Baking

Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Whenever I run low on groceries (ie real food with actual nutrients), I always manage to have just enough supplies left to bake something that goes against everything healthy I *should* eat. It might take a bit of searching and tweaking of recipes, but I always come up with something.

However, I’m now starting to run low on baking supplies.  Unbelievable right? I’m down to my last bit of flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. And I have absolutely NO MILK or chocolate. The current state of my cabinets really puts a kink in any baking desires I might have. But you know what doesn’t require much flour or any chocolate? Brownies!

I can never go wrong with my alterations to Best Cocoa Brownies from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine. And who would say no to a cheesecake mixture swirled into them? Not me, that’s for sure. While the original recipe for the Cheesecake Brownies from Buns in my Oven was still amazing when I made them a couple months ago, this combination is truly a winner.

These brownies became infinitely fudgier overnight. When I first cut into them a couple hours after they came out of the oven, they seemed cakier than I wanted. However, after sitting for the night they transformed into brownie bliss. I wouldn’t say no to more of the cream cheese mixture (perhaps I’ll swirl less next time), but other wise I’m in love, and I think my friends will be too.

While I would love if I could survive on these, it might be a good idea to drag myself away from the pan long enough to go up to Trader Joe’s so I can get some real food.

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Baking

Cheesecake!!

A friend pointed out this Vanilla Yogurt Cheesecake recipe a few weeks ago just as I was falling in love with greek yogurt, so it couldn’t have been better timing. With the use of non-fat yogurt, this is certainly a lighter variation on classic cheesecake. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of a final product, but I was happily surprised.

I’m actually not a huge fan of plain cheesecake, but I enjoyed this one. It’s usually the intense cream cheese tang that I don’t enjoy as much, but this recipe just didn’t have too much of a tang, which was surprising considering the block of cream cheese and 16 ounces of greek yogurt it had. I probably could have added more cream cheese since the overall flavor was extremely subtle.

I slightly over-baked the crust, which is seeming to become a habit of mine. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pre-made chocolate graham crust I used, so at least I know I won’t buy it again, even if it’s on sale.

The cheesecake also sank a LOT after I turned off the oven, but it actually didn’t crack like most do. I must admit I was a bit nervous about the cracking and sinking, as that always happens when I make cheesecakes, so this result wasn’t unexpected.

Overall this recipe makes an enjoyable cheesecake, but that’s only my opinion. However, those who enjoy really being able to taste the cream cheese might beg to differ. But if I make cheesecake again, it’ll probably be of the “No-Bake” variety.

Also, these strawberries are so ripe and sweet! I ended up buying three pints of them, and I’m sure they’ll be gone in a matter of days.

Baking

The Triumphant Return of Miss Homemade!

When I’m bored or stressed, I bake. It’s not just that I decide “Hey, I’m not doing anything and that sure looks like a good recipe.” No, it’s more like “OMG, I’m SO BORED/STRESSED! MUST! BAKE! YUMMY! TREATS!” I get something in my head to bake, and I can’t get rid of the need until I make it. Like during this winter break, I’ve been doing absolutely nothing, and so I want nothing more than to be able to make something, even though I already made SO much stuff last week and nothing else is needed because I’m still not off that sugar high. But the nagging feeling persists and I can’t get rid of it until I make something. For instance, last night I wanted to make pudding/mousse, but I had no heavy cream or butter, so I couldn’t. I was devastated. Well, maybe not devastated, but I was super annoyed and rather sad. So today that feeling persisted, and while I was reading one of the many baking blogs I frequent, I came upon something so simple that my parents couldn’t possibly refuse it. It was just enough like baking that it would suffice and satisfy my craving for *something*. I thought I had all the ingredients already, so I didn’t check before I started, but it turns out I didn’t. I didn’t have the most crucial thing at the most crucial time, and I thought all was lost.

This simplest of simple things I wanted to make was the No Bake Cheesecake recipe I found on Grace’s Sweet Life. I thought it couldn’t get any simpler, because I wouldn’t have to deal with baking and letting the cheesecake sit and hope it wouldn’t crack and disappoint me. I halved the recipe because I only had one package of cream cheese, and I’m glad I did because we wouldn’t have been able to finish them all if I made twelve cupcake-size ones or a whole cheesecake, so I made six cupcake-size ones, and they’re just the perfect little portions and so will be gone tomorrow.

When I got to the part that says to add the Cool Whip to the cream cheese and powdered sugar mixture, I thought all was going to be fine and dandy because I thought my father didn’t take the Cool Whip with him to my aunt’s New Year’s Eve party the night before, because who puts Cool Whip on pecan pie (which I made yesterday with a crust from scratch, but I forgot to take pictures)? But NO, he DID take it, and so I was Cool Whip-less. I somehow got my mother to go to the store for me and get it, but don’t ask me how the heck that happened, because I’m not even too sure why she agreed when I figured this would be something she wouldn’t eat, because of the Cool Whip contents. I’m not going to question it though, because she went, and I was able to finish my cheesecakes. I did have to add some cocoa powder to her’s though, because she doesn’t like plain cheesecake. I must say though, the cocoa powder addition made it pretty tasty, and slightly less tart (yes, I ate the remainder out of the little bowl I mixed her’s in).

I also made a little chocolate sauce to spoon on top of the cheesecakes, and I even stirred some into a little bit of the remaining Cool Whip for a chocolate-y addition. Yum. I just wish I had my sifter here so that I could have strained the cocoa powder and chocolate chip chunks out of the sauce so that it would have been velvety smooth.

Waiting for these minis to set in the fridge was very painful. All the while when I was playing Wii Bowling with my parents I just wanted to dive in and eat one. But the wait was well worth it. Tada!

Yeah, yeah, I know I still need to work on my presentation. Oh well. At least it looked and tasted yummy.