CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

Hello Lovely,

Do you love brownies? Do you love cheesecake? Well, today I have combined the two to create these delicious Cheesecake Brownies! A thick and fudgy brownie layer topped with a creamy, swirled layer of cheesecake... Absolutely divine! I never get good photos of my brownies. I don't know why. But I also don't make brownies very often.

I made these brownies on Saturday before finding out that my step-dad Mike had died. I was hoping to surprise him with them because he always loved when I baked, and even though he hadn't been eating much, he still ate whatever I gave him. The last thing he ate from me was a bowl of chocolate and peanut butter oats. I'll share that recipe the next time I make it. So I'd like to dedicate this recipe to him.

I know you're super busy this holiday season. So this recipe is another quick and easy one to throw together. Simply make the brownie batter in one bowl,using your favourite store brownie mix, and the cheesecake batter in another, bake the brownies until almost done, top with the cheesecake, swirl some brownie batter into it, and bake again. Cool to room temperature, and then serve. Done!

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CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

  • Betty Crocker Brownie Mix
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows 

FOR THE CHEESECAKE

  • 1 cup full fat cream cheese 500g, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 100g
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE BROWNIES

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8" baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the brownie mix. I make mine healthier by using applesauce instead of oil. I also substituted coffee for the 2 tablespoons of water recommended for a caffeine boost. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the marshmallows into the brownie mix.

FOR THE CHEESECAKE

  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Beat in the egg, then fold in the vanilla extract.

  2. Pour the mixture over the brownie layer and spread out evenly. Using a toothpick or knife, create swirls.

  3. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into bars, and serve.

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Strawberry Cheesecake Trifles

Hello Lovely,

Valentine’s Day is coming up next week and it tends to be very chocolate heavy in terms of desserts/gifts. So I wanted to do a nice, simple dessert that wasn’t chocolate but still had Valentine’s vibes. I had some leftover strawberry cheesecake filling from the Cheesecake Brownies (see newsletter for recipe) so after randomly browsing Pinterest for some inspiration, I decided to go the easy route and make trifles. I've made it before with raspberry cocoa so I felt pretty confident. Trifles are so easy to make, you just have to know how to layer.

You can go the easy route with a boxed cake, but that would've yielded too much for me. I only wanted to make 3 trifles and the goblets were only so big, so I made my cake portion from scratch. In hindsight, I should've realised that I was making too much batter, but hey, better to have more than not enough, right? I'll still share the recipe using the boxed cake if you want to make this for a large crowd.

If you're only trying to make a little, all you'll need is about 1.5 cups of flour, 3/4 cup milk, 1 egg, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder and soda, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Grease a 9 x 9 pan, bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. That's what I did. For everyone else, your recipe is as follows.

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifles
Makes 6-8, depending on dish size

1 box white cake mix with all the ingredients to make it
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1.2 oz bag freeze-dried strawberries, diced finely
2 cups heavy cream

Make the cake batter according to the instructions on the box then bake on a parchment lined half sheet pan (18×13″). Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the top and bake for 15-18 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake sit in the pan for 20 minutes then use the parchment paper to lift it out of the pan and set aside to cool completely.

Once the cake is cooled and you’re ready to assemble, make the ‘cheesecake’ by beating together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and ground up freeze-dried strawberries in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Scrape up the bottom and sides of the bowl then add 1/2 cup cream to whisk it all together so you lighten up the cream cheese for about 30 seconds. Once that’s happened, add the rest of the cream and beat on medium high speed until the mixture has thickened and is light and fluffy. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag.

To assemble, figure out how big the cake needs to be to fit snugly in the serving dish and cut out rounds from the cooled cake. Place a cake layer in the dish, pipe out an almost even layer of the ‘cheesecake’ then repeat with another layer of cake and ‘cheesecake’. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 hours if not serving right away.

I didn't personally eat any of these because of my new diet, but my mum loved them! I intentionally dialed back on the sugar because while she enjoys dessert, she doesn't like anything that's overly sweet. And having a diabetic step-dad means that I have to watch the sugar content on everything I make. If you want the recipe for the Cheesecake Brownies I mentioned earlier, just hit that subscribe button below!

For more ideas on V-Day ideas, check out these faves below!

Who do you plan on making these for this Valentine's Day? P.S. This would be the perfect treat to serve at your "Galentine's party" with friends!

Oreo Cupcakes

Hello Lovely,

On Friday we celebrated the vice principal’s birthday with a surprise birthday party in the office because it’s her first birthday with us as vice principal. She was so surprised she almost cried! I made her a birthday card and got it signed by all of the teachers, and these AMAZING cupcakes! I really outdid myself on this one! Sure they take some time to make (especially when you’re operating out of a toaster oven, so you have to use a mini cupcake pan because the regular cupcake pan is too big to fit and you made enough batter for 16 cupcakes) but they’re totally worth it!

I’m so mad that I forgot my camera that morning so I had to take all of the photos with my cell phone and believe me, I am not cell phone photographer! Something as simple as getting the right angle confuses me but I did my best to show you guys how good and tasty these cupcakes are!

Oh, they are SO good.  What makes them extra good is the “frosting.”  It is less like frosting and more like a fluffy cheesecake. I surprised myself by making this frosting because it’s something I’ve never been good at! But to see it turn out so well (for the most part) gave me an extra confidence boost! I just knew she was going to like them!

OREO CUPCAKES

For the cupcake

·        1 1/3 cups self-rising flour

·        ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

·        3 tablespoons applesauce

·        1 cup white sugar

·        2 eggs

·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·        1 cup milk

For the frosting

·        1 package of cream cheese, 8oz. at room temp.

·        1 cups powder sugar

·        1 Tbsp vanilla

·        1 container of Cool Whip, 8oz. thawed

 

Directions

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, and cocoa. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.

3. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

4. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.

5. Beat the cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy.  Slowly add in the sugar while continuing to mix the cream cheese mixture.

6. On a low speed, add in the cool whip.

7. You may need to allow the frosting to set up in the refrigerator while the cupcakes continue to cool.  Make sure the cupcake are all the way cool before adding frosting.

8. Put your frosting in a pastry bag.

9. Stick the point of the pastry bag into the cupcake and squeeze a little frosting into the centre.  You will see the cupcake puff up.

10. Then frost the cupcakes like normal and sprinkle with crushed Oreo.

11. If you’d like, stick a piece of leftover Oreo in the frosting, for a little flair and extra cookie goodness.

TIP: Consume these almost immediately! I personally hate hard frosting. I like a soft, creamy frosting. But if you leave this at room temperature for too long, it'll melt and you won't be able to enjoy it, and if you put it in the fridge, well then, you'll just have a cold cupcake. And that's not fun!

What’s your perfect cupcake recipe? Will you try this at your next celebration? I sure hope so! Let me know in the comments section below!