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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by Beth Brown, Kitchen Store Specialist

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One of my favorite holiday memories from my childhood is baking pies the night before Thanksgiving. I would “help” my mom in the kitchen, staying up later than normal to finish baking the delicious pies for the feast the next day.

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There was always a bit of pie dough leftover, and my mom would cut it up into triangles, shake cinnamon sugar over the top, and bake them up for delicious treat before bed. Piecrust cookies became my favorite part of the pie-baking ritual.

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For this dessert shop recipe, we took piecrust cookies a few steps further to make them even more special and delicious, elevating them into much more than a leftover treat - these are tasty enough to take center stage! Especially when served with a pumpkin cream cheese frosting dip.

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When baking up these tasty leaf-shaped goodies, the KitchenAid food processor was an essential tool, and made the process quick and easy. (Nothing is better for holiday cooking than recipes that look complicated but are actually really simple!)

Beth's No Fail Pie Crust

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

In a food processor, measure the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into cubes and add to flour.

Pulse only enough to create a crumb mixture.

img_8807Slowly add cold water until the mixture begins to stick together when pressed between your fingers.

img_8810Separate into four blocks, refrigerate extra as you work with one. Turn dough out onto a floured Silpat and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Onto this, sprinkle a portion of the following:

¼ Cup pecans, finely chopped and toasted

¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

1-2 Tbs fresh orange zest

2 tsp sugar (optional)

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You can either cover half the rolled out dough and fold the remaining half over, or apply a second sheet of rolled dough to cover the first.

img_8818Roll a second time to press the two sheets together to reveal the ingredients inside and reach desired thickness.

img_8822Use festive cutters to cut cookie shapes from the dough, or shape for hand pies or to fit your pie plate, depending on desired use for crust.

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Take it to a whole new level by leaving out the optional sugar, adding fresh herbs and using this crust for left-over Turkey & Stuffing hand pies with gravy dip - or as the crust for a next-day turkey pot pie!

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Cookie Press Butter Cookies are a classic at Holiday time, and now with OXO's Fall Disc Collection, they can be made and shared as early as Halloween! Because this dough holds its shape so well through the baking process, Miss Beth suggests adding decorations before baking so that sprinkles and sparkle sugars stick even when packaged. Also, remember to use just a baking sheet without any spray, grease or silicone baking mat so that the pressed cookies will stick slightly to the surface and release from the plate of the press with clean lines and distinct pattern. This chart from OXO shows the finished product created by each disc in the collection.

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Butter Cookies *
Yield: About 12 dozen cookies
Ingredients
• 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
at room temperature • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup sugar • 4 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt. Beat until light and
fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, continuously beating.
3. Gradually add flour, beating until well incorporated.
4. Place dough in cookie press with desired disk. Press dough out onto an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges.
Rotate baking sheet halfway through baking time.

*Recipe provided by longtime OXO friend, Fraya Berg

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Ever since our friend sent us this picture...

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of her cast iron pizza on the grill made with the seemingly magical 2 ingredient crust, we knew we had to try it. And what better way to top said crust than with the bounty of an Alaska summer - smoked salmon and fresh greens!  Whether you grill it in cast iron from Lodge or Staub, or bake it on an Emil Henry pizza stone in your oven - it's a sure crowd pleaser!

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Once you have your fish reeled in, prepare the fresh fillets - making sure you have a flexible and SHARP fillet knife for the job!

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Remove any pin bones that may have remained - Chef Lisa loves the Messermeister fish tweezer tool for this fine work.

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Now you're ready to add a touch of smokey flavor to your fish. There are just about as many brines, rubs and techniques out there as there are fish in the sea, but we used Cameron's Stove Top Smoker (also known as "The easiest way to Smoke Salmon").

Using 1 1/2 Tablespoons of alder wood chips in a pile in the middle of the base of the smoker, line the bottom of the drip tray with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) and set the rack in the drip tray. Lay the salmon fillet, about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, skin side down on the rack. Close the lid and place smoker on preheated burner or open grill (medium heat) for 10 minutes. We're cutting the time short so that the fish gets a smokey flavor without cooking through since we will be finishing the job on the pizza. 25 minutes in the smoker would give you flake-able fillets. Remove from heat and open lid. (original instructions from Camerons Stovetop Smoker Cooking Guide)

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Remove salmon and cut into thin slices with a fillet knife.

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2 INGREDIENT PIZZA DOUGH

1 C Greek yogurt

1 – 1 ½ C self rising flour

(or substitute 1½ C all purpose flour, 1½ tsp of baking powder, and ¾ tsp of salt)

Combine yogurt and flour in a bowl until it comes together in a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes. If the dough feels too sticky at any point, add flour, a tsp at a time until it becomes smooth without sticking to your hands. Roll dough into an oblong circle and brush with olive oil. Crust is ready to top.

For this recipe we're using a log of chevre, sliced and spread evenly over the crust. Lay Salmon slices over the cheese and sprinkle with your choice of dried herbs. You can also add a drizzle of your favorite flavored oil, whether to add spice with a pepper infused oil, or a lovely citrus hint with just a touch of lemon oil.

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Bake at 450°F in the oven for 10-12 minutes or on a hot grill until crust is browned on the edges. Remove from heat source, sprinkle with fresh greens - like tender arugula, spinach or mixed baby greens from your garden. For even more smokey flavor, add a pinch of Alder Smoked Alaska Sea Salt with some fresh ground pepper. Enjoy!

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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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Strawberry yogurt ice cream popsicles with mint over steel tray background. Top view

Making yogurt at home is an exciting process and allows you to use only the ingredients you want. And now that the Cuisipro yogurt maker is collapsible for easy storage, the excuse of bulky equipment is out the kitchen window! Once you realize how simple it can be to make your own yogurt, especially the part about using the batch you've made to start another, you can virtually be making it everyday! With all that delicious dairy around, here's a simple recipe that makes a cool, refreshing dessert of your creation, and once again, you get to decide what goes in, so you can make them as sweet or tart as you like, with whatever berries you find in season. Imagine a Hatcher's Pass Blueberry version, or one full of your bumper crop of backyard raspberries - either way they'll make a special, healthy treat to share on the porch in the Midnight Sun!

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Ingredients:

1 C homemade yogurt

2 T Alaska Wildflower Honey

3 C strawberries

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With a strawberry huller, remove stems and wash berries. Reserve one cup of the largest berries to cut into thick slices, tip to base. With the small bowl in place, puree the other 2 cups of berries in a food processor with one tablespoon of honey until smooth.

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Stir up yogurt and remaining tablespoon honey to get a smooth, pourable thickness (if your yogurt is more set, you may need to add a bit of milk to reach a good texture). Place one or two slices of strawberry in each popsicle basin, pressing to edge. Fill basins 3/4 full with yogurt mixture and top off with pureed berries, or alternate for varied pops - even layers for stripes! Cover and insert sticks. Freeze until solid, at least  6 hours or overnight.

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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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