I only notice that type of thing because I'm totally nuts.
For example - Valentine's Day rolls in and in the midst of a dark, bleak Winter, our eyes are filled with foods and treats in all shades of red.
When the spring rolls around, there are tons of bright, spring inspired treats, salads, ice creams, etc. as everyone sheds the dark and cold of Winter and lets go of their soups, stews, and comfort food.
When there's a National "insert whatever food here" Day, there are a zillion pictures of that particular food. Oh - did you know there's pretty much a National "insert whatever food here" Day almost every day? It's true - you should Google it.
After reading this of course.
And after Summer comes to a close, and Fall draws us closer to Winter - and Thanksgiving and Christmas - we are tempted by pumpkin-flavoured treats, breads, and entrees of all different kinds.
For myself in particular, I'm not the biggest fan of pumpkin-inspired food things. Although you should know that I practically beg my Mom to make me Pumpkin Squares every year.... But that seems to be the only "pumpkiny" thing I like.
For this little blog, I wondered what I could do to usher in a new Winter. Although I'm hoping it will stay away a while longer - I think it's bound to be a whopper again this year.
Maple flavoured things seemed to be right up my alley. Aside from citrusy flavours - maple is another flavour favourite that wins my heart every time.
And it's only fitting that it would work out that way - since I'm a born and bred Canadian girl.
There's no better maple syrup than that of the maple trees from Canada.
I came across Lauren's blog, Lauren's Latest, recently - she's a Canadian girl now living in the States and she talked about one Christmas when she delighted in receiving two big bottles of Canadian maple syrup in her stocking.... It never occurred to me that true and delicious maple syrup would be so hard to find in the States - given that it is so accessible to us here in Canada. Aside from Vermont - those guys have it MADE.
Kind of how I want to go pick up some Biscoff spread, but I can't get it here in Canada. I have to wrangle someone who's going to the States to bring some back for me......
I might be the strangest person I know.
Anyway - I wanted desperately to kick off Fall Maple Mania with Lauren's Maple Mousse Cheesecake Tarts. Lauren made them look so light and fluffy that they were probably completely sinful.
And I'm okay with that.
So, here's the official start to Fall Maple Mania. You're welcome.
Let's kick things off with the base.
What you see above this line of text is the SECOND box of maple sandwich cookies that I bought. I mistakenly bought a generic brand of cookies originally. I thought "how bad could they be?". Opened the box and was bitterly disappointed. So I went and bought more.
Crush up 8 maple sandwich cookies in the food processor until they are finely crumbed.
Then melt some butter. Carefully. This butter actually exploded in my microwave.
It was fun to clean up.
Then mix the cookie crumbs and butter until all the crumbs are moistened.
Press into the bottom of four 4-inch tart pans.
And put them in the fridge.
Then make the filling.
First, whip up the whipping cream until soft peaks form and set aside.
Then, in the bowl of stand mixer, beat the cream cheese just a little.
Then add the maple syrup.
Then the sugar.
Then the sour cream.
Then vanilla and maple extract.
And beat together until well combined and smooth.
This. Is not smooth.
The picture isn't very good because I was totally busy having a complete meltdown because it was lumpy.
The only reason I can think that this happened is because I didn't take out the sour cream early enough and because the sour cream was cold it seized up the cream cheese and became lumpy.
So I left it for - um - about 40 minutes. Just sitting there. And the whole time I gave it the evil eye and willed it to fix itself.
Then I tried beating it into submissionly creaminess, but to no avail.
Then I passed it through a fine mesh sieve and that seemed to work well enough. But it was still lumpy.
It doesn't look too bad here - but believe me - it's lumpy.
So, I hung my head in defeat. It was too late to start over - these things HAD to get in the fridge if they'd be ready for dessert that night - and I carried on.
Remember the whipping cream that got whipped up earlier? That gets folded into the cream cheese mixture - by hand so it doesn't deflate.
I was a little worried about this one because I seem to have a heavy hand.
Once all the whipped cream is combined with the cream cheese mixture, divide the filling between the four tart shells. Smooth and make pretty.
SEE! *bawl* Lumpy!!!!
I braced myself to be embarrassed, and put the tarts in the fridge. Lauren recommends 1 to 2 hours or longer.
After dinner was finished (which was the Dorito Chicken by the way!), I scurried over to the fridge and pulled the tarts out, and topped them with walnuts.
I then shame-facedly told Dee and Nate that I apologize many times over - but the filling is lumpy. *sniff*
They each took a bite and said "What? They're not lumpy. They're AWESOME!"
To which I responded "Liars, don't save my feelings - be honest. I messed up." Well, maybe it wasn't exactly that - but it was along those lines.
I followed suit and tentatively took a bite.
You know what?
They didn't lie. Something MAGICAL happened in my fridge!!!
The tart was creamy and sweet. The maple flavour was there, but more prominent as an aftertaste. I know that sounds weird, but it's true. And the best part - NO. LUMPS!
These tarts were so wonderful - it was a perfect way to kick off Fall Maple Mania!
This is the Cane girl, surrounded by yellow and gold - signing off.
Maple Mousse Cheesecake Tarts
8 maple sandwich cookies
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple flavouring
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
chopped walnuts, for garnish
- In the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment, process the maple sandwich cookies until crumbs.
- Place the crumbs in a bowl with the melted butter and stir until all the crumbs are moistened.
- Press into 4 greased 4-inch tart pans and put in the fridge.
- Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for about 1 minute, then add the maple syrup, vanilla, maple flavouring, sugar, and sour cream and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Fold in the whipped cream by hand and divide the mixture amongst the chilled cookie shells.
- Refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours to set.
- Remove from the tart pans, top with walnuts and serve cold.