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Monday, December 24, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes for Christmas Morning

To begin with, Merry Christmas!!! I can't even believe that it's Christmas already, how did that happen, shouldn't it still be September or so?  This year has absolutely flown by.  But it's Christmas, which is one of my favorite times of the year.  We are home with my parents in Iowa right now and since the house is full of family, we've been having some fancier than normal breakfasts.

Photos by Dede Holman Photography

If you are in the mood to do the same for a special occasion, I totally recommend these pancakes.  Oh-my-god-good.  So delicious.  The pancakes have a super moist carrot cake flavor and don't skip the cream cheese anglaise, it takes them to a whole new level.  It's not overly sweet like a frosting but it's rich and creamy and a perfect addition.

Excuse the Instagram Pic... no one wanted to wait for pictures

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year!

Carrot Cake Pancakes
Adapted from Southern Living

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated carrots

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat and add a little oil or nonstick spray.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  Separately combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.  Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined.  Don't over mix, batter should be lumpy.  Fold in carrots.  (You can also add golden raisins at this point or chopped pecans if you would like, I left out both but the original recipe included 1/2 cup of each.)

Pour approximately 1/4 cup of batter into rounds on skillet and cook until bubbles appear all around the pancake, then flip and cook until golden brown. 

Cream Cheese Anglaise

1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
4 oz cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
1/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine milk, cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch in a blender or a large bowl and use an immersion blender to process until smooth.  Heat mixture in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking regularly.  Boil for approximately one minute, whisking constantly, mixture should thicken.  Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Pour over pancakes to serve.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fresh Cranberry Cake

What's on your Thanksgiving menu this year?  I may have to go buy more cranberries so this cranberry cake can be a late addition to mine.  For the most part, I'm sticking with classic recipes this year but adding in a few new items as well.

Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole - I'm doing a cross between this recipe and a copycat Ruth's Chris Steakhouse version
Dressing with apples and cranberries

Cranberry Sauce

Classic Pumpkin Pie

If you haven't nailed down your desserts yet, I've got a new one for you to try.  This takes about 20 minutes of prep time, but with a stand mixer about half of that time is just running the mixer.  It's so simple and likely the only thing you don't already have in the pantry are fresh cranberries.  Take advantage of the cheap fresh berries in every grocery store and make this cake while they are in season.  The tart cranberries are perfect with the sweetness of the cake and the light glaze.  Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this is a great finish to Thanksgiving dinner.

Fresh Cranberry Cake

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 T orange zest
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups cranberries

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 T milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 10" springform pan or 9"x13" baking pan with baking spray and set aside.

Combine sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl.  Mix 6-8 minutes on medium speed until pale yellow and doubled in volume.  Add in butter and extracts and zest and mix two more minutes.  Add flour and cinnamon and stir until combined.  Fold in cranberries.  Transfer batter to prepared pan.  If you are baking in a springform pan, put the pan on a cookie sheet and put in the oven.  Bake approximately one hour (about 45 minutes in a 9"x13" pan).  Cool completely and remove ring from pan.

Put powdered sugar in a small bowl, add milk one tablespoon at a time, whisking until smooth.  Add vanilla and drizzle over cake.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Peach Spice Cake

So way back in August, I had a basket full of peaches fresh from the orchard that were tempting me from the counter.  I had many plans for them initially, peach cobbler, peach kolaches, peach pie, etc.  This peach spice cake wasn't on the list but as I was perusing a new cookbook that I picked up at The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, GA while we were on vacation, I found a recipe for Fresh Pear Cake that sounded delicious.  Paula Deen can generally be trusted for baked goods so I didn't hesitate for too long before deciding to make this.  But not with pears and a bit of a doctored spice mixture - mostly because I'm not really a big pear fan and I really like ginger with peaches.  I also subbed applesauce for oil because everyone knows Paula's recipes can usually stand to cut out a few calories.  Yes peach season has passed... but you could sub apples for peaches and this would be delicious as well.

Peach Spice Cake
Adapted from The Lady and Sons: Just Desserts

2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups peeled, pitted, and diced peaches

2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with baking spray or butter and flour.

Combine sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice in a large bowl.  Add the oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla and mix well.  Gently fold in peaches.  Pour mixture into pan and bake for approximately 1 - 1 1/4 hours until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool about ten minutes in the pan and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Before serving, combine cream cheese, milk and powdered sugar and whip in a mixing bowl to make a thick glaze.  Pour over the cake.  The glaze should coat a spoon but still run down the sides of the cake.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple Cranberry Bars

It's fall!  I'm so excited... I love the crisp fall air, a reason to wear boots and sweaters and apples!  Apples are everywhere these days, and we went and picked tons of them so I've been making lots of apple things lately.  I found this recipe one night while skimming through an old cookbook called Great Food Great Beer - it's actually a beer pairing book from Anheuser-Busch but it has some good recipes.  Of course, this started out as an apple pecan date bar but I didn't have any dates or pecans and decided to double the apples and increased the citrus, etc... you know some minor modifications to basically just make a completely different dessert.  The point however, is that these are absolutely delicious and take about 10 minutes to put together so go do it, you can thank me later.

Apple Cranberry Bars
Adapted from Great Food Great Beer

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
7 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
3 large apples, chopped into small pieces
1 T lime juice (you can use lemon if you prefer), plus 1 tsp zest
1/2 - 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 T milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter a 13x9" baking dish.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and egg whites, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add applesauce and vanilla.  Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.  Chop apples, you don't need to peel them but you can if you prefer.  Toss with lime juice and zest and add to batter along with the cranberries.  Stir gently to incorporate and transfer batter to prepared baking dish.

Bake about one hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  The bars will puff up in the oven but settle a bit as they cool, becoming more dense.  Cool completely.

Whisk together powdered sugar and milk to make a glaze.  Drizzle over the pan and cut into pieces.  If you can't wait until they are cool, don't worry they are perfect warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Zucchini Bread

If you planted squash in your garden this spring you probably have an abundance of zucchini right about now or if you're like me and thought about planting a garden, never got around to it, but got lucky enough to have your husband's coworker share her abundance of zucchini, go ahead and make this zucchini bread recipe.  I've sung the praises of quick breads before (Jalapeno Cheddar Bread, Pecan Streusel Topped Banana Bread, or Lemon Poppy Seed Bread) but they are so easy!  You can literally have this in the oven in 15 minutes.  Can't do that if yeast is involved!

This makes a great treat for a mid afternoon snack, a quick breakfast, or even a light dessert served plain or with a dab of butter.  It is slightly less of an indulgent with the oil replaced with unsweetened applesauce.  You could also use whole wheat flour for half of the all purpose flour to make it even healthier but I didn't have any on hand.  This recipe will make two loaves and they freeze very well so go ahead and make both even if you won't go through them in a few days. Or give one to the neighbors, or in my case, your zucchini supplier.

Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

3 cups flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini (approximately 2 small zucchini)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 8" loaf pans with baking spray.  In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  In a second mixing bowl, whisk eggs until lightly beaten, add sugar, zucchini, and applesauce.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and mix in wet ingredients all at once.  Stir just until moistened.  Add pecans and raisins to the mixture and fold in.  Divide batter evenly between pans and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for about 15 minutes, run a knife around the edges to loosen and remove from pan.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to store or freeze.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Berries and Cherries Fruit Salad

I have a hard time deciding which season is my favorite - summer or fall.  The abundant sunshine, time at the pool, beach vacations, and fresh fruit everywhere make me love summer.  But I love fall because I can wear jeans and boots, football season, the lack of humidity and 100 degree temperatures and anything with apples and cinnamon so it's a tie in my mind.  But while summer is here, I love to take advantage of all the fresh fruit that is in season.  The grocery store is full of cheap, fresh, local fruits that are delicious.  Why not use it to make a super simple, healthy side dish?  This fruit salad is the result of a Kroger sale on fresh berries last week and some gorgeous cherries that I had to buy.  It would also be good with the addition of fresh pineapple, kiwi, grapes, apples, etc.  Really anything goes, just add what you like.

This is perfect for a summer potluck or picnic too since it doesn't require refrigeration.  It's great for adults and kids, although remember that it is recommended that kids under one year of age shouldn't have honey.  My toddler absolutely loved this, but I did make sure I chopped the fruit a bit smaller than I normally would have if it was just being served to adults.

This also makes for a great dessert spooned over vanilla ice cream or with a dollop of whipped cream if you are going for a healthier option.

Berries and Cherries Fruit Salad

2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup pitted, sliced cherries
1 tsp lime zest
2 T lime juice
2 T honey

In the bottom of a medium size bowl, whisk together lime juice, zest, and honey.  Add sliced fruit and gently stir to coat with sauce.  Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to combine.  The juices from the fruit will add to the sauce as well.  Stir gently just before serving.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Blueberry Crumb Cake

My baby girl loves fruit - and sometimes she's a little bit picky when it comes to anything else.  And by a little bit picky, I mean she eats fruit and that's it lately.  So I've been trying to find more fruits that she'll eat to add some variety and also trying to come up with some variety in what I use the fruit in.  She used to eat anything you gave her, up until the past few weeks, now she turns down her former favorites, unless its fruit.

Sure we have plenty of bananas, strawberries, yogurt with fruit, cottage cheese with fruit, melon, pineapple, and applesauce, but I figure at least fruit is good for you, she could have been even more like her mama and decided the only food she would eat for several months running was French toast - yes I went through that phase when I was about the same age she is now.  The quirks of toddlers... she'll move on eventually, everyone does.  For now, I'm making things like banana bread, strawberry muffins, and this blueberry crumb cake.  And hey, it's delicious, so I recommend you try it, fruit addiction or not.

And if you have any tips on getting a picky toddler to branch out a bit or you have some great fruit suggestions, I would love them.

Blueberry Crumb Cake
Slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours

2 cups flour, plus 2 tsp for berries
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Crumb topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 T unsalted butter, cold

Coat an 8x8 baking pan or Pyrex dish with butter or baking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir to combine.  In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and lemon zest and cream on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for about one minute after each addition.  Add vanilla and lemon extracts and mix to combine.  Add 1/2 of the flour mixture, mix until just combined.  Add buttermilk and mix until combined then remaining flour mixture, mixing until incorporated.  Finally, lightly toss blueberries with remaining 2 tsp flour and fold into the batter.  Pour batter into prepared dish and smooth the top.

In a small bowl, combine sugars, flour, salt, and cinnamon for crumb topping.  Add butter and cut in with a fork, a pastry blender or your fingers until it forms a crumbly mixture.  Sprinkle liberally on top of batter and bake for approximately one hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.  Keep any leftovers covered once it's fully cooled.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hummingbird Cake

Have you ever had hummingbird cake?  Think tropical carrot cake full of pineapple and coconut.  It may sound weird but this is a quick and easy cake that will give you ridiculously good results.  This works equally well as  a quick bundt cake to serve coffee cake style or as a layer cake sandwiched with layers of cream cheese frosting, just double the recipe.

Hummingbird Cake
Adapted from Annie's Eats

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
2 ripe bananas, mashed - approximately 1 cup
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 T milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a bundt pan.

Combine flour, baking soda, powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Separately cream butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until thoroughly combined.  Add in extracts and yogurt and mix to combine.  Add 1/2 of the flour mixture, mixing on low speed until just combined.  Mix in the bananas and then follow with the remaining flour mixture.  Once combined, stir in coconut and pineapple.  Transfer to prepared pan, smooth out the top and bake about 45-55 minutes until a knife or skewer comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 20 minutes.  Cover a cooling rack with parchment paper, place on top of bundt pan and invert cake and cool completely.

For icing, whisk cream cheese until smooth, whisk in milk and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired thickness.  Stir in coconut.  Spoon over the top of the cooled cake, cut and serve.

Friday, April 20, 2012

My baby girl turned One!

Yes it was two months ago... and I'm just now getting around to sharing a few of the details.  I know, life has been a little crazy around here as we prepare for baby number 2... can't believe she'll be here in another 6 weeks or so, and try to finish up all the remodeling projects - the new nursery and master bathroom being at the top of the list.  But even in those two months, I still can't believe my baby girl is over a year old, walking, jabbering constantly and really developing quite the personality.

For Aubrey's party - we did a little bit of a circus/carnival theme - I'll admit largely due to the fact that I was slightly obsessed with the pennant flag banners that are popping up all over the place right now.  I just love them and thought they would make adorable party decor.  My sister Nikki, of Doodle Dog Advertising, made some adorable invitations for the party featuring a cute little elephant that I decided to use for the cookies too.

Photo by DoodleDog Advertising

I combined the elephants with some friendly little lions inspired by cookies that I had bookmarked quite a while ago from Bridget at Bake at 350.  I love the way they turned out, but a word of warning, don't ever try to layer your cookies with wax paper when you run out of parchment paper at 10 pm, the wax paper stuck to the frosting in several places and I had to do some minor cookie reconstructive surgery the day of the party.  My go to sugar cookie recipe can be found here.

For the cakes, I knew I wanted to make Aubrey a simple smash cake and I tied the main cake back to our circus theme with a mini-pennant banner strung from plastic carnival stripe straws.

I used a basic white cake recipe (also seen here) from Magnolia Bakery for both to keep things simple and filled and frosted them with a simple buttercream.  Sprinkles and a fun corkscrew candle were all the decoration the smash cake needed and a simple dot pattern adorned the main cake.

Finally I made a 3rd cake (2nd smash cake) for a photo shoot with Dede Holman Photography the following week so we could have some adorable pictures to document the occasion.

Photo by Dede Holman Photography

For other food at the party I stuck with some simple spins on carnival food - spicy whiskey BBQ sliders (slightly modified from Pioneer Woman - I used ground turkey instead of beef and cut out the majority of the butter and served them on Hawaiian roles), kettle corn, fruit skewers on a stick and animal crackers with a vanilla honey yogurt dip (a simple combination of vanilla yogurt, a little honey for sweetness and some lime zest), nachos with cheese dip and guacamole, mini corndogs muffins (recipe found on Iowa Girl Eats) and veggies and dip.

Traditional White Birthday Cake
Recipe slightly adapted from Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 8" baking pans baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.

Cream the butter on medium high speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Add flour in 3 parts, alternating with the milk, beating well after each addition, beginning and ending with flour. Set batter aside.

Add egg whites to a clean mixing bowl and begin beating on low speed, gradually increasing speed to high as egg whites thicken. Beat until the egg whites make soft peaks. Gently fold into cake batter, 1/3 at a time.

Bake 22-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pans for about 5 minutes, loosen the edges with a knife if necessary, and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: this recipe will make 2 2-layer 6" smash cakes or 1 3 layer 8" cake, so double the recipe if you want to make the 2-tier cake and a smash cake.  In the pictures above, the smash cakes are each built with 2 6" cakes cut in half horizontally to make 4 total thin layers and then torted with buttercream.  The 2-tier cake is done the same way with a 6" cake over an 8" cake.  I did use small wooden dowels for stability when stacking the tiers.

Buttercream Icing

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 lb powdered sugar

Beat butter in a large mixing bowl for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy, add in vanilla and cream and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Add powdered sugar in a several additions to prevent it from making a giant cloud of sugar all over your kitchen.  Mix on low speed until incorporated and increase speed gradually to medium high and whip an additional 1-2 minutes.  Icing should be thick but easily spreadable. 

Note: this will make enough icing to torte and ice at least one smash cake but you will need more to do all of the cakes above.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Caramel Praline Cheesecake

Yes I know, everyone is on a diet right now.  Oh wait, I mean "lifestyle change."  Taking a break from rich desserts, cookie jars, and cheese-filled appetizers.  Well, I'm not going to lie, we kind of are too, and I actually made this way back at Thanksgiving, I just haven't had a chance to share it with you yet.  But despite that, I'm still going to tell you to find an occasion to make this cheesecake.  A birthday, an anniversary, a special dinner for Valentine's Day, Saturday... you know, whatever works in your life.  I'm not the biggest cheesecake lover, but this one is good.  Rich and creamy and topped with a delicious caramel sauce and candied pecans... it doesn't get much better.  And go ahead, use the 1/3 less fat cream cheese if you want, I used it for two of the four packages and it turned out perfectly. 

The best part for those of you Type A dessert makers, the caramel sauce will hide any cracks that you might have.  I got lucky with this one though and it came out perfectly without a crack.

Caramel Praline Cheesecake
Adapted slightly from Taste of Home

1 package (about 10) graham crackers
1 T sugar
6 T unsalted butter, melter

4 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 cups sour cream (16 oz)
1/4 cup milk
1 T bourbon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
10-12 pecan halves

Spray a 10-inch springform pan with baking spray and place on a double layer of aluminum foil big enough to fold up around the pan.  Wrap the overhanging foil around the sides of the pan to seal it. 

In a food processor, combine the graham crackers and sugar for the crust.  Pulse 5-6 times until fine and crumbled.  Add melted butter and pulse 2-3 more times until the mix begins to hold together slightly.  Pour mix into prepared pan and press into the bottom in an even layer.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Heat a few cups of water in a tea kettle or microwave in a large measuring cup.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar for 3-5 minutes on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in flour and then eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed just until combined.  Add sour cream, milk, and vanilla and mix to combine.  Pour mixture into crust.  Place the springform pan inside another larger pan (like an 11"x13" baking pan or a 12" cake pan) and pour the hot water around the outside of the springform pan to a depth of approximately 1" to form a water bath.

Bake for about 75 minutes, until the center appears dull.  The cake should still jiggle slightly in the center.  Remove springform pan from the water bath and transfer to a wire rack.  After about 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen and continue to cool about 1 hour.  Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the topping, stir together sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar is melted.  Cook approximately 15 minutes more without stirring until golden brown.  Reduce heat to low and gradually add the heavy cream.  Cook and stir until the sugar is completely melted and smooth.  Using a candy thermometer, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until the temperature reaches 225 degrees.  Remove from the heat and add butter and vanilla.  Cool to room temperature.  Pour evenly over the cheesecake. 

In a small skillet, toast pecan halves over medium heat for a few minutes just until fragrant.  Press one pecan into each slice of the cheesecake or garnish as desired.

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