cheesecake

There's nothing wrong with pumpkin pie, but if you're looking for something new to serve on the dessert table, this cheesecake offers many of the flavors of fall with a sticky new twist. It's got pumpkin, spice, and just enough crunch to satisfy any after-turkey sweet tooth!

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For the Cheesecake:

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1 1/3 C graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers)

¼ C sugar

¼ C butter, melted

3 - 8oz packages cream cheese, softened

1 - 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 - 15oz can pumpkin

3 large eggs, at room temp

¼ C pure Grade B maple syrup

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1 1/2tsp fine sea salt

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Maple Pecan Glaze:

1 C whipping cream

¾ C pure Grade B maple syrup

¾ C chopped pecans

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely crush the graham crackers in a food processor.

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In a large bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar and melted butter and firmly press into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.

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Using your stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually mix in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth. With the mixer on medium, add the pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

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Mix well and pour into the spring form pan.

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Bake until the center appears nearly set, but jiggles a little when shaken - about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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Cool for at least 1 hour. Cover and chill overnight or for minimum of 4 hours.

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For the glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine the whipping cream and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened - 15 to 20 minutes - stirring occasionally.

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Stir in the chopped pecans Cover and chill until time to serve. Spoon maple pecan glaze over the cheese cake and slice to serve.

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Alcoholic cocktail feeling with Cachaca, cranberry drink, strawberries, lime juice, green basil, and ice cubes, vintage wooden background, selective focus

With summertime flavors like Passion Fruit, Cucumber, Rock Melon Cantaloupe, Exotic Citrus, and even Tiki Blend - Monin Syrups are ready to liven any beverage. One of our favorites is Chef Lisa's creation, the Water Berry Punch which combines the quintessential tastes of summer into one delightfully sparkling glass - see the recipe below. Any of these syrups can easily be added to a simple club soda over ice, or dolled up with herbed sugar rims, infused cream layers and zesty blended berry stir-ins! Plain old strawberry lemonade is so last summer - but with just a splash of Guava syrup, a few berries and a sprig of basil, you can give a tropical hint to a refreshing classic! So mix it up, and try an exciting - dare we say exotic - blend of your own!

Water Berry Punch

Ingredients:

Ice

1 oz. Monin watermelon syrup

1 oz. Monin huckleberry syrup

12 oz. sparkling gingerale

2 oz. cranberry juice

1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice

Place all ingredients in a 16 oz glass and stir. Garnish with a twist of lime or wedge of watermelon.

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Their name says it all; nothing but fresh, colorful veggies pack these Fresh Rolls, making them the perfect summer fare for any outdoor gathering, or everyday snacking. Mix it up with whatever is growing in your garden, or is available at your local Farmers' Market. Plus, the verdant blending of Avocado and Edamame in the dip makes for a cool, creamy base that carries a kick with warming ginger and just enough wasabi to remind you what summer heat really feels like!

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Rolls:
1 red pepper
1 C purple cabbage
4 large carrots
3 leaves greens (Romain or butter leaf lettuce or handful of spinach)
1/2 C corn kernels, cooked and cut from cob
1 package fresh roll rice wrappers

Batonnet (Not sure what that cut is? Ask the Obsessive Chef Cutting Board or take an Essential Knife Skills class from Chef Lisa! ;)) red peppers, cabbage & carrots.

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Boil corn and cut from cob, chill. Fill a shallow pan or deep plate with luke warm water. Pass wrappers through the water bath on each side to hydrate, allowing excess water to drip off. Fill each wrapper with small bundles of each veggie, including a folded leaf of greens and sprinkling of corn. Roll according to package directions, folding in sides and rolling up to seal ends. Serve immediately or wrap and chill. Cut in half to serve.

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Dip:

1 C edamame, shelled, steamed & chilled
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl lime juice
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp hydrated wasabi paste
1 ripe avocado
Salt to taste
Several sprigs of chopped cilantro to garnish
In a food processor, puree edamame, garlic, lime juice, ginger and wasabi to a smooth texture. With the motor running, drizzle in olive oil. Add avocado and pulse to incorporate. Add salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro to serve.

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by Sydnie McKinley, Kitchen Store Specialist

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The KitchenAid spiralizer is a really awesome attachment. Today was my first time using it and it was so much fun. The attachment is extremely easy to use. You just attach the spiralizer to the mixer at the attachment hub.

IMAG0414Then you choose what type of spiral you would like from the plates included: fine spiral, medium spiral, two different types of slicing, and you can also peel with it which is quite handy. After you have chosen which size you would like and set up the corresponding plate, you go ahead and put your veggie or fruit on to the skewer. We used zucchini and carrots, cut into about 4 inch segments. Pull the lever and tighten the plate snugly in front of the item being spiralized. Next, turn on your KitchenAid to about speed 4 and let it do its thing, which is to make quick, lovely spiraled 'noodles' or slices. Once it reaches the end of the cut veggie, you pull of the end nub and do it again!

IMAG0422A simple process with a very special result. Veggie noodles can be used in so many ways.

IMAG0425Steam or boil them and top with sauce, cut into bite-sized segments and serve with a fresh dressing, even roll up in wraps and fresh rolls.

IMAG0427Chef Cheryl added sliced avocado, some feta and a tortilla for a fresh salad wrap that will satisfy your summer cravings for a quick and healthy meal.

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It's Cinco de Mayo and we're thinking Salsa! And one of our favorites for summer is Zucchini Salsa. It makes the best of garden harvests and farmer's market finds. It may even inspire you to throw an extra zucchini plant in the garden!

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Ingredients:

1 large zucchini, peeled & shredded

1 white onion, skinned & quartered

1 red pepper, cored & seeded

1 green pepper, cored & seeded (we used a large anaheim)

1 Tbl salt

2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes

1 cup white vinegar

6 oz can tomato paste

1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 Tbl cumin

1/2 Tbl garlic powder

1 Tbl dry mustard

1 Tbl red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped fine

Prepare veggies by coring, seeding and quartering so that they will fit in the food processor. Pulse the onion and peppers until finely chopped. Move to a large mixing bowl. Peel zucchini and slice lengthwise. Using the small shredding disc in your food processor, shred both halves. Add to veggie mix, stir in salt and refrigerate. Dice tomatoes and set aside.

Prepare your canning lids and jars by boiling in large pot of water.

Measure spices.

Rinse zucchini blend and strain off liquid.

In a large cast iron pot, combine zucchini blend, tomatoes and vinegar. Add tomato paste, sugar, cumin, garlic powder, mustard, red pepper flakes, nutmeg and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salsa texture will smooth out and it's color deepen to red. Remove from heat and add finely chopped cilantro. Stir to combine.

Spoon salsa into prepared jars using canning funnel. Wipe rims and place prepared lids, twisting rings only until secure, not tight. Place jars into a boiling water bath for another 15 minutes. Remove onto a dry towel and allow to cool. Once you hear the pop of the lid, they are ready for storage. Enjoy with chips or on your favorite taco! The sweet tangy flavor lends itself to any dish and preserves the flavors of summer for enjoyment anytime.

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I love Easter. In fact, I love springtime in general! Never mind that Easter comes on March 27th this year, which is still decidedly winter up here in Alaska... Easter is a reminder that spring is, at least, on its way. Not to mention, Easter gives me an excuse to bake up all sorts of delicious and adorable goodies! I mean, what’s cuter than combining treats and baby animals? The answer is nothing. Nothing is cuter than that.

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I usually go for the standard bunny route, but then I saw this adorable idea from one of my fav dessert blogs, The Simple Sweet Life. Marshmallow frosting chicks? Yes, please.

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For the cupcakes, feel free to use your favorite cupcake recipe, or even use a cake mix (we won’t tell. Promise). I didn’t have a mix handy, so I went to one of my oft-used resources for recipes, Food Network.

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This recipe for Go-To Vanilla Cupcakes was perfect, and super easy. I liked this recipe because the cupcakes came out moist, but firm enough to hold up to decorating. These babies smelled heavenly when baking!

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For the frosting, I used the recipe found in one of our favorite books, What’s New Cupcake? You should definitely come in and check out this book, because they have oodles of ingenious ideas, in addition to great recipes. This Almost Homemade Buttercream (using a jar of marshmallow fluff for texture and shine) was a winner, which I will definitely go for again. And that’s saying a lot, because my frosting recipe is legendary. I loved this recipe because it was workable but had a great stability, which was exactly what I wanted for this decor.

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A disposable piping bag fitted with a large tip is perfect for the large, smooth shapes we were after for the chicks.

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A couple things to note: I used dyed white chocolate for the feet and beaks. Delish. However, if I made them again, I’d go for orange candy melts, because they harden quicker! You could also use royal icing. I used mini chocolate chips for the eyes.

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The pastel jumbo sprinkles added the extra touch of adorbs, as did these Cupcake Creations papers.

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All in all, these cupcakes were pretty easy, and any effort made was totally worth it, because look at these guys! They are perfect for an Easter basket treat, Easter dinner, or any spring soirée you may be having or attending this year. Happy baking!

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What is it about a lovely pink layer of frosting spread across a soft, almost underbaked sugar cookie sprinkled with tiny edible confetti that says to your heart 'I Love You'? Maybe it's that little Cookie Monster in all of us... No, really.

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When we recently expressed a craving for Valentine Cookies, Miss Beth declared her favorite recipe to be THE actual Cookie Monster recipe, that begins with "Me Cookie Monster and my favorite thing is eating cookies!" With all that experience, how could we go wrong?

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The recipe is simple, having been written for children, and even offers the option to mix the dough literally by hand. As mentioned, we like our cookies soft, so we reduced baking time and allowed the cookies to cool completely before topping with this dreamy cream cheese buttercream. Each one becomes a Valentine made as close to heaven as you can get from the kitchen... if you can convince your inner monster to share!

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Cookie Monster's Famous Sugar Cookie Recipe

transcribed from Big Bird's Busy Book
Makes 2-3 dozen depending on cutter size

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Put 3/4 cup of butter (that's a stick and a half) into your mixing bowl. Measure 1 cup of sugar. Pour sugar over butter. With a fork, squash butter and sugar together until blended. Crack shells of 2 eggs and pour eggs over the mixture in the bowl. Measure 1 tsp vanilla and pour over mixture. With fork, blend everything in bowl together. Measure 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and pour over mixture in bowl. Measure 1 tsp baking powder and sprinkle over flour. Measure 1 tsp salt and sprinkle over flour and baking powder. Mix everything together either with a fork or with your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and put dough in the icebox to chill (at least one hour). You can make lots of dough at once and keep it in your icebox in a plastic bag (it will last a long time). Then whenever you make cookies, just take out as much as you need.

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Me heat oven to 400 degrees. Now take some cookie dough out of the icebox. If you all out of cookie dough (oh dear) just make some more!
Sprinkle counter with flour and put dough on it. Roll out dough flat, about 1/4-inch thick and cut.

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Put cookies on ungreased cookie sheet, and put cookie sheet in oven. O.K. now come the hard part. Me have to wait about 10 minutes while cookies cook and turn golden brown on bottoms. What me going to eat?

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Looking for a sweet idea for your sweetie pie? This gorgeous heart-topped cherry
pie is the perfect, surprisingly easy, semi-homemade Valentine’s Day dessert.

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The best part about this dessert is that it is easy to make, but it winds up looking
super fancy when it’s done. The ruffled edge of our pie dish makes quick work of forming the bottom crust, while layers of hearts cut from a second sheet of dough form the lovely top.
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For the filling:
We like our pies fruit-full, so since I had two cans of regular cherry pie filling, I rinsed one of the cans in a strainer to wash off the extra pie filling goop. I mixed the other can with the remaining washed cherries, and stirred together with 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons of almond extract, and mixed until all the cornstarch was dissolved.

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For the crust: We used a butter based recipe from thediaryofdaveswife.com.
I’ve tried a lot of piecrust recipes in my time, and let me say, this recipe is the easiest and has the best results. It was buttery, flaky, and delicious, not to mention easy to work with.

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The food processor is my go-to for piecrust! It couldn’t be easier.

Pie Crust Recipe:

3 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Sugar

1 1/2 Cups (3 sticks) Unsalted Butter

1/2-3/4 Cup Ice Cold Water

Measure flour, sugar, and salt into your food processor.  Process just to combine dry ingredients. Cut each cube of butter into slices over the bowl of processor and pulse in quick bursts until mixture resembles course meal. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow steady stream just until the dough starts to hold together, no longer than 30 seconds. Test by pinching a small amount, if it is still crumbly add a bit more water. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 2 equal parts. Flatten into discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out.

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No time for homemade crust? A refrigerated crust would definitely work with this technique. Just use a small heart-shaped cutter to make shapes to layer on the top of the filling.

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I had a lot of extra dough left, so I made extra hearts, which I baked into cinnamon sugar pie crust cookies. These were perfect for garnishing the pie a-la-mode, (and snacking on.)

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This was such a fun and delicious recipe for Valentine’s Day, and sure to win the heart of your Valentine. After all, who doesn’t love pie?

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A favorite Christmas tradition around these parts is serving up a colorful charcuterie spread for special occasions, and what could be more delightful than adding a surprising dessert to the cutting board... Welcome Chocolate Salami - or what would come to be known as one of our favorite Dessert Shop Demos ever!

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With a base of deliciously dark Callebaut Chocolate and a crisp collection of other bits and bobs as mix-ins, this cleverly disguised dessert makes a grand gift as well as a simple, yet decadent dessert to serve to holiday guests.

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When we first came across the original recipe by Aube Giroux, we were instantly enchanted by the look of this seemingly simple treat. But there is more to it than meets the eye. For example, we did choose to temper the egg/cream mixture, but the use of a Candy Thermometer makes it easy to know exactly when to remove it from the heat.

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And since it's up to you what you want to add in as crispy, flavorful bits, the possibilities are absolutely endless!

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We even made different sizes to make the recipe go further from between two and three logs.

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The addition of a powdered sugar coating and a Baker's Twine wrapping help complete the facade. Plus, a twine Holder and Cutter would make a marvelous add- on gift.

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By Cheryl Shaffer,   Cooking School Instructor

It’s autumn here in Alaska. There’s a definite nip in the air at night, though our days are still relatively nice by the noon hour. The sun is finally setting in the sky in the evening, treating us to the delight of a Northern Lights show over the mountains, while the fireweed has lost it’s purple hue and is releasing its white floss, free-floating through the air. Leaves are changing colors, here and there, amongst the green of the trees and our gardens are putting on their shows with the bushels of potatoes, onions and carrots finally ready for the harvest. The zucchini plants have given over their tender little fruit and now we are finding the gigantic courgettes hidden under the leaves, too tasty to let go to waste. (And yes, though we treat zucchinis as a vegetable, they are technically a fruit.)

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So what to do with the garden surplus that overflows our refrigerator crispers and the vegetable stands while knocking out a mid-week dinner in quick measure? I found the following items in our kitchen today and was thinking about how I could take these and make something delicious before they exceed their freshness, and not take too much of my time from the sales floor. I had purchased Hollywood-style pork rib strips the day before, which are boneless, so that would be my meat base. Sometimes I find that I am more inspired by simply gathering all of my basic components and consider them for a moment, than by racking my brain for a specific recipe to meld all of the flavors and textures.

Ok, here’s what I found in the coffers:

2 lbs. Hollywood style pork rib (no bones, remove excess fat and cut into 1” chunks)

4 medium carrots, cut into small coins

1 large onion, diced

2 potatoes, small dice

1 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced

3 sprigs fresh thyme, (remove the stems)

1 huge zucchini – I used about 4 inches off one end, small dice

1 cup chicken stock

2 Tbs. olive oil, divided

2 Tbs. butter

1 teaspoon celery seed

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper seed

½ teaspoon garlic based seasoning blend

2 teaspoons dry mustard

½ teaspoon Summit Spice Smoked Paprika

½ teaspoon Summit Spice Smokey Maple Fish Rub

½ teaspoon dry dill weed

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

I used the 15” Swiss Diamond sauté pan, placing it over medium high heat. Once the pan was warm, I drizzled in one tablespoon of the oil and added the onions, potatoes and carrots and allowed them to start browning. Season the vegetables with the kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.   Sprinkle in the thyme, celery seed and dill weed.

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In a bowl, place the cut pieces of pork and pour the second tablespoon of oil over the meat. (It’ll help the seasonings stay on the meat.) Add the crushed red pepper, garlic blend, the paprika, maple fish rub spice and dry mustard. Mix to coat the meat well. Remove the vegetables from the sauté pan and place them in a bowl on the side. Add the pork to the pan and begin browning, then add in the zucchini. (Adding the zucchini in with the pork will allow it to absorb the flavors of the pork as it cooks, and it does not require as long a cooking time as the other vegetables.).

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Once the pork has a just a touch of pink left in the middle of a piece, return the potato, onion and carrot mixture to the pan, stir and add the chicken stock and butter.

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Bring the ragout to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. In just a few minutes, the stock will be hot and will have picked-up any of the browned pieces from the bottom of the pan, making an incredible broth to serve with your ragout, and practically screams for fresh rolls or biscuits to sop up all that delicious goodness. I served this in a bowl. You could easily use two or three cups of the stock and change the ragout into a rich soup. Adding a cup of wild rice and letting it simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes longer will extend the yield.

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Whatever you choose, this is a nice way to clear out the surplus vegetables in your larder as well as a make a fairly quick homemade dinner from scratch, saving almost as much time as using a box meal from the store, yet you know exactly what the ingredients were used to make it.