Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

Have I mentioned how much I love fall baking?! One of my fall favorites is definitely apples. I’m normally a purist and eat my apples just plain, but this lovely recipe landed in my inbox earlier this month and it inspired me to make some kind of dip for apples. I wanted to use up some canned pumpkin I had, so I decided to use that recipe as inspiration and start experimenting in the kitchen.  I admittedly did not write down what I did while I made this, but because it turned out so yummy, I attempted to use the old noggin to try to remember what I did. To the best of my memory, this is what I did:

  

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup pumpkin
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup caramel sauce
Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced

Directions:

  1. Whisk (or beat with an electric mixer) the cream cheese and pumpkin together.
  2. Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, incorporating each addition before adding more.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract and caramel sauce.
  4. Refrigerate the dip for a couple hours.
  5. Serve with cored and sliced Granny Smith apples.

Caramel Syrup

After making my Watermelon Sorbet, I had some leftover simple syrup. I had remembered reading about flavored syrups in Annie’s Eats (one of the many baking blogs I follow), and decided that was the perfect way to use up my leftovers. Randomly, I happened to have some caramel sauce in my refrigerator, so clearly this was just meant to be. It’s a great addition to your morning coffee, even if you usually take it black (like I do).

I followed Annie’s directions exactly, but adjusted the amounts of ingredients just a little. Here’s what I did:

Caramel Syrup
Ingredients:
1-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup water
3/4 cups caramel sauce

Directions:
Combine the sugar, water and caramel sauce in a small saucepan.  Heat the mixture over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Store in the refrigerator.

Note: Shown above with Nonni’s new Salted Caramel Biscotti – YUM!

Turtle Brownies

While the rest of the blogosphere is forcing pumpkin down all of your throats being that Thanksgiving is in a week, I think I’ll indulge you with a more decadent recipe. Turtle brownies. I know, what could be better – nothing, right?

Two Christmases ago, I did holiday baking for a number of family members. One of the requests was turtle brownies, so I set out to find the perfect recipe. I soon realized that the task was more difficult than expected, so I created the recipe on my own. I opted for a cake-like chocolate brownie and topped it with caramel frosting and chopped pecans. The result was rich, decadent, and mimicked Fannie Mae’s turtle candy. It turned out to be pretty awesome and a huge hit!

Turtle Brownies

Ingredients

Brownies
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I use Dutch Process)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Caramel Frosting
 1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Topping
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. To make the brownies, melt the butter and mix in all the brownie ingredients in order. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes in a 9×13 inch greased pan. Cool the brownies completely on a wire cooling rack.
  2. To make the frosting, melt the butter in a pan. Add the brown sugar and boil for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and stir until the mixture boils. Remove from heat and cool. Pour into a mixing bowl and add powdered sugar gradually, mixing each addition thoroughly before adding more.
  3. To assemble the brownies, spread the frosting over the cooled brownies. Spread the chopped pecans evenly on top of the frosting, gently pressing them in to stick to the frosting.

Enjoy!