Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle

Hey y’all, remember me? I’m finally coming up for air after working the Utah State Fair for 11 days straight. It was so fun but totally exhausting! I got to meet so many Utah foodies that I’ve been following and made lots of new friends! I also got to be around SO MUCH amazing food everyday! The demonstrations and contests were lots of fun to be a part of and I loved doing my own demos. I ended up doing four cooking demonstrations and this Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle was one of them. I’ve been dreaming this one up for months and am more than happy with the final recipe.

Getting ready to demo my Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle at the Utah State Fair!

Even though I’m super excited for “pumpkin everything” season, right now I’m thinking about apples. I absolutely love anything caramel apple flavored. Add cheesecake and I’m obsessed! This trifle is similar to the Carrot Cake Trifle that I made back in April because it has the same cream cheese layer. This one uses spice cake instead of carrot but I doctored up the cake mix the same way by replacing the oil with applesauce and adding an extra egg. Doing this keeps the cake super moist but slightly more dense so that it holds up in the trifle better.

I have made this Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle about SIX times over the last month and I’m still not over it. It tastes like fall and I know it will make its way to your family gatherings over the next few months. It would even be amazing at Christmas!

Also, just a note, but you don’t need a fancy trifle bowl to make this. Any glass bowl will do! I was recently hired to do a cooking class for a corporate training event and needed to have a double batch of this ready beforehand. I just used a large, plastic rectangular container and it worked great! If you do want a trifle bowl like mine, I have this one.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For the cake:
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Spice Cake Mix
1 cup water
½ cup applesauce
4 eggs

For the apple layer:
4 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and diced small
¼ cup butter
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cream layer:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

1-1 ½ cups caramel sauce (I use Torani sauce in the squeeze bottle)
6-8 Biscoff cookies, crushed

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×13 pan. Add dry cake mix to medium-sized mixing bowl. Add water, applesauce, and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes. Add batter to prepared pan and bake for 27-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely. Once cool, cut cake (while in the pan) into small squares.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until apples are just starting to soften. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch with a fork or whisk. Add cornstarch to apples and stir. Add brown sugar and cinnamon then stir. Bring to a low boil, stirring often. Once thickened (about 1-2 minutes), remove from heat and cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Set in fridge until ready to use.

In a trifle bowl (or large glass bowl), layer 1/3 of the cake cubes, 1/3 of the apple filling, 1/3 of the cream, then drizzle generously with caramel sauce. Repeat two more times ending in cream. Top with crushed cookies and caramel sauce.
Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

*Notes:
1. Graham crackers can be used instead of Biscoff cookies if preferred.
2. If using a different brand of spice cake, water, egg and oil measurements may be different. Just make sure to use applesauce instead of oil an add an extra egg.

Funnel Cake Bites

I had a cooking segment this week representing the Utah State Fair and, of course, had to make everyone’s favorite fair food! If you’re new around here, I am the Culinary Supervisor for the Utah State Fair. Last year, they saw me on TV and asked me to do a cooking demonstration. The activities director kept in touch with me and then asked me several months ago if I would be their new supervisor. I thought it sounded like a fun opportunity so I agreed! I am in charge of organizing all of the cooking demonstrations and contests during the 11-day fair that runs from Sept 5-15. I will be doing two more TV segments at other stations over the next couple of weeks so be watching for more delicious fair food! Watch me make the Funnel Cake Bites here.

It’s always so much fun to cook with any of these beautiful ladies at Good Things Utah!

Now let’s talk about these Funnel Cake Bites! I love funnel cake but don’t order it often because it’s messy and hard to eat, especially walking around an event! I wanted to re-create it but in bite-sized form and love how they turned out. I couldn’t stop there, though. I needed something to dip these delicious fried bites in so I came up with three different dips. Strawberry topping is usually my go-to when ordering funnel cake so I came up with a delicious Strawberries & Cream. Of course, we needed a chocolate one so I created the Nutella Dip and oh my gosh it’s heaven! I thought Cinnamon Glaze sounded yummy and it ended up being the favorite among my kids. Honestly, I can’t pick a favorite because I loved them all! Each dip only has 3-4 ingredients so you can whip them up fast before you get started on frying.

Strawberries & Cream, Cinnamon Glaze, and Nutella Dip. They’re all my favorites!

If you watch my segment you’ll hear me talk about how I forgot my small scoop at home. I totally thought that a spoon would work just fine for dropping the batter into the oil. Nope! It ended up creating more small, fried strips instead of the balled pieces that I wanted. Definitely use a scoop because it drops the batter into the oil in one plop like you need it to! That might be the last time I ever fry food on live TV! Ha!

Funnel Cake Bites

  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

1 egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Canola oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions

In a large bowl whisk together egg, oil, butter, vanilla, milk, and sugar. Gently whisk in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until everything is combined (a few lumps is ok).
Add about 3 inches of oil to a large, deep pot and heat to 350-360 degrees.
Use a small scoop to carefully drop batter into oil. Do not crowd pan because the oil will cool down too much. Fry until golden on both sides.
Remove from oil and drain on paper towel-lined plate. Allow to cool for about 1 minute then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Cinnamon Roll Glaze Dip
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-4 tablespoons milk
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.

Strawberries and Cream Dip
½ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.

Nutella Dip
1 ½ cups Cool Whip
¾ cup Nutella
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Add more cream if needed to reach desired consistency.

One more close up of these perfect, delicious Funnel Cake Bites!

White Chocolate Cherry Blondies

Utah cherries are my favorite! We have a giant, beautiful cherry tree at my house but it didn’t do well this year. I was so sad but got excited when I saw that fresh, local cherries were on sale at Lee’s Marketplace this week. I knew that cherries would be amazing in my go-to blondie recipe and love how it turned out! My son proclaimed this my “best Lee’s recipe so far!” With the pop of red from the cherries and the white chocolate chips, they are the perfect 4th of July dessert but you don’t need a holiday for an excuse to make them!

Items on sale for July 2-July 8: cherries, butter, brown sugar, eggs, almond extract, flour

This is a sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. My posts for them are usually only posted to my Instagram but I’ll be posting them on my blog as well now. I love working with them! It gets my creative juices flowing as I think of recipes based on their weekly sale ads! Even if you aren’t local, these are still great recipes that anyone can use!

White Chocolate Cherry Blondies

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 cup butter, mostly melted and slightly cooled
2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract
2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup fresh dark cherries, pitted and cut in half

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by lightly coating with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix together the butter and brown sugar then mix in the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.

Add flour and salt then stir until everything is well combined. In a separate small bowl, toss cherries in 1 tablespoon flour until coated. Fold white chocolate chips and cherries into the batter.

Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes or until edges just start to brown and center is set. (The top will have a shiny look to it and that is ok.) Let cool completely before cutting.

Frozen Coconut Lime Pie

I’ve got another yummy dessert for y’all! I made my Frozen Coconut Lime Pie on ABC4’s Good Things Utah on Monday and had a blast. We were singing “You put the lime in the coconut…” all day! Ha! You can watch me make it here with the adorable Ali Monsen.

My mother-in-law made a version of this years ago and I fell in love! It quickly became my go-to summer dessert. One of my favorite flavor combos is coconut and lime so I started thinking of a way to incorporate coconut into the recipe. The crust! I decided to add coconut to the crust and it took this pie to another level! The coconut gets nice and toasty with the graham cracker crust in the oven. It adds the perfect amount of coconut!

The filling only has 3 ingredients! Three! Lime, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy whipping cream. This pie is incredibly easy but full of flavor. It will quickly become a favorite I promise!

Frozen Coconut Lime Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
5 limes
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare pie crust by combining graham cracker crumbs, coconut, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Stir until moistened. Pour mixture into 9-inch pie plate and firmly press into bottom and up the sides. Bake crust 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Zest limes to make 1 tablespoon of zest. Juice limes to make 1/2 cup juice. In a large bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, zest, and juice. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup of whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold cream into lime mixture. Pour filling into cooled crust. Freeze at least 3 hours or until firm.

Beat remaining 1 cup whipping cream with 1/4 cup confectioners sugar until stiff peaks form. Use to garnish individual pie servings.

On the set of ABC4’s Good Things Utah!

Root Beer Float Brownies

Need some inspiration for a Father’s Day dessert this weekend? Or just looking for a fun dessert to take to a BBQ? Look no further because these Root Beer Float Brownies are unique and delicious! I have been making them for years and have adapted them from a recipe I found on the Cookies and Cups blog.

I recently made this for my fun collaboration with Lee’s Marketplace and have gotten some comments like, “What? Chocolate and root beer?!? That sounds weird.” Trust me, the flavor combo is perfect! The root beer in the brownie batter gives them a rich, deep flavor. They turn out so thick and fudgy! The creamy root beer frosting is so ridiculously good too. Have I ever steered you wrong? Just. Trust. Me.

Because they turn out so thick, I cut them pretty small for serving. They also freeze really well! My husband is a huge root beer fan and absolutely loves these brownies! They are the perfect Father’s Day dessert and I hope you all love them as much as my family does!

Root Beer Float Brownies

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For the brownies:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 oz semi sweet chocolate
6 oz white chocolate
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
6 eggs
16 oz root beer
4 teaspoons vanilla

For the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup root beer
5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon root beer extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 pan with baking spray.
Combine flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl by whisking slightly, set aside.
Add butter, semi sweet and white chocolate to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20-30 second increments until melted then stir to combine, set aside.
Using a mixer, mix eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Slowly add chocolate mixture.
Add the flour mixture and root beer alternately to the mixer. Mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until center is just set. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, beat butter and 1 cup of sugar at a time on medium speed until combined. Mix in root beer (slowly) and extract and continue mixing until frosting is smooth.

Raspberry Cream Pie

Berry season is here! I don’t know about y’all but I’ve never been more excited for summer. We planted raspberries last summer and it looks like we are going to have tons this year! I have already started experimenting with recipes in anticipation of all of the fresh raspberries coming my way.
Recently, I was in my favorite kitchen supply store, Kitchen Kneads, and saw that they had something called Red Berry Pie Tone. I asked what it was and found out that it was a pie thickener. They said that it was better than the Danish Dessert stuff that is usually used for fresh berry pies. It was also WAY less expensive. I had to give it a try and it was a great excuse to make this delicious dessert!
Now, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t live near Kitchen Kneads so where can I get this pie tone stuff?” Well, you’re in luck because you can order it from them online! This store is such a GEM! They’ve been in business for 46 years! They have so many specialty items and it’s where I go to find unique things like Red Berry Pie Tone. You can order it here!
I adapted this recipe from one that I got from my mother-in-law, who got it from her sister, who got it from who knows where. Ha! I hope you love it because it is a family favorite in my house!

Raspberry Cream Pie

  • Servings: 16 (2 pies)
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 pie shells (9”)
¾ cup Red Berry Pie Tone
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
2 ¼ cups sugar, divided
16 oz Cool Whip, divided
3 cups fresh raspberries

Directions

Bake pie shells according to package instructions and set aside to cool.
Whisk pie tone with 1 cup water. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water and 1 ¾ cup sugar to a boil. Let boil until sugar is dissolved. Add red berry mixture and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Using an electric hand mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar for 2-3 minutes. Fold in 1 cup Cool Whip and 3 tablespoons of pie tone mixture. Spread in bottom of pie shells.
Fold raspberries into the remaining pie tone mixture then spoon on top of cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Top with remaining Cool Whip when serving.