Falling for the season October 18 2023

falling or the season halloween craft ideas

By Liz Ritchie Sherrill

We all fall wholeheartedly for what seems to be the South’s shortest season. The colors begin to subtly shift and we crave a crisp mountain day, meandering through mountain roads and only stopping to admire the views. Summer stays a bit too long, and winter arrives a bit too early. For some of you, the beloved season arrives in sudden abundance, but for us less fortunate fall fanatics, we have to encourage fall to show up in more creative ways.

The kitchen is my favorite way to stir up fall enthusiasm. If you can’t see or feel fall, you can at least taste it. There’s no shortage of recipes featuring pumpkin or caramel, but this recipe is my favorite twist on cheesecake and happens to be perfect for cozy season. I first made this for my daughter’s preschool bake sale several years ago and it was a huge hit, so I have made it for gifting and sharing ever since.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

(from delish.com)

For the crust:

  • 9 graham crackers (1 sleeve), finely crushed
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • a pinch of kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 4 8-oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt

For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • crème brûlée torch

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 8-9" springform pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt. Press into the bottom of prepared pan and up the sides.

Make filling by using a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar together until no lumps remain. Add eggs and egg yolks, then stir in vanilla and sour cream. Add flour and salt and beat until just combined. Pour mixture over the crust.

Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in aluminum foil. You will want to do this in a few layers to keep out water, but even if a little gets through the cake turns out great. Place in a large roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the cake pan, making sure it does not pass the top of the aluminum foil.

Bake until the center only slightly jiggles, approximately 90 minutes. Turn off the heat, prop open the oven door, and let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour in the oven.

Remove foil and refrigerate at least 5 hours before serving.

Just before serving, sprinkle superfine sugar generously over the top and torch for the crunchy, crème brûlée top.

Aside from summoning autumn in the kitchen, our family loves a good craft or two. Here are a few favorites we came across this season:

Pinecone Bat

  • 1 pine cone, opened or closed
  • black or brown construction paper
  • cardboard
  • X-acto knife
  • glue
  • googly eyes
  • glitter (optional)

Leaf Pumpkin

  • cardboard
  • X-acto knife
  • collected leaves and fall flowers
  • glue

Bean Ghost

  • cardboard
  • black marker
  • navy beans
  • glue
  • glitter (optional)