Sometimes I feel that back-to-school, means back-to-brownies. I have no idea why, but there always seems to be a reason to make brownies when you have kids at school. Fortunately I have not had a reason to do that yet – but I am ready when it happens. More on that later…
Tonight I am going to tell you what happened to me today – it has nothing to do with food, but after you read this, you might need a brownie. Today I attended an offsite for work – we had a productive meeting for most of the day, although late in the afternoon we all had a little fun – we went kayaking. It was a spectacular day – actually, very typical of September in Seattle. Warm and sunny, and perfectly wonderful. I am one of these people who carries my smart phone everywhere – as my grandmother said recently, “My son-in-law has a little black box that has all the answers” – and it does. Besides the fact, I don’t like to be away from my email for any length of time – yes, it is a problem. Well, today I ended up wearing something without any pockets, and so my cell phone ended up in the dry bag instead of with me. In addition, the ringer was turned off during the meeting – and I forgot to turn it back on when I started kayaking. We were having a wonderful time, and really taking it all in – in fact, we were the last double back to the dock. When I got to my car, I took a look at my phone, and I had a missed call from my daughter’s school…never a good sign.
There was no message, which I thought was a positive sign, but I decided to call anyway to see what was going on. After talking to a few people, I was finally able to get a straight story. My younger daughter attends a Mandarin class after school on Wednesdays – and the teacher picks her up from her classroom with a couple of other students – and they walk to a house about 1/4 mile away. I guess my daughter got separated from them outside the school, and thought they had gone ahead. In the meantime, the Mandarin teacher, who doesn’t speak english that well panicked when she didn’t see her. She immediately took the kids back to the school thinking she went to the bathroom. When she couldn’t find her, she went to the office. At this point the four other kids were freaking out too. This was when they called me. Oh my gosh, could you have imagined me picking up the phone and learning about this in the middle of a lake? I think I would have had a nervous breakdown. No joke.
Fortunately, they called the woman whose house they normally walk to – and she said her husband was home. They called him, and sure enough, my daughter had walked all the way there by herself, thinking they were already at the house. She crossed three streets by herself today, and she is six years old. Thank goodness she was OK – wow, I don’t even want to think about what could have happened. On the flip side, what an independent girl we have raised.
So, back to these brownies. I have been wanting to post these for a while, and I figured now would be a perfect time. I found this recipe in Cooking Light, but like most of the good brownie recipes I find there, you would never know. The cheesecake topping is not rich like a regular version, but it is perfect with the chocolate. I will definitely be making these again, and if I do happen to make these for a school event, there might just be a few missing…
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon matzo cake meal
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Cooking spray
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 large egg
- 3 19/50 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325°.
Place 1/4 cup sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute or until smooth. Add matzo meal, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 egg; beat just until blended.
To prepare brownies, coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray; dust with cocoa. Combine chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe dish; microwave at HIGH for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, egg whites, and 1 egg. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir the chocolate mixture into flour mixture.
Scrape half of the brownie batter into prepared pan. Dot half of cheesecake batter on top. Top with remaining brownie batter. Dot with the remaining cheesecake batter. Swirl batters using the tip of a knife. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.
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