Tag Archives: salted caramel

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pecans and Salted Caramel

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake 3

A delicious make-ahead dessert for Thanksgiving or other fall parties. This cheesecake starts with a lemon gingersnap crust and is filled with swirled layers of pumpkin and vanilla cheesecake.

To send it over the top, the cheesecake is garnished with candied pecans and then salted caramel is drizzled over individual slices. Even my cheesecake-averse daughter asked for this to show up on the Thanksgiving menu again this year.

The Lemon Gingersnap Crust is made from these cookies:

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake with Butterscotch Sauce 3

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake 2

For detailed information about baking a cheesecake in a water bath, see this post: Creamy Citrus Cheesecake

Just before serving, arrange the candied pecans around the outside edge of cheesecake. The pecans will get soft if they are put on the cheesecake and refrigerated too far ahead of time.

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake 1

Don’t skip the salted caramel. It really makes this an extraordinary dessert. And if there is any leftover, it is perfect for drizzling on ice cream, waffles, or just about anything.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pecans and Salted Caramel Drizzle

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake 3

Lemon Gingersnap Crust
1 (7 oz) pkg Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes
½ cup pecans
2 Tbs butter, melted

Process cookies and pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Add melted butter and mix. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9” springform pan. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes while preparing filling.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp each ground nutmeg and ground cloves
pinch of salt
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. (You can also substitute 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice for the other spices)

Vanilla Cheesecake Layer
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap springform pan in a double layer of foil. Place springform pan in a larger roasting pan.

Pour half of pumpkin filling into crust.  Slowly pour half of the vanilla filling over top of the pumpkin batter. Use a knife or spatula to gently swirl. Repeat with remaining pumpkin and vanilla batters. Swirl again.

Fill roasting pan (not springform pan!) with very hot (almost boiling) water to about 1-2 inches deep.

Bake cheesecake in the water bath for about 80 minutes. (Cover top of cheesecake with foil if it begins to brown before it is set.) When it is cooked, the cheesecake will have puffed significantly, and the middle will still be slightly jiggly, but not soupy. Remove pan from water bath and run a sharp knife around the sides, but do not remove ring.

Cheesecake Topping Layer:
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs sugar
½ Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

While cheesecake is baking, combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour over hot (cooked) cheesecake and let stand at room temperature for 60 minutes. Cover cheesecake pan (do not remove sides) with plastic wrap, taking care not to touch the surface of the cheesecake. Chill for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Candied Pecans:
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbs water
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 cups pecan halves

Place a large piece of parchment paper or non-stick foil on the countertop.

Combine sugar, water, salt, and cinnamon in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Stir in pecans. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Spread pecans on parchment paper/foil. While still hot, use 2 forks to separate pecans into a single layer so that pecans are not touching. Cool completely.

Just before serving, arrange candied pecans around the outside edge of cheesecake.

Salted Caramel Drizzle:
1 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp flaky or coarse sea salt
1 tsp vanilla (and/or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

Place sugar in a medium to large saucepan (mixture will bubble up and expand as cool ingredients are added to the hot pan, so use a large pan). Cook over medium heat until sugar just begins to melt. Stir gently, trying to keep sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and is a medium amber color (about 350°F if you use an instant-read thermometer). Reduce heat to low and quickly whisk in butter chunks, stirring constantly.

Stir in cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a glass jar or heat-safe bowl to cool. Do NOT scrape sides or bottom of the pan with a spatula. If you do, you are likely to get sugar crystals into your nice smooth caramel. If the caramel has formed crystals while cooking, you can pour it from the pan through a fine sieve into the jar to remove any crystals before cooling.

Caramel can be kept in a covered jar at room temperature for several weeks.

Drizzle  individual slices with Salted Caramel.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Salted Caramel Bars

Salted Caramel Bars

DAY 10: Salted Caramel Bars

A tender bar cookie with a sweet layer of salted caramel. You can use caramel sauce from a jar, or try the homemade recipe below. You will never go back after trying it! The salted caramel recipe below makes more than you will need for the bar cookies, but I’m sure you can find other uses for the leftovers (apples, ice cream, pies, your finger).

RECIPE:

Salted Caramel Bars

Makes 16 bars

Salted Caramel Bars

(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup  Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9” square baking pan with parchment paper or nonstick foil; set aside.

Place the melted butter in a large bowl and whisk in the brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until well mixed.

Press half of the dough into the prepared pan. Pour the salted caramel sauce onto the center of the dough and spread into an even layer, leaving about a ½-inch of space around the edges. Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread  until the caramel is covered.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a thin coating of caramel.

Cool the bars on a wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Cut into 16 squares and serve.

 

Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
½ cup heavy cream
1 – 1 ½ tsp flaky or coarse sea salt
1 tsp vanilla (and/or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

Place sugar in a medium to large saucepan (mixture will bubble up and expand as cool ingredients are added to the hot pan). Cook over medium heat until sugar just begins to melt. Stir gently, trying to keep sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and is a medium amber color (about 350°F if you use an instant-read thermometer). Reduce heat to low and quickly whisk in butter chunks, stirring constantly.

Stir in cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a glass jar or heat-safe bowl to cool. Do NOT scrape sides or bottom of the pan with a spatula. If you do, you are likely to get sugar crystals into your nice smooth caramel. If the caramel has formed crystals while cooking, you can pour it from the pan through a fine sieve into the jar to remove any crystals before cooling.

Caramel can be kept in a covered jar at room temperature for several weeks.

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Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes 3

Don’t these cupcakes just scream “Autumn!” If the temperature were to drop below 80° I might be able to believe that fall had actually arrived. So maybe they are just screaming “Eat Me Regardless of the Season!”

Little J made these Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes for our neighborhood chili cook-off and kids’ bake-off. She made them completely on her own (except for some help making the salted caramel to drizzle on top). She did all of the baking and decorating herself, though. Her efforts paid off: she came home with the prize for best-tasting dessert! She was very excited.

2016-10-29 17.07.16

This pumpkin cupcake batter is extremely versatile. We have used it to make Pumpkin Cupcakes, Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Sheet Cake, Pumpkin Bread. It adapts well to any size pan you choose to bake it in.

The frosting is a delicious caramel cream cheese icing. You start by making a simple caramel on the stovetop and then beating in cream cheese and a little extra powdered sugar. If you are going to pipe it onto cupcakes, it benefits from a good chill in the fridge to firm it up a little, followed by another beating with a mixer once it has chilled. So start your baking by making the frosting first and then move on to the cupcakes while the frosting chills.

The salted caramel drizzle is optional, but really makes a big difference. The recipe below makes much more salted caramel than you need to drizzle on the cupcakes, but it is also great for topping ice cream and chocolate cake. Or for dipping apples. Or for stirring into hot cocoa. Or for licking off of spoons. Or use your leftover caramel to drizzle over any of these other desserts:

Salted Caramel Banana Cream Pie

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart

Apple Pie

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

Vanilla Cheesecake

Double Chocolate Waffles

Cream Puffs

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes 2

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Caramel Cupcakes

Caramel Pumpkin Cupcakes 3

Pumpkin Cupcakes:

4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 16oz can of pumpkin (about 2 cups)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with 24 paper liners.

Using a mixer, beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Fold into pumpkin mixture.

Scoop batter into lined muffin pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.Remove from pan and cool completely.

Use a pastry tip (I used Wilton 1M) to frost the cupcakes. Drizzle with salted caramel.

Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator if they are going to be left out for more than a few hours.

Makes 24 cupcakes.


Caramel Cream Cheese Icing:

½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar

Place butter, cream and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir together over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. While caramel is hot, beat in cream cheese, vanilla and salt until well mixed. Beat in powdered sugar. Cover and place frosting in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. When frosting has chilled, beat again until light and fluffy. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

 

Salted Caramel Drizzle:
1 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
½ cup heavy cream
1 – 1 ½ tsp flaky or coarse sea salt
1 tsp vanilla (and/or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

Place sugar in a medium to large saucepan (mixture will bubble up and expand as cool ingredients are added to the hot pan). Cook over medium heat until sugar just begins to melt. Stir gently, trying to keep sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and is a medium amber color (about 350°F if you use an instant-read thermometer). Reduce heat to low and quickly whisk in butter chunks, stirring constantly.

Stir in cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a glass jar or heat-safe bowl to cool. Do NOT scrape sides or bottom of the pan with a spatula. If you do, you are likely to get sugar crystals into your nice smooth caramel. If the caramel has formed crystals while cooking, you can pour it from the pan through a fine sieve into the jar to remove any crystals before cooling.

Caramel can be kept in a covered jar at room temperature for several weeks.

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