Right now, as I write this, I'm sitting down, feeling Hennebaby play soccer in my belly and eating a piece of heaven. All three things are equally exciting - sitting down, feeling the baby and eating heaven. In the past less than two weeks, I have taken an unfortunate trip home for my grandmother's funeral, painted a bedroom, worked 6 twelve hour shifts, relocated all the furniture in our house so that we could have our hardwood floors refinished, moved two people and a dog out for a week so that said floors could be completed, moved both people and dog back in, cleaned up after said floors, had two doctors appointments, did 5 loads of laundry, moved all the furniture back and hosted a barbeque for 20 people.
Today I'm sitting down. And enjoying Hennebaby dancing the Macarena in there.
It's wonderful. :-)
On to third exciting thing: the heaven. Brownie Cheesecake Bars. My good friend Liz celebrated her birthday yesterday, and was sweet enough to spend some of it on our deck, getting bitten by bugs and eating my husband's grilled hamburgers. I wanted to make something special for her, something creamy and delicious and decadent and not too hard, because - let's face it, this pregnant girl was tired. Since I couldn't reach my cookbooks until it was too late, buried as they were under the dining room furniture stacked in my kitchen, I turned to my handy dandy bookmarked list of desserts, where I found this gem from one of my favorite blogs, Brown Eyed Baker. How I managed to bookmark this and not make it until this weekend I'll never know.
These bars completed my life. For realsies.
Even better, if that's possible, is that you get a bonus - leftover brownie pieces to snack on! Delicious and creamy cheesecake with bonus brownies? And you thought I was exaggerating when I called this 'heaven'.
Michelle's recipe made a 10 inch cheesecake, but for an informal party like we were hosting, I decided to go with bars, which were more low maintenance to set up and serve. I lined a 9" square baking dish with parchment, assembled the cheesecake, and chilled it in the pan until I was ready to serve it. Then I lifted the whole thing out by the parchment paper and sliced them into bars. SO easy to cut - plus the pan stayed clean. And who doesn't love one less dish to deal with?
|Leaving Tower O' Cheesecake|
Whatever shape you decide on, though, you have to make these. Right now. Let them complete your life. Sit down and partake in some heaven. :-)
Brownie Cheesecake Bars
(from Brown Eyed Baker)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Time and temperature: 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes
Line a 9x13" baking dish with parchment or foil, leaving enough on the edges to lift the brownies out, and grease the foil.
In a medium bowl, microwave the butter and chocolate for 1.5-2 minutes, until the butter is melted. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla, stirring well after each addition. Add the flour and salt and whisk gently until the batter is combined and there are no lumps. Pour into the pan and bake until just done - you should get crumbs on a knife inserted in the center. Cool the brownies completely and slice into 1/2 inch pieces with a pizza cutter. You'll need a generous 2 cups of brownie pieces. Eat the rest, preferably with a large glass of milk.
1-1/2 cups finely ground chocolate cookies, like Oreos
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 packages (24 oz total) cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 generous cups brownie pieces
Time and temperature: 350 for 40-45 minutes
Line a 9" square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving enough on the edges to lift the bars out. Mix the ground cookies, 1/3 cup sugar and salt until combined. Add the melted butter, stirring until you get coarse, wet clumps. Press into the bottom of the pan and half way up the sides. Beat the cream cheese and 1 cup sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition and making sure to scrape the sides and bottom frequently. Gently fold in the brownie pieces. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the edges are set but the middle is jiggly. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Note: I refrigerated the cheesecake overnight and added the ganache in the morning. I then refrigerated the entire pan for another 4-5 hours before removing them from the pan and cutting them into bars.
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Melt the butter in the microwave and add the chocolate, stirring until the pieces are melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the cream, vanilla and powdered sugar, whisking after each addition until the mixture is smooth. Pour over the cheesecake and allow to harden before cutting.