A Short Start & 2 Town Biz Report & Apple Caramel Mini-CheeseCakes

      This week is business and recipe, my son and his wife were in from Florida visiting so honestly I am still catching up with everything. So I apologize for for being a little short but I think the business report will work. I don't know how I missed noting my anniversary with CapeCodToday.com on 8-12. The thing is you know you have been doing it too long when you seriously can not remember how long you have been doing it for. I think it has been since 2007 or there abouts so I have been at this for while and for now will keep doing it as long as they will have me. I will continue to promise a recipe if nothing else, and as I get out and about will give my reviews on local business that I visit and check out. So have a great read and let them all know that you heard it from the Cape Cod Rockhopper blogger for CapeCodToday.com.

      This months business report is on two areas that I have reported on before but with Labor Day coming it they are worth the repeats and if your looking for something to do this weekend check these places out. First up is Mashpee Commons. My favorite place is the Spice Merchant. This place has every imaginable spice available and you can get them by the once and not by the pound. She has a full line of teas, flavored sugars, and salts, and a host of blends. If you are not far from the Commons and are any kind of a cook you need to check her place out. The second place is Cape Kaleidoscopes, these are hand made, hand crafted kaleidoscopes that will marvel most adults more than a kids toys, and no these are not your kiddie type kaleidoscopes. There is also a Tinder Box in the commons as well as a host of other smaller shops from galleries to clothing as well as a few bigger shops. And to wrap the commons up is a place that is to my hearts delight and has it's roots not in the Commons but in Chatham and that would be Gustare Oils and Vinegars or find them at http://www.gustareoliveoil.com. Once you get done with the Spice Merchant you need to go over to Gustares and get some oils and vinegars of all kinds. Their oils are from around the world as well as fused oils and vinegars that are specially made for them. Whether in Mashpee Commons or in Chatham you have got to stop in and check these locals out. And if you cant make it check them out on line as they will ship to just about anywhere. Just a little jaunt from the Commons is Cape Cod Roasters . Folks this is some of the best coffee either on Cape or off. They have a great rewards program in buy 6 pounds and get the 7th free. Take the time to go check them out. and enjoy some great coffee. The great thing about all these places is they are year round, so I'm not just talking to visitors and tourists here, I am talking to you locals as well. 
      The second spot to check out is all the way out to the elbow of the Cape, no other place else but Chatham. What can we say, The Candy Manor, you mean there are other places? I think not, these guys have some of the best chocolates anywhere and their Truffles, oh me oh my. Across the street is a place called Chatham Wine & Provisions, find that on facebook or at http://www.chathamwine.com. What a gem of a place with a wonderful supply and selection. If you are anywhere near and are in need for that something special for dinner or a guest check this place out, and yes they are open year round. Take a stroll down the street, and you will find yourself getting lost in each and every doorway. But my next stop is Yankee Ingenuity, this is a shop that has a little of everything and a lot of Cape Cod. You will find something in this shop for everyone from teens, to Mom to even Dad. Don't pass this gem of a shop up or you will be missing a shopping destination. Finally, but not least or last is the Chatham Cookie Company, just down right goodness in every bit, but take cash with you. Of course you will want to stop out and check the light house out and killer view of Coast Guard beach and you might even see a couple seals sunning themselves out at the channel opening. Go spend a day in Chatham and have fun just shopping from one end to another.     
      Well the time has come to tell of tails of walruses and  carpenters and oysters by the bay (just a little play on lewis Carroll's The Walrus and The Carpenter). Well, a nice plate of Wellfleet or Dennis oysters would do really nice about now, but need to get the rounds done, check the levels in the oil tanks, take a hike up the tower to the lamp room and clean the lens and trim the wick. Then down and around to make sure the boats and ors are in there appropriate places and that nothing has washed up on the shore or onto or around the dock. Then maybe we can enjoy those oysters. Well hope you have had a great time here, and hope we see you real soon again, to you locals, keep enjoying all that we have out there, sometimes we get so caught up in just surviving to live here we forget to enjoy what she has offer and we need to make time. Have a great and wonderful every day especially if you can do it right here on old Cape Cod.   
      Why I am not sure but I have a deep fascination with/for mini cheesecakes. Possibly it is because I love the idea of having a whole cake to myself, but more-so the mini-sized cakes are a perfect size to indulge in without feeling like you are overdoing it. With September just around the corner and apple season what better goes with apples than caramel. And what better hand or mini pie or cake is there than a mini-cheesecake. So as we start looking forward to the fall season, football games and tail gate parties what better yummies to have than something that combines all these together. And thus our dessert for this month, my mouth is already starting to water. Now before anyone calls me out on where I got or found this recipe, just google it, you will for recipes than you can count, many look as if they have stolen from each other. Some with graham cracker crusts, some with pie crusts and some with other things. Some have streusel toppings and some have apples on top drizzled with caramel while other do the caramel on top of the cheesecake then topped with an apple mixture. And there are multiple recipes of each kind. So I will say, I take no credit for this recipe, and since I can not confirm who it really originated from will just say drawl your own conclusion. Now before I eat these words off this page,, on with the show:
      This week's recipe: Apple Caramel Mini-CheeseCakes
      2      cups      graham cracker crumbs
      6      Tbsp      butter, melted
   1/2      tsp         cinnamon
   1/4      cup        sugar

      2      pkgs       cream cheese, softened (2 - 8 oz pkgs or 16 oz)
      2                     eggs
   1/2      cup         sugar
      1      tsp          vanilla
      Caramel apple topping:
      1      large      apple, chopped (any kind) 
      1      tbsp       butter 1 tbsp sugar 
   1/4      tsp         cinnamon 
      1      small      pinch ground cloves 
      2      tbsp        prepared caramel sauce
      Blend together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon and sugar until well combined. Line 12 regular-sized muffin tins or 24 mini-muffin tins with appropriately sized paper cupcake liners. Press 1 tsp of crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of lined mini-muffin tins, or 2 tbsp into the bottom of lined regular-sized muffin tins. Set aside.
      With a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract, mix until thoroughly combined, but don't over mix.
      Fill each muffin tin to the top with the cheesecake batter. They don’t rise much and actually sink a bit as they cool, so you can fill them fairly full without fear of overflow. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes for mini cheesecakes and 17 minutes for regular-sized ones, or until the tops are slightly cracked, but not browned. Be carefully not to over-cooking. Allow to cool.
      While the cheesecakes are baking, prepare caramel apple topping, sauté the apples, butter, cinnamon, cloves, and sugar together over low heat until apples are as soft as you prefer.
      Once cheesecakes are cooled, top each cake with 1 tsp of caramel apple mixture, or 2 tbsp for regular muffin-sized cheesecakes. Drizzle with a little bit of extra caramel sauce, as desired.

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