Cheesecake Brownies

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…

Ingredients

Cheesecake:

  • 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

Brownies:

  • 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

Preparation

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.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Cheesecake Brownies

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Classic Fudge Brownies

It has been a while since I posted some good chocolate brownies, so I figured it was time.  Everyone loves brownies, and this time of year they seriously are your best friend.  There is no quicker dessert to whip up than a batch of brownies.  I do have a few quick desserts up my sleeve that I plan to post over the next couple of week, that are not brownies, but for the most part brownies are the go-to dessert when you need to make something quick, that everyone will love.

This time of year I always end up over-extending myself.  I always think I can do more than I can actually do.  With family coming into town, and Thanksgiving around the corner, I have decided to be ultra-organized this year.  I have every meal planned out – including dessert – and when I am going to make everything.  Most people think this is the way I am all the time – but surprisingly I am not.  Here it goes…I am not a procrastinater, but I do everything at the last moment – as we call it at work, “just in time.”  I am seldom early for anything, because I don’t like to waste a minute of time.  I try to cram things into every bit of spare time I have during the day.  It is a problem, yes, I admit it – and I am slowly realizing that I cannot keep this up.  So, let’s see how I do as the ultra-organized host this year.  As long as I don’t cram things in that are not planned, I think I will be fine..we shall see how it goes.

I found this recipe in Cooking Light, and after adapting it to my families preferences, I gave it a try.  Boy were these terrific.  They were super fudgy with a deep chocolate flavor, and there is no way you would ever know that this was a light recipe.  The best part was how easy they were.  Serve these with some vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce, and you have an amazing dessert that your guests will rave about.  Give yourself a break this week…without sacrificing on anything, even calories!

Ingredients

  • 3 19/50 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks, divided
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate and milk in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir in butter, vanilla, and eggs. Add milk mixture and 1/2 cup chocolate; stir to combine.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch square metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 19 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in the pan on a rack. Cut into squares.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Classic Fudge Brownies

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