Classic NY Cheesecake with Cranberry cointreau sauce

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This recipe is a hybrid/tweak from several sources. This cheesecake is very rich and excellent as a stand-alone. It also makes an excellent base for toppings if you choose to remove the citrus notes.

Classic New York Cheesecake: (supposedly the original recipe from Lindy’s)

  • 5 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 and 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 tbs grated orange peel *optional
  • 1 tbs grated lemon peel *optional
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Crust:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk

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Step one: (crust)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease springform pan, with shortening. Remove pan. Mix all ingredients with a fork until the dough forms. Gather it up into three balls. Press one ball into the the bottom of the pan. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until light golden brown.

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Assemble the sides of the pan and secure. Press remaining dough 2 inches up the side of the pan.

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It doesn’t seem like it, but the dough will press up nicely and fill the pan.

Step two: (cake)

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Beat cream cheese, flour, orange peel, lemon peel and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

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Beat in eggs, egg yolks and whipping cream on low speed until well-blended. Pour into crust.

Step three: Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees. Bake one hour and 15 minutes longer. Do not insert a knife to test – this will cause cracks. The center may not seem done, but will set eventually. Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake in there for 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for another 30 minutes.

Step four: Don’t release the pan, but run a spatula along the side to loosen the crust. Chill for at least three hours in the refrigerator, uncovered; preferably, overnight.

Serving suggestionsIf you don’t want to top it with fruit, Beat 3/4 cup of heavy cream until it is stiff. Top with slivered almonds.

Cranberry-cointreau sauce (source finecooking.com)

  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 12-oz. package fresh cranberries, rinsed, dried, and picked over
  • 2 Tbs. Cointreau or Grand Marnier (I have used Grand Marnier in the past because I can more easily find the travel sizes at our liquor store

Note I have used Grand Marnier in the past because I can more easily find the travel sizes at our liquor store, and it is cheaper. Both have the smoky orange tones you are looking for.

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In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, and 3/4 cup water to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

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Double, double, toil and trouble

Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the cranberries.

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Cook, stirring occasionally, until the foam has turned fuchsia and many of the berries have popped, about 5 min.

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Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the Cointreau. Pour into a heatproof bowl and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours, but preferably overnight. The sauce can be made two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Cranberries with dried cherries

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recipe source: food magazine

My father has an obsession with cranberries during the holidays. Rather than have him resort to cranberries out of the can, I decided to experiment with a new recipe; this was a big hit at the table.

You Need:

  • 1 package fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water

Step one: In a large sauce pan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil.

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Step two: Simmer for 20-25 minutes until most of the berries have burst and the liquid is syrupy.

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Step three: Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

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Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with cherries and walnuts

This is a great side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I cannot emphasize to you how delicious and easy this is. I planned to have leftovers, but not a single piece was left in the bowl despite making two batches.

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

Step one: Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Step two: Arrange potatoes in an even layer in a 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish.

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Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Step three: Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook for 30 minutes. Add walnuts and cherries and stir. Cook for 15-20 more minutes.


Apple Pie

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Homemade apple pies are easy; It’s the crust that is always tricky for me. If I have time I make the dough from scratch, but I often cop out and by the ready-made variety. Homemade dough gives you that ethereal, light quality but it  can be time-consuming and easy to make it too tough.

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It’s okay to cheat sometimes! Shhhhh.

One note though, avoid the shells you find in the freezer – they always break no matter how hard you try to avoid it and the taste of a rolled out dough baked in the oven is impossible to replicate. For my dough recipe, scroll down to the end of the post. What follows is my tried and true apple pie recipe.

Apple pie ingredients:

  • 7 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples. This will be about 7 small apples. (I like granny smith, gala or empire or a combo)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar; 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs butter
  • For the crust, you will need enough for 2. One for the top; one for the bottom

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Step 2: Combine apples, sugar, flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix around until the apples are coated and there is no loose powder.

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Brown sugar goodness. Mmmmm.

Step 3. Place the mixture in a dough lined 9 inch pie plate. Dot with slices of butter.

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Step 4: Assemble the top crust and press edges with your fingers in whatever pattern you wish.

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Vent the top of the pie.

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Coming up with different patterns is fun.

Step 5: Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. After the ten minutes, reduce the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender. Cool upon a rack and serve. If the crust gets too dark, cover it gently in foil.

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Extras:

  • I like to coat the crust with melted butter and sprinkle it with brown sugar and an extra dash of cinnamon.
  • Serve it with some vanilla bean ice cream.

Homeade dough recipe:

This recipe makes enough for 2 or a double crust pie.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water.

Step 1: Combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter. Mix (use a hand mixer or processor) until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal ( a few pea size pieces of butter is ok)

Step 2: Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cold water. Mix until the dough is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed with your fingers. If necessary, add a tiny bit of water at a time until you get the right consistency. To do not overdo it, or your crust will get tough, not flaky. ‘

Step 3: Transfer half of the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form the dough into a circle roughly 3/4 inch thick. Wrap tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour until firm. It will hold up for 3 days and can be frozen for 3 months. Repeat with the second half.

When I am top of holiday game, I will premake a few batches and freeze them until Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Pecan Pie

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Pecan pie is always a hit with my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here is a very simple recipe that I have had a lot of success with over the years. The recipe for the dough is at the bottom of the post.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup pecan halves or broken pecans
  • 2 tbs bourbon

Step 1: Heat oven to 375 degrees

Step 2: Beat sugar, butter, corn syrup, bourbon, salt and eggs in a large bowl with a wire whisk.

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A little bourbon never hurts.

Once blended, stir in pecans.

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Pour into a dough lined pie plate.

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Step 3: Bake for 40-50 degrees until the center is set.

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Ready for coffee and ice cream:)

Homemade dough recipe:

This recipe makes enough for 2 or a double crust pie.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water.

Step 1: Combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter. Mix (use a hand mixer or processor) until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal ( a few pea size pieces of butter is ok)

Step 2: Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cold water. Mix until the dough is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed with your fingers. If necessary, add a tiny bit of water at a time until you get the right consistency. To do not overdo it, or your crust will get tough, not flaky. ‘

Step 3: Transfer half of the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form the dough into a circle roughly 3/4 inch thick. Wrap tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour until firm. It will hold up for 3 days and can be frozen for 3 months. Repeat with the second half.

When I am top of holiday game, I will premake a few batches and freeze them until Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Pecan Cheesecake bars

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This recipe from positivelysplendid.com popped up among my facebooks friends, so I thought I would give it a try. The pictures looked incredible (yes, I look at dessert photos the same way others look at centerfolds) and the review looked good too.

Verdict: Absolutely delicious

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For the shortbread layer

  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  4. 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

For the cheesecake layer

  1. 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup milk
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the pecan pie layer

  1. 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  3. 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  4. 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1 1/2 cups pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. For the shortbread layer: In a medium bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup brown sugar.

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  1. Although the original link says to use a pastry blender, I used a hand mixer and it worked just fine. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans.FullSizeRender(10)
  2. Press mixture evenly into bottom of a greased 9×13″ baking pan. FullSizeRender(9)
  3. Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven, and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  4. For the cheesecake layer: Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with a paddle attachment, and beat at medium speed until smooth. Beat in sugar. Add milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until combined. FullSizeRender(6)
  5. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled shortbread layer. Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.FullSizeRender(8)
  6. For the pecan pie layer: In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, and melted butter. Gently stir in the eggs, salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir in 1 1/2 cups pecans.FullSizeRender(7)
  7. Pour pecan mixture over cooled cheesecake layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center is set and pecan pie layer is a rich brown color. IMG_2337

Here is the end result in various shots:

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