean with no greasy feel at all) beat all 6 eggs at high speed. Beat for a full five to ten minutes until you have  nicely aerated, foamy, doubled in volume  eggs.
  4. Stir about one third of the eggs into the chocolate mixture. Be gentle, don’t stir like you’re trying to cause it pain. Now gently fold in half the remaining eggs. Make sure there are no streaks of white showing. Then fold in the remaining eggs.
  5. Pour the chocolate/egg mixture into the prepared pan. Place pan in the 325 degree oven. Pour boiling water around the pan, careful not to splash any into it, until the water is about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  6. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes. Take pan out of the water bath and set on a rack to cool completely, then chill overnight
  7. For the Mascarpone cream- In a small mixing bowl, beat together the mascarpone and the sour cream until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and extracts. beat well. Chill. See how easy that was?
  8. For the berry sauce- make sure the berries are well drained, then pulse three or four times in a food processor with the sugar. Use the back of a large spoon to press the berries through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, effectively getting rid of the seeds and pulp, leaving you with a nice smooth sauce.
  9. To serve- about half an hour before serving, carefully remove the side of the springform pan. Invert, then peel off the parchment. Invert back onto your serving plate.
  10. Use an offset spatula to spread the cream over the top of the cake. Alternately, you can just serve it on the side.
  11. Cut thin slices of the cake with a very sharp knife and serve with the berry sauce.

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Amish Shoofly Pie Muffins

Amish Shoofly Pie Muffins

Amish Shoofly Pie Muffins


One of my most liked/pinned posts has always been the one for Amish Sugar Cake. In today’s world, it makes perfect sense that that one would be popular. Whether or not it’s 100% accurate (I mean, they are human too and I’m positive life isn’t some romantic ideal for them either, just would be in different ways), the Amish have the reputation for leading simple lives with less conflict, less heartache and less stress. We who survive in the “modern world” are dealing with wars, a political climate (in the U.S.) that is dividing our country’s people, an economy that is getting steadily worse, and so on and so forth. This makes it very easy to yearn for simplicity,  for no technology to invade our lives, for what we all think of as the days of old.

Plus the Amish also have a well earned reputation for fantastic food. It’s the type of food my blog is aiming for; simple but not boring, homey, comforting, stick to your ribs foods. One of the classic Amish dishes is Shoofly Pie. I admit to never having tried it because I was afraid it would be far too sweet. But when I saw this recipe for Shoofly Muffins on the  Mr. Food site, I knew I wanted to try them. I mean, you have automatic portion control (in theory anyway. I take no responsibility if you eat six of them), plus even if it’s sweet, it’s a small muffin.

These are a cinch to throw together and they are really really good. The top and edges gets all crispy chewy and the muffin itself is soft and tender. The flavor is mildly reminiscent of gingerbread so if that’s a flavor you like, you’ll like these.

You know the drill… 😛

Amish Shoofly Pie Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, chilled and sliced thin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and either line cups with liners or spray with something like Bakers Joy to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add in the sliced butter and using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mix.
  4. Add the boiling water to the rest of it all at once, Add in the molasses, vanilla and oil. Stir well.
  5. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups, about 2/3 full n each. Sprinkle evenly with the reserved crumb mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. let cool in the pan for ten minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.
  7. These are wonderful still warm, with a ton of little butter spread on them.

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Caramel Apple Toffee Dip

Caramel Apple Toffee Dip

Caramel Apple Toffee Dip

My family has a serious apple addiction. We are equal opportunity fruit lovers but apples always seem to be eaten the most by the guys in the house. Well, except for my husband for whom fruit means Blueberry flavored coffee, though I CAN get him to eat some if it’s cooked or covered in homemade caramel :-P. We’re working on the line between good for you and dessert with him. But the rest of us love it. As I age, I unfortunately have to cut my apples up before I eat them because aging teeth and jaws don’t do whole ones well lol. I look like a mouse trying to eat an elephant whole  Excuse me while I go get my walker and take some Geritol, you young whippersnappers!

Which brings this dip into play. There are variations of  this all over the web. I won’t claim to be the first nor will I claim that the changes I made make this into an entirely new dip and oh my gosh, I’m unique! Lol. That wasn’t the point. I saw it, I thought it sounded yummy and figured some of you would like it too. I DID make some changes, one of which was to add some Kahlua to this, making it a perfect treat for an adult Halloween party or a fruit tray some other time of the year (Christmas buffet maybe?). But you can easily omit the booze and make this kid friendly. Just pour the small amount of Kahlua into a cup and drink it yourself. 😀 See how I make your day better? I also added some caramel bits to it to make this even more of an Autumnal treat. The toffee chips and the caramel combine so well with the apple slices. The original recipe called for cream cheese but 1) I adore Mascarpone and 2) I had some I needed to use up, but feel free to sub cream cheese in this. This is good when it’s first made but it’s even better when the flavors have time to meld and the toffee chips get softer. YUMMY! Also, this isn’t just good with apples. Try some on a cinnamon bagel or one of the limited edition (out right now) Pumpkin Spice Bagels. Oh, my gosh, it’s good. It kind of melts right into it and…*swoons*

You know the drill… git to cooking! Or erhmmmm, mixing in this case.

Caramel Apple Toffee Dip

  • 8 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • a scant 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua (optional)
  • 3/4 cup toffee bits (in the baking aisle near the chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup Kraft Caramel Bits
  • sliced apples for dipping (dip them in a lemon juice/water mix to prevent browning)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone (or cream cheese), both kinds of sugar, the vanilla and the Kahlua if using. Beat well, until smooth and creamy.
  2. Fold in the toffee bit and the caramel bits.
  3. Sprinkle top with more toffee bits and caramel.
  4. Serve with the apples for dipping or just sit down in front of the TV with a spoon and the bowl. I won’t tell. But I’m also not buying you any new fat girl pants. Just sayin’.

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Browned Butter Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Browned Butter Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Browned Butter Vanilla Bean Pound Cake


Years back, when I was still in the learning stages of baking, not to mention more broke than a Timex watch that was stepped on by an Elephant (I don’t care what the commercials said back in the day. if an elephant steps on your watch, it’s broken.), I used to use imitation vanilla. It was inexpensive, it smelled vanilla-y enough to me and I didn’t realize (nor would I have cared back then when I was young and stupid) that it is made from wood pulp. Yum. Vanilla wood cake. Wood ice cream anyone? Then, as I learned more and my budget expanded a little, I would get the real vanilla. If you’re one of those who thinks they are both ok, do me a favor just one time. Buy a bottle of real vanilla, then cover your eyes and have someone wave them, one at a time, under your nose. You will know IMMEDIATELY (unless you can’t smell, or are drunk, or have a cold, or forgot to take the clothespin off your nose when you were ten and trying to get a laugh and your mom was right; your face froze that way, in which case I’m sorry) which one is real and which is fake.

Now however, while I still use real vanilla extract in most things, I also have a stash of vanilla beans I keep around. I use those sparingly because they are as expensive as all hell, but oh so worth it for aroma alone. You can buy some on Amazon. Do NOT buy the ones in the glass bottle from McCormick at the grocery store. I normally love their products but not the vanilla beans. You may as well cook with a twig as hard and flavorless as those are.

This cake came about because of my love for both vanilla and browned butter. The two flavors make practically anything taste better. Except liver. Liver is hopeless. I used a basic whipping cream pound cake recipe and subbed in browned butter for the regular and vanilla bean (as well as extract) for just extract. I also added TOUCH, just a touch, of lemon. I wanted a complementary flavor to bring out the vanilla, but not overpower it. It is NOT a lemon pound cake so if you see lemon in there and think it will be, you’ll be disappointed. The lemon is there, but it’s subtle which is what I wanted. If you want more lemon, double the amount of lemon in the batter and use lemon juice in the glaze instead of cream. This isn’t a spur of the moment cake to make for dinner three hours before serving time. You need to chill the butter after browning plus the cake itself will taste better and cut better if you leave it alone overnight, same as with any pound cake.

You know the drill…

Browned Butter Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 vanilla beans
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Glaze-
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Place the butter in a medium saucepot. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until it is a golden brown color. Take off of the heat immediately as it can go from golden to black in a second.
  2. Pour the butter into a glass bowl and set to the side.
  3. Split the vanilla beans in half and carefully scrape out all of the seeds. Scrape all of the seeds into the bowl of butter and stir well to mix. Refrigerate the butter for about 45 to 70 minutes, just long enough where when stirred, it is the consistency of softened butter.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a a ten inch bundt pan or use Bakers Joy and spray the pan well. Scrape the butter into a large bowl, making sure to get all the little bits from the bottom of the bowl. Add in the sugar and beat well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the extracts, lemon zest and lemon juice; beat well.
  5. Add the flour alternately  with the cream, about a third at a time of each, beating well after each addition.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, with just a few moist crumbs on it, about 90 minutes.
  7. Cool for 30 minutes in the pan on a rack, then use a butter knife to loosen the cake from the edges of the pan and invert onto the rack to finish cooling.
  8. For the glaze, pour the vanilla into the cream. Whisk this into the powdered sugar in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick, just add more cream, a tablespoon at a time, to get the desired consistency. Slowly pour over the cake.

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Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding



I’ve said before, and will probably say again because I’m getting old and like redundancy, that I used to have a love/hate relationship with bread pudding. Back before the world grew so much smaller (or larger depending on ones perspective) with the internet, recipes for bread pudding consisted of stale white bread, soaked in a custard base of plain milk. Raisins and cinnamon were usually added and then it was baked. British nursery food to the max. Great thing to feed a small child who likes bland or an invalid or say, someone with no taste buds who is also blind and can’t see the mushy mess in their bowl. The rest of us however would probably prefer something with a little oomph to it, some flavor, more than just soggy bread. And nowadays you can find whatever kind of bread pudding trips your trigger, including savory ones for that matter. But I prefer the sweet kinds for the most part.

So, being the time of year it is, I wanted to make one that fits the season and the flavors people love this time of year. If I do say so myself, I outdid myself with this one. This is sweet but not too sweet, crispy at the edges, covered in delicious satiny caramel as well as caramel bits inside plus tart sauteed apples all through it. This is damn good! It makes a ton though (you have to remember I have teen boys lol) so cut it in half if you’re not feeding a small country. I got a 2.5 quart baking dish and 3 ramekins from this. When I invent, I invent big lol.

You know the drill… 🙂

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

  • 8 large apples, peeled and chopped into bite sized chunks (I used Braeburn apples)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 loaf Kings Brand Hawaiian Bread, cut into about one inch pieces
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 jar ( 12.25 ounces) caramel topping (or you can make homemade caramel sauce I simply went the easy route this time)
  • 1 bag Kraft caramel bits
  1. In a large pan, melt the butter. Add in the apple chunks and over medium heat, stir to blend with the butter. Cover the pan and turn the heat to medium low (about 3 on an electric stove). Let the apples cook until soft and about half of them have broken down and turned saucy. Stir in the cinnamon.
  2. Add the 1/2 cup sugar into the pan. Stir well. Pour in the 1/2 cup cream and cook over medium heat until the cream has cooked into the apples. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Pour in the 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup milk and the vanilla extract. Whisk in the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Dump the bread pieces into the cream mixture and stir well. Press down with a spoon to make sure all the bread is submerged in the liquid. Let sit for anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.  Pour the bag of caramel bits into the bread mixture and stir well.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease either a 3 quart baking dish or a 2.5 quart dish and 3 8 ounce ramekins with butter.
  5. Pour half the pudding into the prepared pan(s). Cover with half the jar of caramel topping. Cover with another layer of pudding and more caramel sauce. If doing a 3.5 quart dish and ramekins, I’d suggest filling the ramekins first so you don’t end up with too much in the baking dish. Put a 13×9 inch pan half filled with hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.
  6. Bake pudding at 325 degrees for about 45 to 55 minutes for the ramekins (if you insert a butter knife in the middle and twist it, there should be no liquid there, just a moist pudding) and 90 minutes for the baking dish (same test for doneness)
  7. Let cool a little and serve warm, drizzled with more caramel sauce. Can also be served chilled. Reheats well in the microwave.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel bars2

I remember Thanksgiving when I was a kid. I’ve mentioned before that my mom was not much of a cook. In her defense, as I’ve said, she was a single mom who worked ungodly hours and even had she been home, it just wasn’t her passion. Thanksgivings that I remember were fairly rushed because her long term b/f worked as a train engineer and we always had Thanksgiving dinner at like 2pm so he could get to work. Always pissed off my brother, sister and myself. I think that, being the children of divorce, we wanted that whole Norman Rockwell ideal on holidays and that just doesn’t happen in real life. I remember a fairly dry turkey, stuffing that was actually pretty good, mashed taters, the ubiquitous sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows which I still love, (on a side note, I remember the year my brother wanted something different and made sweet potatoes with oj in them and no marshmallows. No one ate them lol. Sorry, Steve.), plus two store bought pies- pumpkin and pecan.

Nowadays, even before I blogged, I go a bit more all out. Holidays give me an excuse to make all those seasonal things that I’ve had tabbed in cookbooks and magazines for like 37 years. The end result is enough food to feed 478 people which was great when I had a ton of people at home, not so much now, especially this year when there will be only 5 of us here. But will that stop me? No. I’ll still make far too much and be grateful we are able to do so. That will include a pumpkin pie or two, a pecan pie and quite possibly this cheesecake.

One of the holiday-ish recipes I have had tabbed forever was this recipe. I found it in a 2006 issue of Bon Appetit, their 50th anniversary issue which was pretty awesome as magazines go.

Now, if you try this, like I told my husband, remember, this is a cheesecake, not a typical pumpkin pie. So it’s tangier and the texture is different. But trust me, this is NOT a bad thing. The crust and the topping are one and the same, just used differently. Both are crunchy, sweet enough to be a good foil to the filling and topping and just plain yummy. The filling is creamy, spicy, slightly tangy and nice and pumpkiny.  I doubled the recipe (because it used only a partial can of pumpkin and I HATE that) and added a good bit more in the way of spices as well as some vanilla plus the crust/crumbs didn’t have any spice at ALL which bored me so I added some there too. If you like pumpkin pie, if you like cheesecake, if you like “normal” pumpkin cheesecake, you need to try this one. It’s pretty yummy and I’m glad I doubled the recipe though I’m sure my thighs and hips aren’t so happy with me. For the record, I’m posting this in the quantities they used, If you want to double it as I did, it’s easy enough to do 🙂

You know the drill…

This looks like it has a lot of steps and ingredients, but really, it all comes together quickly since the bulk of the ingredients are just the spices.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Bars

  • Crust/crumb topping-
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • Filling-
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • Topping-
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 inch square pan (or use something like Bakers Joy which is what I did) and set aside. Have ready a 9×13 inch rimmed baking sheet.
  2. To make the crust/crumbs, combine the flour, salt, brown sugar and spices. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter until it resembles small crumbs. Stir in the pecans and oats.
  3. Press 3 1/2 cups of the mixture firmly into the bottom of the 9 inch pan to form the crust. Spread the rest of the mixture onto the 13×9 inch pan. Put both in the preheated oven.
  4. Bake the sheet pan for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once or twice during baking. When it’s done, break it up into smaller bits and set aside. For the crust, bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and firm.
  5. For filling- Using a hand mixer, combine all the filling ingredients. Beat until smooth. Pour onto the hot crust and return to the oven.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until it is set, looks dry at the center and is beginning to puff up around the edges.
  7. While it bakes, make the topping. Simply combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  8. When cheesecake is done, remove from the oven and spread the topping over it. Return to the oven for five minutes. Take out and set onto a rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. When it is totally cool, take the reserved broken up crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the cheesecake. Press down lightly to make them adhere. Chill the cheesecake until cold. To serve, use a sharp knife dipped in hot water to make clean cuts.

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