Category Archives: dessert

Baked French Toast — all time best for Yom Kippur Break Fast

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DSCN4294I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast and every Break Fast it is on the table, it’s practically a law in our family now! It is truly one of the best French toast recipes I’ve ever made.  I include it every year since my friend Ilene Stern gave it to me. I never have a single piece left. Delicious and decadent, perfect brunch and breakfast food. I almost always include it in my Mother’s Day Brunch as well. Once you’ve made this recipe there is no turning back  your whole family will love it and you’ll have to make it every time.

The only downside is that you must prepare and refrigerate the night before without cooking it, you cannot cook this dish till you’re ready to eat it, the bottom will get hard like a caramel candy would. So cook right before you’re going to serve. Enjoy!

*recipe as is should serve 6- 8 if you have more people make 2 trays!

Yom Kippur begins in the evening of Sunday, September 27 and ends in the evening of Monday, September 28.

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

2 tbsp. corn syrup ( I use Karo Original light corn syrup)

5 eggs (room temperature please)

1 1/2 cups milk ( you can use low-fat, I use Skim Plus)

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 package of sliced cinnamon bread. ( Pepperidge Farm is fine) if you can get thick slices it’s great , but the thin kind will work just double stack them it will be fine) You probably will use 12 slices of bread per tray. You will have 6 stacks of 2 slices each, 12 slices total, or 6 thick slices of cinnamon bread. If you can’t find just cinnamon bread use raisin cinnamon bread it’s easier to find .

Directions:

Melt butter, add brown sugar and corn syrup and combine well. Spray a 9×13 baking dish, Pyrex works well here. Pour butter mixture into baking dish and arrange bread slices flat in the mixture ( you will double stack the thin sliced bread) Unless the bread is 1″thick you will be doubling the standard sliced bread. Squeeze the bread to fit–it should hold 12 slices ( 6 double stacks), 3 on each side of a 9×13 baking dish.

In a blender mix the eggs, milk and vanilla and pour over the bread slices, covering them completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all the liquid by the morning, so if you need to travel with it will be fine.

Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Once it’s out of the oven you can dust with powdered sugar, but not necessary. Serve right from the baking dish.

*if you let this sit out too long before serving, the bottom may get hard like a praline candy. It never ever lasts long enough for this to happen at my table.

Easy Fast to all .

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Old Fashioned Lemon Icebox Cake–No Baking at all

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Nothing not to love here, Lemons, cream cheese, heavy cream, lemon curd and did I mention no baking??? So great and fairly easy with simple ingredients. You’ll need either an electric mixer or a hand mixer to whip cream. Nothing beats an electric mixer though with the whisking attachment.

I made it in a 9×13 pan but I think next time I will try to do it in a bowl. It would also be beautiful garnished with fresh lemon slices or berries. We were in a hurry to dig into it so never did get to garnish it.  If you’d like it to look neater when you scoop it out you will have to be more precise with the layering. My cake was very uneven and all the layers and flavors blended together, who cares? it was delicious. If you’d like you can also layer in a trifle type bowl and make a very pretty presentation! Up to you but it was all delish.

This is simple and delicious food if not very rich, but hey it’s dessert! Perfect for a Labor Day BBQ or anytime!

Enjoy Labor Day Weekend even if it’s a little strange this year.

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Ingredients:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (just leave it out at room temperature for a while till it’s room temperature and feels squishy and soft)

3 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup confectioners sugar

3 teaspoons lemon zest, plus a little more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

11 ounces vanilla wafer cookies ( app. 1 1/2 boxes)

10 ounces lemon curd–usually available with the jams and jellies  or baking aisle of most supermarkets. (see photo)

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft. Add the heavy cream, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until it just holds stiff peaks. It takes app. 3-6 minutes for peaks to form, be patient.

Spread the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with 1/2 cup of the whipped cream. Arrange 1/2 of the cookies on top of the cream, fitting in as many as you can without overlapping.(see photos) Spoon 1/2 of the remaining cream mixture on top and smooth evenly with an offset spatula or if no offset spatula use a butter knife. In spoonfuls , app. every 2 inches, spoon half of the lemon curd onto the cream and then use a butter knife to swirl the curd into the cream. Top with another layer of cookies, followed by the remaining cream. Spoon  the remaining lemon curd and swirl into the cream again with the butter knife. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the cookies have softened, it should be fine after at least 3 hours and you can make a day ahead and just leave in the fridge!

It would be pretty garnished with some lemon zest , some lemon slices or fresh berries, we were in a rush to eat it so no garnish in my photos. Next time!

*if you use a bowl you’ll just have to figure out the cream to cookie ratio but make sure you follow my steps so it ends up the same.

*another good thing–I actually froze leftovers and when I wanted to eat it , I removed from freezer for about an hour and it was perfect.

Summer Crumble — Peach and Blueberries

photo 3 (6)photo 3 (7)photo 2 (6)photo 2 (8)A crumble or a crisp whatever you call it there is no reason not to make this simple delicious dessert. In the summer you have so very many seasonal fruits to choose from and all sorts of delicious combinations. I used peaches and blueberries today because the peaches are amazingly beautiful and I had an abundance of blueberries. Any stone fruit, berries, or pitted cherries will work. In the Fall I make this with apples and pears which is Joel’s favorite of all time. The fruit comes out soft and tender and the crumbly crunchy cap is ever so crisp. Delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I used an 8×11 pyrex but any baking dish around that size will work out just fine.

You’ll need a food processor to do the crisp topping this way. You must use cold butter straight out of fridge. I also added a little bit of chopped nuts but this is totally optional.

Plums and Nectarines work just as well. I also sprinkled a dash of cinnamon on the top (just a touch) right before baking , this is also totally optional.

Ingredients:

Fruit Mixture:

app. 8 cups sliced stone fruit, berries or pitted cherries I used peaches which I pitted, peeled and sliced and 1 container of blueberries (6 oz.)

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. Corn Starch

1 tsp. finely grated orange zest ( almost a whole orange)

2 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed orange juice from zested orange

pinch of kosher salt

In a large bowl toss fruit, sugar, cornstarch, salt, zest and juice together with a spoon. Set aside. I also sprayed baking dish with Bakers Aid cooking spray which is great stuff.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Crumble Topping:

Ingredients:

3/4 + 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats separated. 3/4 cup will be used at beginning and 1/4 cup at end.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar ( firmly packed)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick chilled unsalted butter , straight out of fridge and this is important here. Butter should be diced into small pieces. Cut stick in half then cut into small uniform pieces.

Directions for crumble topping:

In the bowl of food processor with blade , pulse oats, flour, light brown sugar, salt together. Then through the top tube drop in diced cold butter and pulse until no dry spots remain, it takes a few minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add in 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats with your fingers.

Transfer fruit mixture to prepared baking dish, scatter crumble topping over the mixture. I added some chopped nuts and a little cinnamon at this point. Place baking dish on a baking sheet ( sprayed with cooking spray as well) and bake at 375 degrees for at least 50 minutes, check on it. You don’t want to pull it out too soon because you want the crumble to brown perfectly and the fruit will not thicken. You’ll know it’s ready by the color of the crumble topping.

Allow to cool for an hour.

You can heat up before eating at 250 degrees covered for about a 1/2 hour should be enough.

You can freeze this as well. Take out the night before you’ll want it and let it defrost in the refrigerator, the next day take it out and let it come to room temperature before re-heating. I freeze it often and it works out quite well.

 

 

 

 

S’Mores Baked in the Oven

IMG_8638IMG_8636IMG_8639 IMG_8641 IMG_8642IMG_8634 IMG_8633 IMG_8632Oh Wow!!! what could be better??? truly easy and very little fuss perfect with the kids and perfect for the adults. Very rich and gooey. Whole thing takes about 40 minutes from start to finish and you can re-heat the sliced bars in the microwave for about 30 seconds if you have some left-over. It’s great for a large group and I would say about 12-15 servings here. Let’s hold on to the last few weeks of summer with this delicious dessert.

For a very traditional s’mores taste eat immediately, I think they tasted a little better after they cooled down for a bit. Whichever way you prefer them –this is a great recipe for a crowd. You can prepare first and then pop in the oven while you are having dinner. Enjoy!

*also I was able to obtain these amazing square marshmallows in the supermarket, if you see them –grab them otherwise just regular old marshmallows will do the trick.

Ingredients:

Crust:

18 graham crackers

1/4 cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter-melted

*parchment paper — I think you’ll want to work with it for this recipe–it can get difficult once they harden to get them out of pan. Clean up was a snap with it.

Topping:

3 extra-large Hershey Bars (or 7 regular-size ones)

24 jumbo marshmallows–look for the large square ones

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 Pyrex type baking pan with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper , allow an extra couple of inches of paper to hang over the edge.

In the food processor bowl, pulse the graham crackers until they are finely ground. Transfer the crumbs to a medium-sized bowl.

Add the sugar and salt to the graham crackers and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until the crumbs are moistened. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until the edges turn lightly golden. Let the crust cool off completely before adding chocolate. I probably let it sit off heat for about 1/2 hour.

Arrange the chocolate bars (see picture) evenly on the top of cooled crust, I had to remove 1 row of chocolate to fit it in pan and left a little uncovered crumbs around edges. Arrange the marshmallows on top of the chocolate, leaving a little space between each one (see photos) Marshmallows will expand slightly.

Bake until the chocolate is soft and beginning to melt, and the marshmallows are evenly toasted on top. Probably about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven.

I couldn’t wait to eat them but I would suggest letting them cool off for  a little bit, cutting was easier when it cooled down ( after 15-20 minutes) I was able to cleanly cut slices. It’s more like campfire s’mores when you eat them hot out of the oven and certainly messier.

You can re-heat the sliced bars in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. If you are keeping them , cut them and store individual slices.

Blackberry Clafouti (Blackberry Cake)–Simple and Easy to make

I made this cake because I love blackberries and I had all the ingredients in my house. If you like blackberries, this is a light cake which will be perfect for dessert and not too heavy at all.  Clafouti is actually french for a cake made with cherries. If it’s made with blackberries or other berries it is called a Flaugnarde, which sounds super fancy and difficult to make and this is anything but that so we’ll just call it Clafouti! We aren’t going to get too technical here and I hope I don’t offend the French chefs out there. This is pretty much the same as the cherry Clafouti which I plan on baking soon and will post that once I’ve cooked that, but we have to wait for the cherries to be super ripe.  This cake is so very easy to make, requires no fancy equipment, and you can whisk ingredients in one bowl. Just use a pie baking dish to bake in. I had a glass dish and am happy that I did, because I could see the blackberries in the cake. This cake would be a most amazing breakfast type of cake–not too thick, but sort of like a blackberry muffin flattened out. Blackberries are so plump and delicious right now, you gotta cook this as soon as possible.

*In order for the blackberries not to sink in cake, I made sure they were dry after rinsing and then I put in a bowl with some flour and coated the berries in flour before adding them , not too heavily floured just a dusting.  It came out perfectly. I have made it where I forgot to dust with flour and they did sink. It didn’t look as pretty but it tasted just fine.

Ingredients: 

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup of sugar for top of cake

1 cup Self-Rising Flour  Presto), sifted

1 cup whole milk

2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen (I used fresh)

* A little extra flour for dusting the blackberries before baking with them (see note)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I sprayed the baking dish with baking spray but you can also butter it.

Rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Melt the butter in microwave. Pour 1 cup sugar and flour into a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk and mix well. Then pour in the melted butter and whisk it all together well.

Dust blackberries with a little bit of flour and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter, distributing evenly.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until golden.  Yum!

Blackberry Cobbler

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

finished product - Yum

finished product – Yum

photo (3) It’s Memorial Day Weekend again and it brings me to this delicious dessert filled with the most delicious in season blackberries.  I have posted numerous blueberry cobblers but this one has to be my personal favorite made with Blackberries.  It’s a real deal Old Fashioned Cobbler.  You can really make this with any fruit but I love Blackberries while they’re sweet, plump and delicious! Blueberries and Red Raspberries will also work  well. Or you can mix up the fruits!

Enjoy and have a safe weekend .

 

Ingredients:

1 pound or about 3 1/2 – 4 cups blackberries , cleaned , rinsed and dried

1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar, I use regular granulated sugar for cobbler inside and on top I use turbinado sugar. 1/2 cup granulated sugar for inside cobbler and 1/4 cup turbinado

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk or you can use low-fat buttermilk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup boiling water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl I place the clean blackberries that I’ve washed and dried. I sprinkle them with the arrowroot and lemon juice and mix gently  Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, I sift the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and butter. Stir until just combined, don’t over stir, it shouldn’t be smooth. Then by the moundful drop dough onto blackberries. I spread around a little bit but don’t completely cover the top of berries. ( see photo) the dough will spread a little once it’s baked.

Pour boiling water over the dough and fruit before you bake it. Sprinkle top with 1/4 turbinado sugar or regular sugar. Raw sugar or turbinado sugar makes it a little crunchier topping. I prefer it to regular sugar for a topping.

*if you are preparing in advance which is what I did today. Prepare up till the boiling water and sugar part. Refrigerate for up to 2 days , bring to room temperature then pour boiling water and top with sugar and bake. I baked for app. 45 minutes till dough gets browned and crackly looking and blackberries are bubbling. ( see photos)

Remove from oven and let sit but serve while it’s still warm with ice-cream for extra added deliciousness!

Happy Summer from my kitchen to yours.

My Favorite Macaroons–Traditional Style for Passover

macaroons for passover

I am not sure why I only make these macaroons during Passover. They are definitely my favorites; they are very easy to make, look totally professional, and are the Passover cookie in my book. These can be made ahead of time and stored. I usually make a few days before the Seder because I dip them in melted chocolate (just the tops). You don’t have to dip, you can leave plain. I dip up to 1/2 the macaroon in the chocolate. They are sweet and crunchy on the outside, and moist and chewy on the inside. After Passover, if there are any left over, I freeze them. Cannot have them lying around. Of course you may make these any time of year…they are always welcome on the menu.

*When dipping, just turn macaroon upside down (with top part into the chocolate). I usually go just a bit more than the top (probably 1/2 the macaroon into the chocolate). Use as much or as little as you like.

*just a little note, silpat is awesome to use for this recipe instead of parchment paper. You must cool completely before trying to lift off the paper. Also before you dip into chocolate I like to cool down completely.

This could be a fun recipe to do with your kids. A little messy but whatever — desperate times call for desperate measures right? They may not come out uniform but the kids could have making them and dipping them.

Stay Safe and Be Smart

Ingredients:

3  large egg whites (When I bake, I always leave eggs out so that they are at room temp.)

1/2  cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 package (14 oz.) sweetened, flaked coconut ( I like this Angel Flake Baker’s Brand, but they’re all fine)

*1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (You can really use any semi-sweet chocolate to melt. It’s just easy with the chips.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can use non stick cooking spray, like Pam, but I just line with parchment, which works really well).

In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and salt until frothy. With a fork, stir in coconut until moistened.

Using a level tablespoon (measuring ones are perfect), pack the mixture into the spoon, so all macaroons are equal size. Drop mixture onto prepared sheet (cookies will not spread). Bake until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Towards the end, check on them to be sure they don’t burn. I make a little peak with my fingers on the cookies before I bake them (this makes for easier dipping). You can also just leave the top round — this is perfectly fine.

*To melt chocolate on stove top: I bring a small saucepan of water to a rolling boil, and on top of it put a small stainless (oven proof) bowl filled with the chocolate.( works like a double boiler if you don’t have one) When it completely melts, take off heat. Once macaroons are completely cool, you can dip the tops. Just make sure chocolate and macaroons are cooled off first. Just dip top of cookie in chocolate and place on a plate to cool. When I am all done, I refrigerate the macaroons to set the chocolate. You can leave in fridge until you are ready to serve and take out with enough time to bring to room temp. Before serving, I usually use a cool cookie sheet with parchment paper to cool off cookies once they’ve been dipped.

*should yield about 20 – 25 cookies. You can double if you’d like.

Another Banana Bread

Just what the world needs now is another Banana Bread right? Well guess what bananas still go uneaten in the time of Corona and I can’t bear to throw them in the garbage. Yes sometimes I freeze them for smoothies and I will even freeze them ( without skin) for future banana breads/muffins. In any event this is the recipe I used the other day. Feel free to double if you want two banana breads. I actually didn’t have any baking soda so I tripled up on baking powder! I googled it and asked how to substitute Baking Soda? and found out that you can triple up on baking powder which I did have.

Just a little note about freezing bananas: they do free beautifully –peel and place in a ziploc bag in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them place in a colander in the sink to drain–they’ll give up a good amount of liquid and I must say not look particularly good but they work quite beautifully.

Also if no buttermilk– place 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Fill cup with milk to 1/4 cup line. Let stand for five minutes and this should be fine.

I hope that you’re all well and handling this unique situation to the best of your ability.  I find some comfort in the knowledge that we’re all in this together. Hopefully we’ll see our way out of this soon. Stay safe and please stay home. If you’ve never cooked before maybe this is your opportunity to do so and if you’re an experienced cook who’s just looking for some new recipes I hope I have been of some value.

Post your photos on Instagram and tag me — I love to see what you’re cooking. Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Stay Well.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups flour — I don’t bother sifting but if you’d like to go right ahead

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. table salt

2 eggs– best at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup buttermilk

*1/2 -1 cup chopped walnuts and this is optional I used more because we like them — totally your call

4 over ripe very black bananas–mashed

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

I use cooking spray on a loaf pan if no cooking spray butter generously

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and table salt

With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla, buttermilk and bananas.

Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. I never dump in the dry ingredients all at once , I add a little at a time.

Pour batter into your loaf pan or muffin pan . Bake for app. 1 hour — check it after 50 minutes –mine was done. 

Remove from oven and let cool . You can turn out immediately on to a cooling rack or just let it cool down sufficiently and then turn out which is what I did.

Enjoy!

  • I use a metallic baking pan which measures 8.5 x 4.5 a standard loaf pan
  • * you can also make banana muffins and use a muffin tin

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (no butter)

I just love pumpkin and I can’t stop posting about it. Pumpkin Season is here.  I love baking this bread because the smell in the house is beyond. I usually serve pumpkin bread and a banana bread in my bread basket on Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that there is no butter in this moist, delicious bread. I make both of these way ahead of time, because they freeze so well. You can even double the recipe if you have two loaf pans, and eat one now and tuck one away for another day like Thanksgiving. It’s a nice thing to bring to someone’s house as a gift as well if you’re so inspired. Also, this bread is loaded with aromatic spices.   This recipe will make one perfect loaf.

It is also a lovely gift to bring to someone’s house .

*this bread freezes beautifully for up to 8 weeks. Double wrap it in plastic and put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and put the date on it. Defrost, still wrapped in the plastic to avoid condensation on the bread, at least 2 hours before serving. I take out of freezer the night before I’ll be using it.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (I sift)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (obviously this is optional)

You will need a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, parchment paper, large bowl, medium bowl, whisk, silicone or rubber spatula.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position oven rack in the center of oven.

Lightly coat the loaf pan with melted butter and dust with flour, or spray with Pam. I line my loaf with a piece of parchment paper that extends one inch beyond the edge of the pan (this makes it easy to life the bread out. It is optional , just make sure you grease pan in one way or another first. If you’re not comfortable working with parchment paper, skip it. I like it but it can be tricky in a loaf pan. Just grease well, or give it a good spray.)

In a large bowl, sift the flour. Then, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and blend well. Add the pumpkin moisture to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended and smooth. Add the walnuts and stir until they are well distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of loaf.  I let it cool for about 10 minutes, then I turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. I don’t freeze it until it is completely cool.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

This cheesecake is a bit of a twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. The combination works quite well–the pumpkin adds a velvety smooth texture and delicious flavor even if you’re not a pumpkin pie fan and the caramel topping goes well with the pumpkin cheese filling. It’s a bit of work with a lot of moving parts so if you’re feeling ambitious this could work for you.  The gingersnap crust is also a departure from the traditional graham cracker crust. If you don’t like gingersnaps you can always substitute graham cracker crumbs. You’ll also need a 9-inch springform pan. I love Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma for their pans.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

Enjoy and keep on cooking with Candi.

Ingredients: 

Crust:

About 40 gingersnap wafers (about 2 cups cookie crumbs)

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Filling:

4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature — I wrote up a little note on softening cream cheese at the bottom of this recipe

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

9 tablespoons whipping cream

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground all-spice

4 large eggs

caramel sauce (store-bought) or melt caramel candy if you can find those little squares

Directions:

Crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the cookies and brown sugar until well combined and crumbs are uniform and ground up. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add the cooled, melted butter. Combine thoroughly, first with a spoon and then with your clean fingers, until the mixture is evenly moist, crumbly, and holds together when you squeeze a handful. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and part way up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill for 5 minutes and then bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Filling:

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in bowl until light. Transfer 3/4 cup mixture to a small bowl; cover tightly and refrigerate to use later for topping. Add pumpkin, 4 tablespoons whipping cream, vanilla,  cinnamon, and allspice to mixture into balance of filling in bowl of mixer and beat until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined. Pour filling into crust (it should almost fill the pan.) Bake until cheesecake puffs up, the top browns and the center is a little loose when pan is shaken (about 1 hour 15 minutes.) Transfer cheesecake to rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around the cake pan sides to loosen cheesecake from the pan. Let it sit till completely cool.  Cover tightly in pan and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, bring the remaining cream cheese mixture (that you set aside for the topping) to room temperature. Add remaining 5 tablespoons whipping cream and stir to combine. Press down firmly on edges of cheesecake till even thickness. Pour cream cheese mixture over cheesecake, spreading evenly. Now, either use a spoon or pour the caramel sauce over cream cheese mixture and with a knife tip, swirl caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture. (Make 1 day ahead , cover and refrigerate. I wouldn’t make too many days ahead, because the crust may get soggy.) I will make the cake on Tuesday and the topping Wednesday to serve Thursday for Thanksgiving.

*Many people bake cheesecake in a water bath. I find this difficult sometimes, because water can seep into the pan (even though it shouldn’t) and you have to cover the whole pan with aluminum foil to avoid it (and it still happens!) I find if I place a long glass Pyrex dish with water on the rack below the cake it helps to prevent a crack in the center. If the cake still cracks, don’t despair. That’s why I like this recipe because you will be covering it with topping!!! Yeah, a cake fixer!!! Gotta love it. Good luck and keep me posted if you’re game for this.

How to soften cream cheese bars:

Place completely unwrapped package of cream cheese in a microwaveable bowl . Microwave on HIGH for 10 seconds, check it to see how soft it is. Add time in small increments if you need to , like 3 seconds at a time, if you’re doing 2 bars start at 15 seconds.