The Thanksgiving Mystery of 2014

I love cooking and there’s no time more acceptable to make an inordinate amount of food than on Thanksgiving. I love planning the menu, buying the ingredients, and then spending hours upon hours in the kitchen, making it all come to life. However, with this type of extravagance comes a high price tag. Since I am now on a budget, I had to limit my baking indulgences this season to only two dishes. I was invited to my friend’s Thanksgiving dinner and assigned to bring cheesecake and an appetizer.

Cheesecake isn’t my favorite dessert in the world, but I figured I would make the best of the situation and make an extremely unique version. If you shop at Trader Joe’s, you’ve undoubtably seen the infamous Cookie Butter on the shelves. It is a jar similar to peanut butter, but made out of speculoos (aka a mild cinnamon gingerbread) cookie. It is so decadent and I could eat it by the spoonful of given the chance. I decided to make a “Cookie Butter Cheesecake” as an alternative to traditional pumpkin pie and other chocolate desserts. They turned out delicious – click on the picture below for the recipe!

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I spent a small fortune on the expensive cookie butter itself and the whole speculoos cookies needed to make the crust. Not to mention, six entire boxes of cream cheese! I thought an actual cake would be hard to transport, so I used this recipe and made cheesecake bars.

I woke up early to get started on my cheesecake (and cranberry/goat cheese dip!) and spent hours beating the cream cheese to a smooth consistency. I realized I was one box of cream cheese short, so I had to run to the store in the middle of the day! However, it all came together and I headed over to my friend’s house around 3. Below is a photo of the beautiful pattern before it baked!

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Dinner was spectacular. We had all the fixings – turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing. They even made brussel sprouts with bacon! There was copious amounts of alcohol and a good time was had by all. The star of the show was my friend Molly’s pecan bars. I’m not a huge fan of pecans, but these buttery squares were so delicious!

When it came time to set out the dessert platter, I went to get my cheesecake from the fridge where the hostess put it. After searching around unsuccessfully, I asked her where she put it and she had no clue. I looked in the basement kitchen and outside in the beer coolers. No cheesecake could be found! I had cut it up into bars and placed it in a 9 x 13 Tupperware. After searching, I found the empty Tupperware freshly washed in the basement, but the contents were still missing. No one knew where my cheesecake went!

We left, still never knowing the cheesecake’s fate. I told all of my coworkers the story and they thought it was so amusing. We came to the conclusion that the only plausible explanations were that someone dropped it and tried to hide the evidence…. Or someone ate it ALL.

A couple days later, I got a text from my friend saying that the hostess had solved the mystery! Her boyfriend had been putting together the bacon and brussel sprout side dish and, in his non-sober state of mind, thought my brown and white cheesecake bars were slabs of bacon, so he cut them up and sprinkled them all over the brussel sprouts. I didn’t try the brussel sprouts, but my friends all said they were delicious. I guess I am happy my contribution was eaten and not wasted, but I can’t help but feel a little irritated that my hard work didn’t get to shine!

Oh well, what’s a holiday without a few mishaps?

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