my all-time favorite thing to eat

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Once upon a time, I promised to make my favorite dessert of all time: Apple Pie Cheesecake. This is my most very favorite thing to eat, but usually only make it for parties since I know I will eat the whole thing if left unsupervised. That situation is horrific for my waistline so I have to wait until there are people around to judge me for the amount of cheesecake I ate. My impending muffin-top doesn’t motivate me to eat less, but fear of judgement and condemnation from friends? You betcha. “Did she really just eat that ENTIRE cheesecake?!” “OMG” “What a cow.” “Does she know it’s almost bikini season?!” This is what friends are for. I love that commercial where the guy hires three middle-school girls to follow him around as a weight-loss plan. Best idea ever – I would totally do that.

Anyway, there was a party. I somehow got tasked with food prep, for which I was actually thankful. Husband has been gone and, apparently, when left to my own devices, I am quite horrendous at survival. I think I wore the same pair of sweatpants every day and ate casserole for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From the pan. Also, I ate cookies in bed while watching a Sex and the City marathon. On one hand, this is awesome because I got to do all of the things I can’t do when Husband is home, but on the other, it’s pretty pathetic. So when the opportunity came to get my sweatpants-clad butt off of the couch and into the kitchen, I jumped at the chance. I made meatballs (frozen meatballs + grape jelly + cocktail sauce + crockpot = awesome), guacamole (standard party faire), gluten-free sausage balls (sausage + gluten-free baking mix + cheese = addicting), and CHEESECAKE (which is the entire reason for this post.)

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Husband when left to his own devices…

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and me…

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gluten-free apple pie cheesecake

makes 1 big cheesecake or 24 cupcake-sized ones
crust:
1 1/4 C almond flour
1/2 C crushed pecans
5 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

filling:
4 pkgs 1/3-fat cream cheese, softened. (this is the best kind. full-fat is guilt inducing and fat-free is just wrong.)
1 C white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice

topping:
4 C apples, peeled and thinly sliced. This works out to about 5-6 medium-sized apples. Personally, I like thinner slices better, but chunks will work just as well.
1/4 C white sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon (or less – I just love cinnamon)
crushed pecans

1. Thoroughly mix all crust ingredients together and press into spring-form pan or muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden.
2. Blend filling ingredients until smooth and creamy.
3. Microwave apple slices until soft. This takes about 3 minutes in my microwave. Drain water and pat dry.
4. Toss apples with sugar and cinnamon until coated.
5. Pour filling on top of baked crust, then top with apples. I always pour the extra syrup from the apples on top because, let’s face it, that’s the best part. Sprinkle crushed pecans on top.
6. Bake in a water bath at 350°. 35 minutes for muffin pan, 50-60 minutes for springform pan. When done, turn off oven but don’t remove cheesecake. The secret to cheesecake, or so I’ve been told, is to cool it gradually. Leave in oven for 15 minutes, then move to counter, then to fridge to chill completely.
7. Serve chilled and say, “It’s just a little something I whipped up” when everyone compares you to Martha Stewart.

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