Today is extra special because I get to share a card that serves an especially lovely purpose. The challenge this week at Whimsical Wednesday is basically to be a blessing to a sweet boy fighting health issues. Angelo is only fifteen months old, underwent brain surgery last week, and is now (or soon) beginning chemotherapy. He is the grandson of fellow crafter Margie at Bella Bug Creations. Stephanie of WW and the design team made lovely cards to ship to this angelic child and we all have the opportunity to join them. I encourage everyone to skip on over to Whimsical Wednesday to participate in this challenge. And of course to keep this little guy and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. :o)
For much of yesterday, I couldn't stop thinking about this card. I originally was going to make it later in the weekend to step aside from crafting for a day... my patriotic card wiped me out Thursday. But I just could not let it go. We know what that means, right crafters? Set aside whatever the scheduled plan is and do what's on your heart instead. I wanted to create a card that was playful and happy, with a few different elements for his gorgeous eyes to wander over. I didn't plan on it being such a limited color scheme.. it just happened that way. I hope he loves it and pray it's a blessing to his family.
"Shipping you lots of love...
"... to lift you up." I couldn't resist decorating the inside so he could see it a little if it's standing up near him... guess I'll be writing on the left side instead! ;)
I added bubbles to the water with Glossy Accents for some fun texture. A drop was added to the seal's paw because he just couldn't resist dipping it in. Just like our precious Angelo will be doing as he grows stronger every day... soon he'll be getting into all sorts of fun mischief. :o) I used twine for the balloon strings and on the sailboat because I'm crazy about twine and love finding ways to incorporate it. I don't have a cartridge that has a sailboat, so I looked up one online and drew it. I think this is the one from Life's a Beach. I embossed and Stickled the clouds for some extra sparkly fun, and ran the interior heart balloons through the Cuttlebug as well. Elegant Edges provided me the perfect base, as it always reminds me of bubbles. :o) Let's keep this beautiful family in our hearts!
Whimsical Wednesday (Special Get Well Wishes)
Now it's time to share my absolute favorite dessert of all time... and it's not even chocolate. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie. Yes, you read that correctly.
It's both apple pie and cheesecake, wrapped up into one glorious dessert. This is devoured in lightning speed every single time I make it. Only once was I ever able to snap a couple pictures on time. My boyfriend's coworkers eternally love me for it. His brother ate three pieces on Christmas. My family didn't realize I made it myself the first time... my dad thought it was from some fancy bakery. This is now a staple for every holiday feast, and any regular day in between that needs something incredible. :o)
I urge you not to let the length deter you. It goes quicker than you might think. For convenience sake, I almost always make everything except the freshly-whipped topping the night before serving. Either way, just make it. ;)
Thank you for visiting me today! You all make my heart sparklier than a Christmas tree. :o)
Note: I am sharing the original recipe, which includes a layer of caramel on top of the crust. I personally no longer make it this way because I've had issues with the caramel severely hardening the crust. Others have had the same issue, whether using homemade caramel or store bought. (I used homemade.) I'm writing it this way so you have the option. I just add more caramel on top to make up for it. ;)
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
For the crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5⅓ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ - ¾ cup caramel
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
For the apple filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
For the cheesecake:
8 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the topping:
¾ cup heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
¼ - ½ cup caramel
Chopped pecans (optional)
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375º F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened and the ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan and press the crumbs in an even layer over the bottom and about half to two-thirds of the way up the sides. (I recommend doing the sides first.) Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Let cool for about 10 minutes. If using, pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling. Mix in the apple slices and toss well to coat. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until tender and most of the liquid has been reduced, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into the prepared pie shell. Set aside.
Reduce the heat of the oven to 350º F. To make the cheesecake layer, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla, egg, and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (being careful not to overbeat). Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer. Top with dollops of caramel sauce and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans, if desired. Slice with a long, thin knife to serve.
Source: Annie's Eats
Key Recipe Components (for card):
* Cricut cartridges: Create a Critter and Elegant Edges
* Cuttlebug embossing folders: D'vine Swirl and Polka Dots
* Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV, Papertrey Ink, miscellaneous
* Button: My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie
* Twine: Sew Easy in Limeade and Blue Lagoon
* Brads: Prima
* Miscellaneous: Glossy Accents