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BROOWWWNIES…..

Posted in Recipes with tags , , , , , , , on February 11, 2011 by Jessica Lada

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted something on my blog.  Since my last post, not only have I gotten married, but I also started a new job as a copy editor—yay!  I’m finally getting some use out of my education (shocking, I know). 

I’m lucky to have one of my closest friends as a coworker—we went through the equivalent of professional writing boot camp at OU, she was one of my bridesmaids, and now we work in the same office.  She also happens to be one of those super-enthusiastic types, so she’s organizing a big Valentine’s Day party at work tomorrow. 

For the past two weeks, everyone has been decorating  the office. It looks like cupid exploded on the walls—they’re all festooned with pink and red construction paper hearts.  And remember how in elementary school everyone would make a Valentine box and then you’d pass out valentines to everyone in the whole class?  Well, instead of boxes, we have white lunch bags, all decorated with pink hearts, doilies, roses, magazine cuttings of hot dudes, and girly-swirly things—all, that is, except for me.

I try to limit my baking (which stinks, because I really love baking) because there are only two of us and it’s hard to bake in small amounts.  I seized Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to pull out the whisk and mixing bowls.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved those marbled cheesecake brownies from the Great American Cookie Company in the mall.  They’re heaven. 

Here’s my recipe:

 

CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

Brownie layer:

  • 1 box fudge brownie mix* (regular size, for an 8×8” pan, not the family size box)
  • All the ingredients called for on the box (most likely ¼ cup water, ¼ cup oil, 1 egg)

 

Cheesecake layer:

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (2 8 oz. containers)
  • 24-32 oz. powdered sugar (depending on how rich you want the brownies to be)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini-morsels, or grated chocolate

 

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a 9”x13” pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking oil or nonstick spray.   Mix all of the brownie ingredients together and pour into the bottom of the pan.  Separately, mix all of the cheesecake ingredients (make sure you whisk out all of the cream cheese lumps).  Pour it on top of the brownie layer.  Pop the pan into the oven for 40-50 minutes, until the top of the cheesecake layer is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly-clean, not ooey-gooey.    

I actually ended up turning the temp down to 325° and adding about 15 minutes.  Next time I make these, I’d use the same amount of batter, but spread it into the 9×13 and an 8×8, just so the brownies are a little thinner and will bake more evenly.

Let them cool before cutting, or else they’ll gum up your knife and look messy.  (You can even chill them first.) 

Here’s my finished product:

They look impressive and taste amazing, but they’re surprisingly easy to make. Prep time only takes 15 minutes–you just mix things in two bowls and pour them into the prepared pan.

*Yes, I know that’s cheating, but brownie and cake mixes are just awesome.  They are about the only exception to the “homemade is always better” rule.   Except for yellow cake with fudge icing—Grandpa Ben’s favorite—I pretty much always use a box for cakes and brownies.  For this recipe, I used the Hershey’s kind with the package of chocolate syrup.

Valentine’s Day suggestion? Homemade Cookies

Posted in Recipes, Stuff with tags , , , on February 13, 2010 by Jessica Lada
Mmmmmcookies...

Get originality points for Valentine’s Day this year. Instead of generic chocolates, go for a different kind of edible heart attack.

I love to bake.  And I had a great reason to bake things this past year because (up until January 16th) my fiancé was living in Brooklyn, NY, about 1500 miles away from me.  NYC is an expensive place, especially for an opera singer, so every couple of weeks I’d make a big batch of cookies and send them in a USPS Flat Rate shipping box (pretty much the best way to ship things ever).

In addition to baking, I also love bacon.  It’s always on my grocery list and my fridge is never without it.  I honestly think it’s one of the greatest foods ever.  Bless the pig, for he is tasty and delicious.

My fiancé, good country boy that he is, also loves bacon.   But his roommate in Brooklyn was a vegan who very strongly discouraged any bacon in the apartment.  He said it made his clothes smell.   But as much as he hated bacon, he loved my homemade cookies.

One weekend I decided to create my own cookie recipe by combining two of my favorite things.  I took my mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe and made a few substitutions.  In place of part of the shortening, I used bacon drippings.  I added a third cup of maple syrup and some molasses.  And instead of chocolate chips, I fried a pound of bacon and crumbled it up.   (Needless to say, the bacon-hating roommate was not impressed.)  I know it sounds bizarre, but the combination of crunchy golden cookie, little salty morsels of bacon, and just a hint of maple syrup is absolutely divine.

If love was a cookie, this would be it.

I Can Has Bacon Cookiez? Recipe:

1 1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. crisco
1 Tbsp. bacon drippings
1/2 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. molasses
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb. bacon, fried crispy and crumbled
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Cream together everything but the bacon, flour, and baking powder, then gradually stir in the dry ingredients.

Globs the size of ping pong balls, squished to about 1/4″. Bake 14-16 minutes, 350 degrees. Makes 4-5 dozen.