Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

A decadent dark chocolate brownie bottom is layered with a creamy pumpkin cheesecake center and topped with a toasted marshmallow fluff icing. Need we say more? To top it off, we found our cute marshmallow pumpkins at Williams Sonoma. (www.williams-sonoma.com or your local store)

Brownie Layer
6 ounces high-quality bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake Layer
2 packages 8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sugar
¾ cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of ginger
2 tablespoons flour

Toasted Marshmallow Icing
¾ cup sugar or superfine sugar*
1½ tablespoons light corn syrup
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Marshmallow Pumpkins Decoration – Williams-Sonoma

Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round springform pan.

Brownie Layer
In a double boiler, or using a metal bowl set over simmering water, (the bowl should not touch the water) melt both chocolates and butter over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Remove the pan from heat and cool mixture to lukewarm. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well until mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in salt and flour just until combined. Pour into the springform pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25 -30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven, leaving the oven on, and cool the brownie layer slightly while you make the cream cheese layer.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides often. Add the pumpkin and beat on medium until blended. Reduce to low speed and add the eggs, one at a time. When well mixed, add in the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and flour, mixing on low, and scraping down the sides, until well combined. Pour the cheesecake filling over baked brownie base and smooth the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the center is set. Set on a rack and cool for 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake and remove the springform. Cool completely.

Toasted Marshmallow Topping
Set a heatproof bowl from an electric mixer over a saucepan of simmering water. Be sure the bowl is not touching the water. Add the sugar, corn syrup, egg whites, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently until all the sugar has dissolved into the egg, about 2 minutes, and the mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 7 minutes. Spread over the center of the cheesecake, leaving a 1” border, and using as much topping as you desire. Pull and swirl the topping with a spoon. Using a kitchen torch, brown the edges of the topping or place under the oven broiler to brown – being careful to avoid over-browning. Decorate with marshmallow pumpkins and serve.

Makes 10-12 servings.

*Superfine sugar dissolves faster. You can find it at specialty grocery stores or make your own by running white sugar in a food processor until ground very fine.

Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Mustard & Cider Sauce

Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Mustard & Cider Sauce

When fall is in the air, the perfect dinner menu becomes chicken breasts stuffed with delicious apples and seasoned with cider and thyme. We added a creamy mustard and cider sauce to make this seasonal dinner complete. Perfect for a cool, cozy night at home or a dinner party with friends. If you have not butterflied chicken breasts before, most store butchers will be happy to either show you or do it for you. We offer two preparation methods for this recipe – oven or sous-vide.

Boiled cider can be purchased from King Arthur Foods (kingarthurflour.com), or you can make your own by placing 3 cups of unfiltered apple cider into a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat at a hard simmer reducing the cider to 1-1/2 cups.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely diced onion
2 cups peeled, small diced Fuji apple
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
1 cup small dice cubed bread, dried overnight uncovered
1 ¼ cups unsalted chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons boiled apple cider, divided
Zest of one lemon
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
4 chicken breast, butterflied open, but not cut all the way through
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brandy or Calvados (apple brandy)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup cream

Butcher’s twine

If using the oven method, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If using the Sous Vide method, preheat a water bath to 140 degrees.

In a 12” sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté until the edges of the onions are getting soft, about 5 minutes. Add the apple and 1 ½ teaspoons of fresh thyme, then continue to sauté for another 5 minutes until the apples are soft. Turn off the heat and add the diced bread, stirring into the apples and onions. In a small measuring cup mix ¼ cup of chicken stock, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons boiled cider. Pour over the bread mixture and stir in. Sprinkle the lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon salt, and teaspoon fresh ground black pepper over the stuffing; gently stir to combine. Push the bread down in the liquid and set aside to cool slightly, so the liquid absorbs into the bread.

Lay a piece of plastic cling wrap over a cutting board. Place one chicken breast on the plastic and cover with another piece of plastic cling wrap. Pound the thicker areas until the breast is an even thickness. Remove the top plastic wrap and sprinkle a pinch of salt on the chicken breasts. In the center of the chicken breast, spread ¼ of the stuffing, leaving a ½ inch border. Using the plastic, roll the breast up together, discard the plastic wrap, then tie with butcher’s twine. Repeat for the other three chicken breasts.

Using the Oven method: Heat a 12” sauté pan to very hot. Season the outside of the chicken with kosher salt. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and sear the breasts in a single layer on all sides, about one minute per each side. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Carefully remove the sauté pan from the oven; place the chicken breast on a heatproof surface and cover with foil to keep warm. Place the sauté pan back over medium heat to make the sauce.

Using Sous Vide method: Place a chicken breast in a vacuum bag and seal. Or put in a zip-top bag and use the water displacement method. Repeat with the other chicken breasts. Cook in a 140 degrees water bath for 2 hours. When finished, remove from the bags and dry with paper towels. Season the outside of the chicken with kosher salt. Heat a 12” sauté pan to very hot, add one tablespoon of olive oil and sear the breasts on all sides, about one minute per each side. Remove from the sauté pan and cover with foil. Place the sauté pan back over medium heat to make the sauce.

To make the Mustard and Cider Sauce: Add 2 tablespoons of Brandy or Calvados to the sauté pan and, with a flat-sided wooden spoon, loosen and scrape up all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the sauté pan. Right before the Brandy evaporates, add 1 cup of chicken stock. Continue to stir until all the brown bits have dissolved. Increase the heat and cook at a high simmer until the liquid reduces by half. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any solid pieces. Wipe out the skillet, and add the strained liquid back into the pan. Reduce the heat to low and add 2 tablespoons of boiled cider, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and whisk to dissolve. Add one cup of cream and whisk to incorporate the cream into the sauce. Heat for five minutes or until the sauce is starting to bubble.

Remove the butcher’s twine and cut the chicken breasts into slices and serve with the sauce, topped with the remaining fresh thyme.

Makes six servings

To make boiled cider -Place 3 cups of unfiltered apple cider into a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat at a hard simmer until reduce to 1-1/2 cups.

Roasted Maple Butternut Squash with Israeli Couscous, Parsley and Pine nuts

Roasted Maple Butternut Squash with Israeli Couscous, Parsley and Pine nuts

As a tasty side dish with meat, chicken, or burgers, our quick and easy roasted maple butternut squash pairs perfect with Israeli couscous, parsley, and pine nuts. Bring to your next seasonal get-together, tailgating, or as a side dish for any fall meal.

2 cups small diced butternut squash
3-1/2 teaspoons, plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Kosher salt
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup Israeli couscous
1¼ cups unsalted chicken stock
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup yellow raisins
1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the butternut squash, 1½ teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup and ½ teaspoon salt to a bowl. Stir until well combined and pour onto a parchment lined sheet tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until a small knife easily passes through the squash. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the butternut squash bakes, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add one cup of Israeli couscous and sauté for one more minute. Add 1 ¼ cups of chicken stock and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Continue cooking for 8-10 minutes, or until the couscous absorbs all the stock and is tender. Remove from the heat and add the butternut squash, parsley, pine nuts, raisins, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1½ teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Season with salt to taste and serve warm or at room temperature. Make 4-6 servings.

Squid Ink Fettuccine with Pan-Seared Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Basil

Squid Ink Fettuccine with Pan-Seared Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Basil

This quick stove top entrée comes together fast and is beautiful enough for a dinner party or a special dinner at home. Fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes are pan-seared and caramelized, then mixed with squid ink pasta, deliciously flavored bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and topped with fresh basil. Pasta with squid ink tastes like pasta (no fishy flavor) but makes a stunning presentation with the colorful tomatoes and basil. You can purchase it at your local Williams-Sonoma store or on Amazon.

Kosher salt
¼ loaf of ciabatta bread
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
6 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed through a garlic press
8 ounces dried squid ink fettuccine
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves

Start a large pot of water to boil; add a handful of salt. Cut the ciabatta bread into a few very thin slices and tear the slices into small pieces. Repeat until you have 2 cups.

Heat a 12” sauté pan over medium heat, add ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes and a large pinch of salt. Cook, shaking the pan often until the tomatoes are blistered all over and just starting to pop. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl, cover, and keep warm.

Place the pan back over the heat and add ½ cup of olive oil and the red pepper flakes stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and until the pepper flakes are sizzling about 3 minutes. Add the anchovy paste and stir to dissolve into the oil. Add the breadcrumbs, and cook, stirring often, until the crumbs are deep golden, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the breadcrumbs are crisp and brown, 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and place ½ the toasted breadcrumbs to a bowl or plate; set aside. Set the sauté pan aside with the remaining crumbs.

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

Return the sauté pan to medium heat and add the pasta and ½ cup of pasta water to the remaining half of the breadcrumb mixture, tossing to combine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to dissolve any remaining bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, reserved cherry tomatoes, and ½ the fresh basil. Add any extra pasta water if needed. Season to taste with salt. Place the pasta in 4 warmed bowls and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese for passing. Makes 4 servings.