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Mix It Up With Jenny - Tradition with a Twist

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Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake

(Family Features) - Have you ever tried out a new dish during a holiday meal only to be met with comments like, "This is good, but I was looking forward to the usual stuffing," or "Where's the corn pudding we always have?"

Some dishes are such a part of family tradition that they simply must be made or the holiday just isn't the same. Like pumpkin pie. Don't get me wrong - I love pumpkin pie! And I will always make one. But sometimes I get the itch to mix things up a little bit and bring some new version to the table. And this year, I have just the thing. In addition to the family's favorite pumpkin pie, I'm going to make a Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake.

Not only will they get the traditional - and yummy - taste of pumpkin, but they'll get it combined with little bits of toffee and a scrumptious caramel topping. This cheesecake is perfect throughout the holiday season - and I'm hoping it will become a new tradition that everyone asks for!

How To Video: Avoiding Cracks in Cheesecake

Here are some tips to help your cheesecake turn out just right:

  • For optimal blending, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.

  • Spray the bottom and sides of your springform pan with nonstick cooking spray before adding the crumb crust. If you want to remove the cheesecake from the base for serving, cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit.

  • To get pretty slices, use a large, sharp chef's knife. Slice by cutting it straight through to the bottom - don't use a sawing motion. Rinse the knife off in hot water, dry, then cut another slice. Another great cutting idea - use unwaxed dental floss. Hold the ends of a long piece in both hands, then bring the floss straight down through the cheesecake.

You'll find more pumpkin dessert and pie recipes - and a helpful cheesecake video - at www.VeryBestBaking.com 

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.

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Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake

  • 1 3/4 cups (about 14 to 16) shortbread cookies, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup (1 5-fluid ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (about 25 to 30) crushed toffee candies
  • 1 container (8 ounces) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Caramel ice cream topping (optional)

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
    2. For Crust: COMBINE cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom and 1-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.
    3. BAKE for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
    4. For Cheesecake: BEAT cream cheese and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, cornstarch and cinnamon; beat well. Pour into crust.
    5. BAKE for 60 to 65 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Remove from oven; top with toffee candy pieces.
    6. For Topping: COMBINE sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well. Spread over warm cheesecake.
    7. BAKE for 8 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan. Drizzle with caramel topping before serving.

Makes 16 servings
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SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.

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