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Why a PINK chef's coat?

Simply put, I carry my Dad's legacy with me through my cookbook, cooking and everyday I am writing my food columns, he is always with me. I carry my Mom with me through a silent reminder of her struggle with breast cancer that took her life, as well as the lives of many other women who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, this horrible affliction. Besides, why not pink? It makes a man look good!

Dutch Cheesecake Streusel with Holiday Caramel Topping

We have the fusion of salty, sweet, creamy and crunchy in this deeply flavored dessert perfect for the holidays and anytime.

Ingredients

For 4 people

Recipe

  • about a dozen large oatmeal cookies, soft or hard, crushed(should have 3 c. total)
  • 3 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup(s) chopped walnuts
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla or almond extract or flavoring
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (21 ounces) can apple pie filling*
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • Salted Caramel Sauce, recipe below

Dutch Cheesecake Streusel with Holiday Caramel Topping Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. Place cookie crumbs and chopped walnuts in large bowl and blend in the butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse. Press half of the buttered crumbs in bottom of pan; reserving the remainder for the topping.
  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust. In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool in refrigerator until set and chilled, about 1 hour. Before cutting into squares to serve, drizzle with warm Salted Caramel Eggnog Sauce over the top to serve.
  3. Salted Caramel Eggnog Sauce:
    1/3 cup apple cider or juice
    1/3 cup dark corn syrup
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    4 tablespoons butter or margarine
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cups eggnog

    Combine cider, corn syrup and sugar in large saucepan. Cook over medium low heat stirring constantly, brushing down sides with water when necessary until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to med-high and continue to cook without stirring for 5-7 minutes or until syrup turns golden amber, swirling the pan if necessary to distribute the caramel. Remove from heat and stir in butter and salt until well blended. Slowly pour in the eggnog, being careful as mixture will bubble, and whisk in well. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Spoon a thin layer of warm caramel onto each cheesecake square to serve.
  4. *Make your own apple filling if you prefer. Simply peel, core and slice 6-7 apples of your choice. Place in a bowl and combine with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Mix well and add in place of prepared apple filling.
  5. If you would like a change of pace from caramel, that is inherently sweet, try one of these toppings instead. Although they are classically called Ganaches, we will just be simple and call them Creams.
    Cinnamon Cream:
    12 oz. cinnamon chips
    1 c. heavy cream
    Butterscotch Cream:
    12 oz. butterscotch chips
    1 c. heavy cream
    Chocolate Cream:
    12 oz. chocolate chips
    1 c. heavy cream

    Heat the cream in a double boiler until scalding. You can do it in a saucepan over medium heat, but just be extremely careful to stir constantly to avoid burning. Add the chips and remove from heat. Let stand, while stirring infrequently, until chips are melted. That's it!
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