Monday, January 23, 2012

Cheesecake Brownies with Nicole

just before baking
First, let me just say that I am not a huge brownie lover! My family loves them and loves them even more with ice cream and fudge sauce drizzled all over. They like them plain or with peanut butter cups mixed in. I am good for a bite or two. Well, when cream cheese comes into play and is mixed in with the brownie batter it's gotta be good. How can anything with cream cheese be bad? Nicole chose these from the www.foodnetwork.com site. She calls them the better brownie. They are made with low fat cream cheese, very little butter and oil, some egg whites and low-fat buttermilk. Although they have four steps in the process we had them mixed and in the oven in less than 20 minutes. They also make a nice 8x8-inch pan with 16 squares in all. We ate our lunch and patiently waited for them to cool. Took some pictures and with forks in hand gladly ate a square and shared another. They are delicious. Not too sweet, a nice tang from the cream cheese and a nice moist chocolate bottom. All we could say was Yum!! I like this brownie, like it so much, I had a piece for breakfast. My family is not a big on cream cheese so I will continue to make their favorites. I will however, be making these for friends to share over a hot beverage or just because someone needs these. I think I need to break out those recipes for brownie pie!!! Is low-fat cream cheese and buttermilk on your list this week?

I love this verse I came across while doing my Sunday School lesson-1 Thessalonians 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through & through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beth Moore mentions how our physical body can impact our soul and spirit. Poor eating habits, stress, lack of sleep and little exercise can lead to all kinds of health problems. When we do not feel well our soul and spirit can feel empty, weary, depressed and hopeless. We have little left to give anyone. Why is it that we can spend plenty of time, energy and money on our homes, gardens, clothes, hobbies etc., but give our bodies little notice? We can make healthy choices, reduce our stress, get that much needed rest and just a few minutes of exercise a day can make all the difference. Feeding your soul and spirit is important as well. For me having some quiet time alone reading God's word, praying, being thankful for all I am blessed with and spending time with family & friends give my life balance. My grandmother always said to me, "everything in balance, you can enjoy one cookie and share dessert."

Cheesecake Brownies-adapted from food network


Cheesecake Topping-
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg

Brownie Layer-
2 ounces semisweet chocolate-coarsely chopped (we used bittersweet chocolate chips)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (we used regular salt)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla


Position the rack in the lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil so that it hangs over the edge. Spray with cooking spray.

For the topping-Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy about 1 minute. Beat in the sugar and the vanilla until smooth, add the egg and blend well. Set aside.

For the brownie layer-Put the chocolate, butter and oil in a microwave safe bowl and melt for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again until smooth.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg whites and the vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated and the batter is glossy and thick. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir till well blended. Reserve 1/2 cup of this batter.

Scrape the remaining batter into the prepared pan. Pour the cheesecake mixture evenly over the top. Drop the reserved brownie batter in large dollops over the topping. Draw the handle of a wooden spoon or a knife through the two batters to create a swirl effect.

Bake until the top is just set, 40-45 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil and peel off foil. Spray a knife with cooking spray and cut into 2-inch squares.

Eat Well, Sonya