Flourless Chocolate Cake

Happy February! Today I am sharing a dessert that is perfect to make any time of year but would be perfect to serve for Valentine’s Day as it’s oh so chocolaty! It’s a Flourless Chocolate Cake.

This is probably one of the simplest cakes I’ve made since it only required 1-bowl to make. In a microwave-safe bowl I combined chopped semi-sweet chocolate and butter and microwaved it in 30-second intervals until the butter melted. There’s no need to keep heating the two until the chocolate melts. By the time the butter has melted the chocolate is soft enough that it will finish melting when the two are stirred together, and you don’t want to overheat the chocolate. After the butter and chocolate were smooth, I stirred in sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Next, I added in three eggs. To make incorporating the eggs easier I broke the yolks of the eggs. And finally, I stirred in cocoa powder. I used Dutch-process cocoa powder, but you could also use regular unsweetened cocoa powder as well.

Once the cake was baked and cooled, I topped it with a quick and easy chocolate ganache. To speed up the ganache setting I placed the cake in the refrigerator. You could let it set at room temperature, but it will take a few hours to do so. Once the ganache had set, I dusted the top with confectioners’ sugar and added a few raspberries for a sweet touch. If you do refrigerate the cake, just be sure to let it sit at room temperature prior to serving. I let mine sit for about 45 minutes and it was perfect.

While I thought the cake was going to be overly sweet, surprisingly it wasn’t. It was decadent though. Reminding me of the perfect chocolate truffle, rich and smooth. One other perk about this cake… it’s gluten-free. I’m not gluten-free, but I know for those who are sometimes finding a dessert that is easy to make with simple ingredients and not lacking in flavor can be a challenge.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

For the Cake:

1 4oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking bar*, chopped

1 stick unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

For the Chocolate Ganache:

1 4oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking bar*, chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

Confectioners’ sugar and raspberries (or another berry) for topping

*I used a Ghirardelli baking bar, alternatively you could also use 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Directions:

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper and then spray the paper.

In a microwave-safe bowl add the butter and chocolate and heat in the microwave for 30-second intervals until the butter has melted. Stir the two together until smooth.

Stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture until smooth. Next, stir in the 3 eggs until they are well combined, and the mixture is smooth once again. Finally, stir in the cocoa powder until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. The cake will form a thin crust and the temperature of the cake should be 200 F when an instant read thermometer is inserted in the center.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Carefully loosen the edges of the cake and invert the cake onto a serving platter. Allow the cake to cool completely.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place the heavy cream in a glass measuring cup and heat in the microwave until it begins to simmer, 45 seconds – 1 minute.

Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then stir both together to melt the chocolate. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth. Let it sit for a few minutes so it can thicken up a bit and then pour over the cake. Spreading it onto the cake evenly.

Let the ganache set, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Once the ganache is set, dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar and top with raspberries.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe modified from King Arthur Baking

Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

In my opinion you can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes. You need your basic one and then you need those “special” ones that have some fun ingredients that really make them stand out. I came across the recipe for these Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine. Not only do they have cookie butter in the dough, but they also have sprinkles. I made them twice around the holidays using red, green and white sprinkles and just recently again for a friend and her family using rainbow sprinkles. Oh, and in case you are wondering, cookie butter is similar in consistency to peanut butter but is made with speculoos cookie crumbs, a fat, flour and sugar and it’s quite tasty.

To make the dough I whisked together my dry ingredients in one bowl and my wet ones in another. After combining them, I folded in the chocolate chips and sprinkles. The dough was quite soft so I refrigerated it for about 2 hours so it could firm up. Now, if you are thinking of freezing the dough to make it later, you could skip refrigerating it and scoop it out and place it on a wax-paper lined baking sheet and freeze until hard and then place the dough in resealable bags in the freezer until you are ready to bake it. You will just need to add a minute or two to the baking time.

Once the dough was firm I scooped and dropped it onto my prepared baking sheets and pressed some additional sprinkles into the dough before baking them. I believe you can never have too many sprinkles. Whenever I get vanilla soft serve in a cup I ask for sprinkles in the cup before the ice cream is added and then more sprinkles on top. Yum!

After removing the cookies from the oven, I let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. The rainbow sprinkles gave the cookies a nice fun look. With Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter just around the corner you could really customize these for each of those holidays or any other occasion.

Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 30 cookies
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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup smooth cookie butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons sprinkles (or jimmies, not nonpareils), plus more for topping

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, cookie butter and both sugars with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and sprinkles until combined and evenly distributed throughout the dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until the dough is slightly firm, but still easily scoopable.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a standard cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Press additional sprinkles onto the dough.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies are set around the edges, puffed, but still soft in the middle. Let cool on the sheets for 3 to 5 minutes until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe slightly modified from Food Network.

Peanut Butter & Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Some pairings just taste good together – like peanut butter and chocolate, peanut butter and banana and banana and chocolate – so I figured that three would taste just as good (or better) together. And that’s how I came up with this Peanut Butter & Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf.

Although, I was a little discouraged when I tasted the first loaf I made. It was a bit dense, and the banana flavor was overpowering. With my second loaf, I reduced the amount of flour in the batter and increased the amount of peanut butter. The loaf then ended up being super moist with an equal balance of peanut butter and banana flavor. Now some people who tried it tasted the banana more or the peanut butter more. I think that might be due to preference of one over the other. I was able to taste both.

Now, I would like to think this loaf is somewhat healthy since the bananas are a good source of potassium and the peanut butter protein, but I am sure some would beg to differ since there is sugar and chocolate chips in the loaf as well. But a little sweetness isn’t a bad thing sometimes. If you’re really trying to stick to any health-related New Year’s Resolutions though, you could omit the chocolate chips and use maple syrup in lieu of the sugar. In doing so though you will have to add a little extra flour to the batter to account for the extra liquid.

Peanut Butter & Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray 9 x 5 loaf pan with baking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until just combined. Add the vanilla extract. Stir in the mashed bananas and peanut butter until just combined.

With the mixer on low add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf ban and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

A New Year Tradition Revamped

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season. Can you believe 2023 has rolled in already? I am convinced that after July 4th the year basically just flies by. At that point the summer is sort of winding down. Yes, I know that sounds crazy considering that July is just starting and there’s still August to get through. But, after that it seems like the anticipation of summer fun fades away. And then September rolls in and it’s all about back-to-school and the Fall. And before you know it it’s Halloween and then Thanksgiving and lo and behold the Holidays are upon us again. Not trying to be negative or anything but it’s definitely true that as you get older time somehow goes by faster. It’s probably because we are more aware of days, dates and holidays and everything that must – and needs to – get done. All the traditions and things we just do because we have been doing them forever. The holidays are the perfect time to get caught up in that. As they say, it’s hard to break with tradition. Not that there is anything wrong with it, I’m guilty of it myself.

For as long as I can remember I’ve eaten ham on New Year’s Day. It was something that my parents always cooked on New Year’s Day. I am not a 100% sure why, I vaguely recall my mom saying it was for good luck. I did a Google search once and as it turns out there’s a belief that you should eat pork on New Year’s Day as pigs move their snouts forward when eating – or something to that effect. This forward motion brings you luck in the new year. Here’s the thing though, I am not a fan of ham! There may have been a few times when I did enjoy it and look forward to eating it but definitely not often. The tradition is so engrained in me though that even though my dad passed away 7 years ago, and my mom has been in a nursing home longer than that I still make ham for myself on New Year’s Day! Subconsciously it’s probably a way for me to feel comforted and connected to memories.

For a few years I would begrudgingly eat the ham for a few days. And let me tell you even the smallest ham is too big so there would always be a ridiculous amount of leftovers even after me eating it for those days. One year, I even chopped up some of the ham and froze it convinced that I would do something with it, I didn’t, and it ended up getting tossed. Two years ago, I decided to make soup with it. And it was the best decision ever. So now, I look forward to the ham only because of the soup I know I will be making with it. For tradition’s sake though I still eat a slice or two on New Year’s Day. Come January 2nd though it’s time for Ham & Potato Soup.

I like to think it’s somewhat healthy since it is homemade and loaded with vegetables.

Just ignore the stick of butter and whole milk that’s also needed to make it. Truth be told, those are the ingredients that help to make it creamy and delicious so they can’t be omitted.

Unfortunately, even after making my delicious soup I still have more than half of the ham left in my fridge. I was hoping to buy a small canned one this year but by the time I got to the supermarket they only had 2 large ones left and I wasn’t in the mood to start driving around looking for a small one. So, once again I will chop up some of it and freeze it and really make a conscious effort to use it for other things. Maybe I will make something controversial like a Ham & Pineapple Pizza. LOL!

Ham & Potato Soup

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

3 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped*

2 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup flour

4 cups (32 oz. carton) low-sodium chicken broth

3 cups whole milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

*Use 1 very large or 2 medium potatoes. Chop the potatoes into decent sized chunks as they will break down as the soup cooks.

Directions:

In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until the carrots begin to soften and the onions are translucent. About 4-5 minutes.

Add the ham and potatoes, stir everything together and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in the stock, mixing everything together. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and boil for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Stir occasionally.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the milk. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken and the soup is heated through.

Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula. 

Cookie Palooza: Blueberry Crumb Cookies

I’ve saved my favorite cookie for last… A Blueberry Crumb Cookie. I got the idea for this cookie while baking one of my favorite summer desserts, a Blueberry Crumb Cake. Granted you can make it anytime of the year, but it tastes best when the blueberries are at their sweetest. Initially I was thinking of using fresh blueberries in the cookie, but for a few reasons I didn’t think it was the right move. I was concerned that some of the blueberries would be sour (not a good thing for a cookie), inevitably different sizes (you kind of want uniformity in a cookie) and that they might turn the cookies blue during baking. Since cookie dough is a lot thicker than cake batter, I thought that there was good chance of the blueberries being slightly decimated while folding them in. Thankfully I was able to find dried wild blueberries that eliminated all those concerns I had from using fresh ones.

For these cookies I made two mixtures… The cookie dough and the crumb topping.

Once both were ready, I rolled scoops of the dough in the crumb topping and then placed it on my baking sheets. And in case you are wondering, no, the crumb topping won’t burn and yes it will stick to the cookie even after baking.

And yes, the cookies will spread a bit while baking, but I don’t suggest refrigerating the cookie dough prior to scooping and rolling them in the crumb topping. You want the cookie dough to be slightly sticky so the crumb topping will adhere to it. And there’s no harm in a larger cookie. They don’t flatten and are slightly thick so it’s all good!

And I must say that while these cookies are delish the day they come out of the oven, the blueberry flavor gets stronger each day after so you may want to make these a day or two ahead of time and keep them stored in an airtight container prior to serving, sharing or giving. Because of this these cookies are the perfect cookie to mail to someone. They stay moist and the flavor only gets better.

I hope you have enjoyed this year’s Cookie Palooza and hopefully one, two or maybe all of these cookies will earn a spot on your cookie trays this holiday season!

Happy Holidays (and Happy Baking!)

Blueberry Crumb Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup sour cream

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried blueberries*

For the Crumb Topping:

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

*I used dried wild blueberries from Trader Joe’s

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

For the cookies: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the butter and both sugars with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat until just combined. Add in the lemon juice and sour cream and continue beating until well combined.

With the mixer on low add in the flour mixture. And then fold in the blueberries.

For the Crumb Topping: In a medium bowl whisk together both sugars, the cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. You may need to use your hands to really get the mixture combined well and to form the crumbs.

To make rolling the dough in the crumb topping easier (and less messy), first scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, then roll in the crumb topping and then return to the baking sheets. Place the dough 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are set and beginning to brown around the edges. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn Spatula.

Cookie Palooza: Brown Sugar Vanilla Cookies

Cookies are my least favorite dessert to photograph. Sometimes they just don’t look as appealing in a picture as they do in “real life.” As is the case with today’s Cookie Palooza cookie… Brown Sugar Vanilla Cookies. They taste great, but that’s just not coming across in the pictures since there are no add-ins to give the cookies dimension.

They are essentially a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips. They get their flavor from, you guessed it, brown sugar and vanilla. While most chocolate chip cookie recipes call for using a combination of white and brown sugar which produces a cookie that is crispier, only using brown sugar in these cookies leaves you with a cookie that is chewier and denser. Something a little more comforting during these cold winter months. They are also the perfect cookie to make for anyone on your list who likes a simple cookie without much fuss.  

Brown Sugar Vanilla Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time and then add in the vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture until combined. The dough will be very soft. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up so the cookies won’t spread as much while baking.

Use a cookie a cookie scoop to drop the dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the edges of the cookies begin to brown. Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Cookie Palooza: Cranberry Pecan Cookies

While peppermint gets all the glory during this time of the year there are other flavors and ingredients that are reminiscent of the season. Cranberries for one. While the sweetened dried ones and the canned jellied version can be found in your supermarket year-round, it’s this time of the year when those fresh tart berries pop up in your grocery section. And while most nuts are popular around this time due to gift baskets, those roasted chestnuts and so forth it’s pecans that really make the rounds thanks to Pecan Pie.  So, I decided to combine the two – cranberries and pecans – for today’s Cookie Palooza cookie with a Cranberry Pecan Cookie that also has some chocolate in it.

These cookies are pretty straightforward to make. Start off by creaming together the butter and sugars, add the eggs and then the vanilla extract. Whisk the dry ingredients separately and then add it to the butter mixture and finally stir in the add-ins; the dried cranberries, chopped pecans and chocolate chips. If you like your cookies to be a little nuttier feel free to add in more pecans. And one thing I have started doing is refrigerating my cookie dough before scooping and baking. I didn’t want to struggle to scoop my dough, so I refrigerated it for only 30 minutes. Enough to get it chilled, but still soft enough to easily scoop with a cookie scoop.

These cookies are perfectly chocolaty, just the right amount of crunch thanks to the pecans and have a little tangy sweetness to them thanks to the cranberries. The perfection addition to any cookie platter this holiday season!

Cranberry Pecan Cookies

  • Servings: 36 Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and both sugars with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and then the vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Add the chocolate chips, pecans and cranberries and beat until combined.

Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies are set.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn Spatula

Cookie Palooza: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

Welcome to Cookie Palooza 2022 on Bead Yarn Spatula. I am quite excited this year because all the recipes I will be bringing you this week are original ones. To kick it off I am sharing a recipe that is perfect for all your pumpkin spice loving family and friends and for those that enjoy pumpkin even after the Fall season is long gone… A Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookie.

I’ve been searching for a good pumpkin cookie recipe for a while now. Some I made tasted good, but the texture just wasn’t appealing to me. When pumpkin puree is added to any recipe it adds a lot of moisture to it. And if you add too much pumpkin puree to a dessert recipe that isn’t well balanced with other wet ingredients you end up with a very odd texture. As was the case with my first few tries of my Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake. So, how did I finally achieve a good pumpkin cookie recipe? To get these Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip cookies just right I started by using a cake mix as the base.

If you are wondering, cake mix cookies are an actual thing. It’s an easy way to make a red velvet, strawberry, lemon and /or carrot flavored cookie since those flavors are readily available in box cake mixes. While I am sure around this time of the year there are pumpkin cake mixes, I opted to use a yellow cake mix as my base and added some spices that are reminiscent to pumpkin pie spice (this is the recipe I used for the cake portion of my Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake) and to get real pumpkin flavor I added in a can of pumpkin puree. And that was it for my wet ingredients… no butter, eggs or anything else.

The result, a pumpkin cookie with just the right amount of spice and sweetness. And the perfect texture… Not too moist and nowhere near dry.

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 15.25oz. box of yellow cake mix

1 15oz. can pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the yellow cake mix with the spices. Add in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets and bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes. Cool the cookies 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

Some notes:

-The dough will be soft, but there is no need to refrigerate it prior to baking. The cookies won’t spread much while baking.

-If you want a flatter cookie, after scooping the dough onto the baking sheets press them down slightly with a glass bottom sprayed with cooking spray.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn Spatula.

Apple Crisp Cheesecake

So, are you savoring these last days of Fall while getting ready for Thanksgiving still embracing the pumpkins, leaves and colors of the season? Or have you just gone full blown into Christmas and all around you is red and green and your Thanksgiving meal will be celebrated with Christmas décor?  People have very strong feelings about this and prefer each holiday to have its own time. Me personally I put up my Christmas Tree on November 1st. I used to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I would always feel rushed then to get all my decorating done in one day. The tree up, décor around the house and the lights outside. It was just too much. So, a few years ago I decided that I would set up my tree right after Halloween. I will wait until Thanksgiving week though to turn it on and enjoy it all lit up. I must say though that this year I found that people really had some strong feelings about people jumping into Christmas right after Halloween. Is it really that big of a deal? Just do you own thing and don’t fault others for wanting to spread some holiday cheer a little early. Regardless, today’s dessert might just be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table. It combines quite a few desserts into one, an Apple Crisp Cheesecake. You get your apples, a crisp topping and a cheesecake all tied together into one yummy dessert.

I started off by making the crisp topping since it needed to be chilled, then the apples and finally the cheesecake part. To assemble, I started off by filling a 9-inch graham cracker crust with the cheesecake filling. I added in some apple pie spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger – to the cheesecake to help tie all the flavors together since I did add cinnamon to both the apples and crisp topping.

I then arranged the apples over the filling. First in an even layer and then placed the remaining apples over them. I tossed the apples with lemon juice, cinnamon and brown sugar. I used Granny Smith apples, so they weren’t very sweet or mushy after baking.

And finally, I sprinkled the chilled crisp topping over the apples. Initially I wasn’t planning on baking the cheesecake on a baking sheet, but, as I started to sprinkle the topping on it, I thought it best to bake it on the sheet just in case any of the topping fell off. The reason I chilled the crisp topping was to minimize the chances of it over-browning or burning too quickly while in the oven.

I baked the cheesecake for just shy of an hour and then let it cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before placing it on a wire rack to cool completely. It’s best to let cool it for a few minutes on the pan before transferring it so the cheesecake can firm up a bit. The apples will release some juices while baking and while the cheesecake will be done it will feel soft due to these extra juices.

Once the cheesecake had cooled completely, I refrigerated it overnight. And the next day it was time to slice it and enjoy a piece. And I must say, this came out just as I had hoped and envisioned in my head. As with the Apple Tiramisu from the other day it wasn’t overly sweet and all the components worked well together.  

Apple Crisp Cheesecake

Ingredients:

9-inch graham cracker crust

For the Cheesecake:

2 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ginger

2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Apple Topping:

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored & sliced thin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

For the Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter, softened

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F.

For the Crisp Topping: In a medium bowl mix together the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Add in the butter and mix until the mixture is crumbly. It might be best to use your hands. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

For the Apple Topping: In a medium bowl toss together the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar until the apples are well coated. Set aside.

For the Cheesecake: In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs and continue beating until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.

Assemble: Place the graham cracker crust on a baking sheet then pour the cheesecake batter into the crust. Arrange the apples evenly over the batter and then sprinkle the crisp topping over the apples.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until the center is set. To prevent the crisp topping from over-browning or burning, tent the cheesecake with aluminum foil for the last 15-20 minutes.

Cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake

I’ve been willing Fall to get here for the past few weeks. I am sure I have mentioned it before, it’s my favorite season. Cooler weather, the leaves changing, baking without overheating my house, the list goes on and on. There are a few flavors synonymous with this time of year, mainly pumpkin and apples. And while I normally like to welcome Fall with a new pumpkin recipe, I decided to go with the apples this year for a Caramel Apple Bourbon Upside Down Spice Cake. A bit of a mouthful!

A little backstory on this cake. I got the idea from watching a Fall themed movie on Hallmark Channel back in the Spring. I wrote the idea on a post-it and finally revisited it a few weeks ago. And of course, there were a few fails before I finally ended up with a cake that looked and tasted delicious. My first cake collapsed in the middle. My cake tester led me astray! The cake was slightly undercooked in the middle and there was no saving it. The fail though led me to change the flavor of the cake so it was kind of a good thing. Initially I doctored a French vanilla cake mix and decided the flavor just wasn’t right, so I switched to a spice cake instead. That definitely screams Fall more so than French Vanilla. So, I bought a spice cake Mix and made a few tweaks to it. I also decided to bake the cake in a tube pan to ensure it would bake completely without drying out. Well, it still wasn’t quite right. I used heavy cream when I made my bourbon caramel sauce and I just didn’t like the way it looked after flipping the cake. And while the cake tasted good, I just wasn’t getting enough spice from it.

Thankfully my third attempt was a success! First, I decided to omit the heavy cream from my caramel sauce. Second, I went with a yellow cake mix and added in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves (those yummy warm spices of the season) to really get a strong spice flavor. And third, after I poured the caramel and arranged the apples in the pan, I placed the pan in the refrigerator while I made the batter for the cake. This allowed the apples to set in the caramel so that they wouldn’t move when I poured the batter into the pan. This actually happened with my second attempt at this cake. I had arranged my apples in a nice design and they moved all around once I poured the batter in. I didn’t take any chances with my third attempt though. I spooned the batter into the pan just to be safe.

Just look at how the apples looked before I added the batter. I definitely wanted that look on top of my cake once it was done.

And thankfully since I made those tweaks my cake looked amazing once I flipped it out of the pan. YAY!!!

And even better, the taste and texture of the cake was spot on.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake

Ingredients:

For the Bourbon Caramel Apple:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup bourbon

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch)

For the Spice Cake:

1 15.25 box of yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup buttermilk*, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Make your own buttermilk by adding 4 teaspoons of vinegar to a measuring cup and then adding enough whole milk to make 3/4 cup. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, or until the milk becomes thick and appears curdled.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray and set aside. You could also use a Bundt pan.

For the Bourbon Caramel Sauce:

In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar and butter and melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is melted and combined remove from the heat and add the bourbon. Return to the heat for about a minute and stir to combine. Let cool slightly.

Pour the caramel sauce into the prepared pan and arrange the apple slices in the sauce making sure to overlap them.

While you make the cake batter refrigerate the pan with the apples and caramel sauce so the sauce can set. This will help the apples stay in place when you add the batter.

For the Spice Cake:

In a medium bowl whisk together the yellow cake mix with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract until combined. Using a fine mesh sieve (or a sifter) sift the cake mix with the spices over the buttermilk mixture and then beat with the hand mixer on medium speed until just combined.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and spoon the batter over the apples. Give the pan a few gentle taps on the counter to remove any air bubbles and then bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then invert onto a cake platter or other rimmed dish. Let the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing and enjoying. It’s important to let the cake cool before slicing so the apples can set on the cake. If you slice it too soon the apples will slide off.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

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