Monday, October 5, 2009

Our Favorite Brownies

I was very tempted recently to try a new recipe on Smitten Kitchen, one of my most favorite foodie websites.

Oh baby! These are the most wonderful brownies I have ever made at home -- and I did it from scratch! I've tried cream cheese brownies before, but sometimes the brownie part leaves something to be desired. By melting chocolate chips with the butter, it makes a better starting point than using cocoa in my mind. Plus, I always have semi-sweet chocolate chips around, but I often run out of cocoa.

I changed the recipe from Smitten Kitchen a bit. I'm pretty cheap, so I use chocolate chips instead of bakers chocolate. Either will probably work, but this is easier for me.
Oh, and did I mention that I whipped these up in less than five minutes, used the same bowl for both batters and had them baked so fast I hadn't even finished licking the bowl clean? My family didn't even bother with plates. They are really that good.
Cheesecake Marbled Brownies

Brownie batter
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 oz cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
3. Melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave -- about 30-45 seconds was all it took. Combine well.
4. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined.
5. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.
6. Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.
7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl.
8. Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: Makes 16 2-inch square, thick brownies

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bithday Invitations

My daughter's birthday is coming quick! I needed to make invitations today, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I used Photoshop Elements and some clip art to create the following images:
I'll print them on blank 5X7 cards that I had on hand. Woohoo! Free birthday invites!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pizza Party Night

We recently had a family over for a Friday night pizza party. I made the pizza crusts and did the pre-bake before everyone arrived. The crusts had time to cool before we put all the toppings on -- I think this was one of the key factors to the perfect crust that we enjoyed that night. But, the best part was that I realized as I was assembling all the pizza toppings that they were all salad toppings as well. Everyone was able to make their own salad and their own pizza to fit their personal taste. All the guests were happy, and it was a pretty easy event to make happen! I was very happy! I highly recommend doing this for a family get-together or a dinner party. I think the adults were the most pleased.
The pizza crust I used was from King Arthur, and the toppings I put out were tomatoes, green peppers, onions, olives, mushrooms, pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, pineapple, several different kinds of cheese and lettuce. We had a few salad dressings to choose from and Prego traditional sauce for the pizzas.