Thursday, February 13, 2014

Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake

I saw a recipe for this cheesecake on the internet somewhere...somewhere being the critical word here and immediately decided that I needed to make it. So, I diligently printed it out and stuck it in my purse so that I would have it when I went to the store to pick up the ingredients. Fast forward a couple of days, or a week, and I am at the store today ready to shop and I look in my bag and what should I find? No recipe. Not a tattered full sheet, not a scrunched up half sheet, not a crumpled sticky note even, a big fat nothing where that recipe should be. So, because I hate being that person that stands in the aisle of the grocery store surfing the web and clogging up good cart space I decided to wing it. I've done cheesecake before and I've made caramel sauce before so surely I can figure this out, right?

This is what happened when I combined recipes in my repertoire and the picture in my head from the missing one I printed out. Not bad at all I say. Not bad at all. And, I got to lick the caramel sauce spoon. Bonus!

Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake
10 inch cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
6 T. melted butter
3 bricks cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare springform pan with parchment and foil. Spray lightly with non stick spray.
2. Mix 1/4 c. sugar, cracker crumbs and melted butter together until a crumbly consistency. Press into bottom and slightly up the sides of your pan.
3. Beat cream cheese, 1/2 c. sugar, and vanilla extract together until smooth.
4. Add eggs one at a time beating until smooth.
5. Pour batter over the graham cracker crust and gently place in oven.
6. Bake for 60-70 minutes. The cake will puff up but is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan to room temperature and refrigerate for a couple of hours before removing from pan.

Toasted Macadamia Nuts
1 c. Macadamia nuts

1. Put nuts on a baking sheet covered with foil.
2. Bake in 325 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. (really I am guessing on time, I just let it go until the nuts smelled toasty)
3. Remove from oven and let cool

Caramel Sauce
1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 T. vanilla extract
generous sprinkle of Kosher salt

1. In saucepan over med heat mix butter, sugar, cream and vanilla together.
2. Stirring constantly bring to a boil. Cook approximately 7 minutes. I like mine a little thicker so I cooked it for 9 minutes.
3. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Remove cheesecake from pan and carefully put it on your serving plate. I swiped a dab of caramel on the plate to help keep it from sliding all over. Pour caramel over cheesecake evenly reserving a little bit to drizzle over the nuts. Sprinkle top with nuts and drizzle the rest of the caramel over the cheesecake. Refrigerate over night or until ready to serve.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Day 12. Hallefreakin'lujeah!

Honestly I haven't eaten these tonight but the early reviews from Randy and Bri are positive. Moist cake made with pie filling. Sort of like the muffins that you mix a cake mix and a can of pumpkin. Sort of the same idea only with eggs and apple chunks. And caramel apple pie filling is probably not NEARLY as "healthy" as pumpkin would be. Ok, it's not really the same at all but I tried. The frosting is my caramel cream cheese and that is always a winner. I'm always looking for things I can slather it on.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes
2 1/2 doz cupcakes

1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 can caramel apple pie filling
1 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1 stick butter
1 8oz brick cream cheese
1/4 c. (ish, I honestly just squirt) caramel ice cream topping
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line your pan with liners.
2. Open pie filling and run a knife through the apples several times to cut them into chunks instead of the slices.
3. Mix cake mix, eggs and pie filling until well blended.
4. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 c batter and bake for 17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let cool completely.
6. Cream butter and cream cheese.
7. Add caramel and vanilla and mix well.
8. Gradually add powdered sugar mixing well until frosting is the right consistency.
9. Frost cupcakes and drizzle more caramel over the top.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blueberry Pancake with Maple Cream Cheese

My mom made breakfast every single morning that I can remember growing up. This wasn't a granola bar or dry cereal kind of breakfast, it was eggs and bacon and pancakes. Now, I always preferred waffles to pancakes but if there was any kind of berry involved I was all for pancakes. As a kid we had mostly huckleberries but one of my favorite books when I was little was "Blueberries for Sal" so I could pretend those huckleberries were blueberries. And in my imagination I could hear those berries hitting the bottom of the bucket of the person that picked them. "Kaplink, kaplank, kaplunk". Anyway these definitely brought those memories back as I was taste testing the batter and frosting.

These cupcakes are really rich, like it's a good thing that they aren't oversized rich. The maple cream cheese frosting is delicious and the bacon is the perfect garnish. The saltiness helps cut the sweetness of the frosting and really ties the cupcake together with that breakfast for dessert taste.

Blueberry Pancake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 1/2 doz cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1/2 c. oil
1 c. buttermilk
3 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1 T. apple pie spice
3/4 c. sour cream
1 12 oz bag frozen blueberries

1 stick butter
1 8 oz cube cream cheese
1 T. maple flavoring
3-4 c. powdered sugar

Bacon for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix and apple pie spice  into a bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine  eggs, oil, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
4. Stir in cake mix and spices.
5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
6. Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese. Add maple flavoring and slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add 1 Tbsp. milk if it becomes too thick.
7. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes
8. Garnish with a piece of bacon.