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    The Statement Dessert

    There you are. Your hair is piled perfectly on top of your head like a ballerina, your red lipstick is ready for smacking, and your brand new Shabby Apple Fire and Ice dress is hugging your figure in all the right places. It’s time for the annual holiday gathering at your in-laws house.

    Fire and Ice Dress - Red

    But this year is different. This year, you dutifully offered to bring dessert (because after all, even though you are the newest addition to the family, darn-it, you are now officially a part of it so dessert is the perfect way to propagate your status). Your husband casually suggests that you “just make those chocolate chip cookies that you make for him all the time...” “No no no. It’s got to be good,” you think. Like really good: looks, taste and effort all need to be represented in this dessert so they know that you put just as much care into your marriage with their son as you did this dessert. Just like your statement necklace completes your outfit, this needs to be a Statement Dessert.

    Lucky for you, you’ve got just the thing. Hello, Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake.

    Okay, don’t get scared. It really is much easier (and it tastes even better) than it sounds. And while it’ll be difficult to take the focus off of your cute new outfit, this dessert is sure to make their mouths water even after everyone is stuffed with turkey.

    Just to make sure, here’s the detailed recipe so you can be sure to get it right:

    Ingredients:

    Crust:

    1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 sheets)

    2 Tablespoons sugar

    5 Tablespoons melted butter

    Cheesecake:

    3 – 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened (I used neufchatel cheese to cut down on the fat)

    2/3 cup sugar

    4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    2 eggs

    1 cup canned pumpkin

    1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon nutmeg

    dash of ginger

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325°.

    2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix the 3 Tbls of sugar and graham cracker crumbs together. Drizzle melted butter into mixture and incorporate well.

    3. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a springform pan with a rubber spatula, the bottom of a measuring cup or with your fingers. It should be flat.

    4. Bake the crust for 10-12 min or until set.

    5. Remove crust from oven and let cool while making the cake.

    6. Increase oven temperature to 350°.

    7. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, flour and vanilla.

    8. Using hand mixer or stand mixer, beat on low until combined.

    Top: Crust | Middle: Plain Layer | Bottom: Pumpkin Layer

    9. Then add the eggs, and beat on low until combined. Try not to overbeat it.

    10. Scoop out 1 ½ cups of the mixture into a separate bowl.

    11. Add the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and stir until combined.

    12. Take the plain cream cheese batter and pour it over the crust. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula or spoon.

    13. Then pour the pumpkin batter over the plain layer, starting from the center and working your way out. Spread pumpkin layer to outer edge of the pan (it's okay if some of the plain layer comes through on the sides).

    14. Place the springform pan on a baking sheet and bake the cheesecake for 45 min, or until the outside is set and the center is almost set (slightly jiggly).

    15. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack (1-2 hrs).

    16. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 2 hours or overnight.

    17. When ready to serve, run a knife along the edges of the pan so the cheesecake is released from the sides. Then remove the outer pan form, slice and serve.

    *This recipe was adapted from lifetasteslikefood.com

    Happy Holidays!

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