Oh how I live for a fall cheese board!

autumn cheese board with bourbon crackling caramel and honey roasted pepitas

And this one is better than the rest because of… bourbon crackling caramel. WOW.

Yes, say it with me!

pouring bourbon crackling caramel on cheese

Oh man guys. When we shot this cheeseboard… it was just SO good.

So incredibly good.

Let’s just say that 2020 is NOT the year of the cheeseboard. Obviously. At least, not a giant mind-blowing cheeseboard. 

It has been nearly a year since I made a big entertaining cheeseboard because it’s been nearly a year since I entertained with a huge group of guests! I guess I could have made a smaller one for us, and I probably should have, but I just… didn’t.

And I couldn’t believe how much I’ve missed them. I mean, I could not stay away from this board. It was sooooo delicious. 

The combo between the salty and the sweet? Couldn’t handle it. 

autumn cheese board with bourbon crackling caramel and honey roasted pepitas

Now, before you freak over caramel and cheese, let me tell you! It’s not really any different from a wheel of brie topped with some sort of sweet jam. Or if you’ve ever made a sweet topping for brie, like a brown sugar kahlua version or something, then you’ll get it. 

The caramel on top of the salty, creamy cheese is the best combination. Then add a crunchy cracker? Sold.

autumn cheese board with bourbon crackling caramel and honey roasted pepitas

And because of the caramel, I don’t include my usual honeycomb (another staple I love on boards) or fig jam. Or any sort of sweet spread. The cracking caramel is enough!

To make it, you let sugar, water and bourbon bubble on the stovetop for 5ish minutes. I like to let it cool slightly – for just one minute or so – and then you pour it over your cheese. It slightly hardens and creates almost a crust of sorts over top of the cheese. But it’s still easy enough to slice into and twirl on your cracker.

OH MY GOSH.

autumn cheese board with bourbon crackling caramel and honey roasted pepitas

I am 99% certain I will never make a cheeseboard without this again. It is a game changer. It elevates the whole board, and I don’t even like to use that term. Especially when it comes to cheese boards because let’s be real, unless you’re eating a Lunchable, a cheeseboard is already elevated. 

But it does just that. 

For the actual board, I like to use two creamier cheeses, like a brie and a creamy goat. I also absolutely love this caramelized cheese – it’s incredible and so warming for fall. However! The wonderful part of this board (or really, any board) is that you can use whatever cheese you like. If you’d rather use a hard cheese (hello drunken goat!), that works too. As long as you love the cheese and enjoy a savory + sweet combo, it will work.

autumn cheese board with bourbon crackling caramel and honey roasted pepitas

Now for the next fun part: smoky honey roasted pepitas. Yessssss. I love them.

These pepitas come from my honeycrisp harvest salad which is one of my favorites this (and every) time of year. Roast the pepitas then let them cool and break them into clusters. You can throw them on top of the cheese or simply scatter them on the board. 

With the pepita clusters, I also skip the nuts. I almost always do a marcona almond on my cheese boards but these are divine.

Also! I made the sweet and spicy walnuts from the salad too (in the salad I use pecans, but was out, so walnuts it was!) and they added so much crunch and flavor. I don’t think you have to make both sets of nuts for a cheese board, but it sure is fun because they are GOOD. 

autumn cheese board with bourbon crackling caramel and honey roasted pepitas

Now I hope I’ve convinced you that this should be dinner tonight.

autumn cheese board with bourbon crackling caramel and honey roasted pepitas

Fall Cheese Board with Bourbon Crackling Caramel

Autumn Cheese Board with Bourbon Crackling Caramel

This fall cheeseboard is extra special, with creamy cheese drizzled in bourbon cracking caramel and topped with smoky honey roasted pepitas.
5 from 10 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1 wheel brie cheese
  • 1 wheel goat cheese
  • 1 block ski queen gjetost cheese, (this is a caramel cheese)
  • salami slices
  • baguettes and crackers
  • apple wedges
  • grapes
  • figs

smoky honey roasted pepitas

  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt

bourbon crackling caramel

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions 

  • Note: you can prepare the pepitas ahead of time. I suggest assembling the board fully and then making they caramel, as it only takes 5 minutes and you want to pour it over the cheese shortly after making.
  • Assemble the cheese board with the cheese wedges and blocks in the center, and the fruit, crackers, salami and and baguettes around the outside. Pour the slightly cooled caramel over the top of the cheese. Sprinkle with the pepitas clusters or spread them around the board.
  • Serve!

smoky honey roasted pepitas

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave the coconut oil and honey together until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir the pepitas in a large bowl with the honey mixture, salt and smoked paprika. Place them on the baking sheet and smooth them out with a spatula – you still want them clustered so you can break them apart after baking!
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and toss slightly. Let cool completely before breaking apart.

bourbon crackling caramel

  • Combine the sugar, bourbon and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Bring the sugar to a boil and reduce it until it is just bubbling. Let it bubble for 5 minutes, brushing down sides with a pastry brush if needed.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool slightly for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over the cheese wheels!

Notes

inspired by bon appetit
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autumn cheese board with bourbon crackling caramel and honey roasted pepitas

Just add a chilled glass of pinot noir.