Friday, December 9, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Gingersnap Crust and Salted Caramel

Ignore this cheesecake for a moment. I only put it here to grab your attention.

So, guess who's birthday it was today. *very discreetly jumps up and down waving arms like a maniac*.

Yes. Mine. I'm 19. One year closer to 21. In case you were wondering.

Truth is, I hate my birthday. One of my worst favorite days of the year.

You're probably thinking I'm an ungrateful, spoiled brat. But that's not true.

Okay, maybe it's a little true. But I really am thankful all of this. I just don't like my birthday because everyone pays attention to me ALL DAY. And they ask me questions about cakes and balloons and stuff and it just makes me nervous. So when I got to work I sighed a sigh of relief.

 "Ah. Peace. No well wishes or birthday magic here."

So imagine my chagrin when a whole troop of crazed brothers and sisters tramped into the office with a balloon, a fresh cup of coffee, a box of my favorite cookies, and a creepy, hilarious, and corny Twilight card with Edward on the front that plays music when you open it.

I was secretly happy they came.

Anyways, when I got home, Boots wanted to give me his present, but he had hidden it and couldn't find it. A few hours later he found it a bucket of ashes from the fireplace. I opened it up to find this...

Now, in case you forgot, Boots is notorious for testing out his presents before he wraps them. So apparently earlier today Mom was like, "BOOTS WHY ARE YOU WEARING MAKEUP ALL OVER YOUR FACE??"

And he was all like, "I'm NOT. I just touched Yammie's makeup a little!!"

Yeah. And then touched your face. That's how it works, dude.

I also got lot's of other cool things like a Harry Potter Snuggie, a dress, a scarf, an elvis Christmas Cd, a sock monkey hat, a koala bear head band thing, an angry birds evil pig pillow, and an uglydoll mug.

Then Piggie gave me a card that said,

"Dear Yammie, Someday in the future I see you and me as old farts, people-watching in the Wendy's parking lot, having chili and frosties at 3 in the afternoon.
That day is tomorrow.
So happy birthday old fart. I'm so glad we're friends."

I'm glad we're friends too, Piggie.

So anyways, I know you want me to shut up about my birthday and tell you about the cheesecake squares now.

And since I also happen to love talking about pumpkin cheesecake, I will oblige.

They involve salted caramel. This is a good thing.

P.S. Use good gingersnaps in the crust. Mine were store bought and a little cardboardy. Nobody else cared, but next time I'm making my own.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares

For the crust:
2 cups crushed gingersnaps
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cheesecake:
3 8-oz. blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

For the caramel:
1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 300ยบ F. 
Combine the crust ingredients. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Refrigerate.
Mix together the cream cheese, pumpkin, and sugar. Whisk for five minutes or until all the sugar is dissolved. Beat in the rest of the ingredients just until combined. Pour over crust. Bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven off, but open it and leave the cheesecake in there for 30 minutes more. Then take it out and cool it completely. Refrigerate.
For the caramel, just mix together the sugar and syrup in a small saucepan over medium high heat until it turns caramel colored and then whisk in the cream. Return to heat if you have clumps and stir until smooth. Pour on top of the cheesecake and sprinkle with sea salt.
Make sure it's been in the fridge for at least a few hours before you cut it. I use a big, sharp knife to cut it. If you want to have really nice squares, make sure you wipe and then wet the knife between each slice. A wet knife will go through more smoothly.

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