jillpickle: This past Tuesday was “Quilting Night” at my house. Quilting night is a time to get together at quilt club member’s homes and eat luscious desserts. (Oh and quilt too!!) Here is my version of a turtle cheesecake including homemade caramel topping, pecans and fudge drizzle. You can’t go wrong with this cheesecake when you want a fancy dessert! Slow-bake Cheese Cake from Sue Skrzeczkowski Just make sure you have time to bake and cool all of the layers. I’ve tried making this “fast” and it did not turn out! This is a great bake-ahead dessert since it tastes better the day after you make it!
Melt about 1 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli), 1 Tablespoon butter, 2 Tablespoons honey, 1 Tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a glass dish in the microwave for about 1 minute. If this is too thick, you can add a tiny bit more water. This will solidify in the frig, but stick it back in the microwave for a few seconds to melt and use. You can use this sauce to drizzle over ice cream as well.
Katie: I knew that my parents might have a hard time coming back to Wisconsin after enjoying warm, sunny weather on the beaches of Florida. Fortunately, the snow from Friday melted before they returned, but it’s still pretty chilly here. I decided that something delicious and sweet might help ease the transition. This recipe for Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars from My Baking Addiction looked like the perfect combination of sweet indulgence. I followed the recipe as written, beginning with a graham cracker crust, then a creamy cheesecake layer, and topped with chocolate chip cookie dough. Although the cookie dough layer was a bit tricky to spread, these bars turned out great. I’d like to try these again with peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough!
Katie: Ever since I saw this picture of Salted Caramel Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars from Made with Pink, I was smitten. I had heard of dulce de leche, a rich caramel sauce popular in Latin America, but never baked with it or even eaten it. I couldn’t find it at the store, so I decided to make it myself. It was really quite simple to make. I just followed the instructions here, by baking sweetened condensed milk in a pan in the oven until the sugar caramelized. I probably could have cooked it a little longer to further caramelize it and make it more golden in tone, but I was afraid that it might burn.
For the cheesecake bars, I followed the original recipe from Bon Apetit as written. First, I made a graham cracker base with a hint of cinnamon. Next, I layered on a rich filling of cream cheese sweetened with the dulce de leche. Finally, I topped the bars with a dulche de leche glaze and sprinkled them with sea salt. They may be a bit lighter than their predecessors, but they still tasted great! These were definitely worth the extra effort!
Matthew: This weekend, I was inspired by my neighborhood bakery, Bloom Bake Shop, which specializes in cupcakes and whoopie pies made with seasonal, local ingredients. I had an amazing spiced apple whoopie pie with cream cheese filling last week and noticed that they had also added pumpkin as a fall flavor. I thought I could try to replicate this at home using a CSA pumpkin I got this week. I cut the pumpkin in half, seeded it (the seeds are now toasted with smoked paprika!), and roasted it in the oven. Since I don’t have a food processor, I had to be a little creative with my pureeing method. I used this recipe for pumpkin cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen. Instead of adding the ingredients in the order listed, I pureed the pumpkin with the eggs and buttermilk in the blender and then added that mixture alternating with the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Then, following a recipe that my coworker, Beth, gave to me for whoopie pies, I used a ziplock bag to pipe the batter onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet and baked for ~10 minutes at 350. For the filling, I used the cream cheese and maple syrup frosting recipe that went along with the cupcakes. The cakes were a bit sticky which made filling them a bit tricky, but the end result was good and REALLY delicious!
Katie: I’ve tried a variety of pancake recipes before, but when I stumbled upon this recipe for Carrot Cake Pancakes I was intrigued. Carrots for breakfast? I wasn’t quite convinced, but I decided to give it a try. I followed the recipe as written, except for leaving out the pecans, since we didn’t have any. They turned out really good! They were a sweet morning treat, but still somewhat healthy.