Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip

I did not realize this dish looked like a sunflower until Faith saw the picture and said so (duh!). It would be great if you had a sunflower theme. You might do a better job of arranging the apples than I did. Of course if you want it to look like a sunflower be sure and use yellow, or mostly yellow apples like I did.

It's hard to decide what to indulge in this time of year. All the wonderful harvest foods, like fresh apples and pumpkin) have so many variations, one could never get tired of them. Or at least not while the leaves are falling.

This past weekend I scheduled an appetizer night, an event my family loves where we fill our plates with the kinds of foods we don't get to eat except on the rare occasion we serve an appetizer -- very rare, I assure you. For dessert, what's better than another appetizer style dish -- dip!

This recipe turned out so wonderful, I would be tempted to eat it every day. It wouldn't be healthy to eat every day, as I can always turned something very healthy -- a juicy, fresh apple -- into something unhealthy. This time I can blame Michelle at The Brown-Eyed Baker for turning a healthy food into a sweet treat. It took less than a week after Michelle posted this recipe for me to try it. That's just about a record. The boys liked this dessert, but not as much as Faith and I did. We hovered over the plate until our bellies hurt.

I made the recipe almost like Michelle did, except I cheated and used Smucker's Caramel Ice Cream Sauce, since I was already making several appetizers for dinner. I also omitted the Heath Bits because of Noah's nut allergy. I did sprinkle the caramel sauce with sea salt, but it may have been lost in all the other flavors. I wouldn't say it was crucial. I also used two 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, for a total of 16 oz., simply because I wasn't paying attention. I would recommend using the 16 oz because when are you ever going to use up that little chunk of cream cheese left over? I also may or may not have quadrupled the amount of caramel sauce. Hey, her first name is Caramel.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip
serves about 10 

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup powdered sugar
3 T. heavy cream
½ t. vanilla extract
1 cup caramel sauce, divided
2 T. Heath bits, divided
2 T. mini chocolate chips, divided
 fresh apples, cored and sliced (I used a mix of Jonagolds and Golden Delicious -- my Goldens were slightly tart)

 Line a 4-to-6-inch round pan or bowl with plastic wrap, using enough so that the excess hangs over the sides of the pan; set aside. I would suggest a bowl with a rounded bottom for a rounded top when you flip it.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese until light and smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat again until completely combined and smooth, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Spread half of the cream cheese mixture into the plastic wrap-lined pan, smoothing it into an even layer. Top with half of the caramel sauce, spreading it to within a ½-inch of the sides of the pan. Sprinkle with half of the Heath bits and mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and top with the remaining cream cheese mixture, spreading it in an even layer to the edges of the pan. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the top of the cream cheese. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the pan from the refrigerator, pull back the plastic wrap and invert into the center of a serving plate. Remove the remaining plastic wrap. Top with the remaining caramel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Heath bits and mini chocolate chips. Serve with apple slices. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Linda said...

Sunflower was my very 1st thought when I saw the picture! This is so pretty, you almost hate to let your apple scoop out the dip! :)

Linda said...

P.S.: I looked at BEB's dip...yours is SO much prettier!!

Kelly said...

This sounds so amazing! I love that it looks like a sunflower, too, but really it's the ingredients that have my interest. ;) I'm printing it out now. Thanks, Barbara!