Brownie Cream Cheese Goodness

I know that this blog is usually about what comes out of one of my studios; fabric, fiber, or glass.  But you know what? The kitchen is the best studio of them all. I do like to consider my self a student of kitchen witchery, trying my hand at anything that looks good enough to eat.  My favorites are deserts, specifically chocolate based deserts.   It has taken me years to perfect “the perfect brownie” recipe.  In my world brownies are not cake-like, they do not sit on your plate like bricks, they are not dry and crumbly, and most important of all: they are called BROWNies for a reason!  They have to have chocolate!  Now, I am not a fan of  brownies that have hard bits of chocolate chunks in them, that is what I believe cookies are for.  But that is my own little bias, I know this.  Brownies should be moist, fudge like (at any temperature), and rich. And I don’t think it should take half the 11×17″ pan of brownies to satisfy the chocolate “goodieness” craving.  One brownie should sate your craving and leave you satisfied and contended.  Now if you WANT one more, that’s totally up to you.

brownies in the making

Now to warn you, if you are looking for a low calorie, gluten free, dairy free alternative;  just stare at my pictures… then go make yourself some “no pudge fudge” microwave brownies.  Sorry these are not for you.

Okay no more teasing.  There are two parts to these brownies, I love the addition of cream cheese.  To me, this just makes the entire dish pop.

Brownie layer:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray (for the pan only)
  • 1  cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature for easy blending
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Guiridelli Dark Chocolate powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla beans soaked in Vodka)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Take a 11×17″ pan and coat the bottom with the non-stick vegetable oil.  Set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 325* F.  Cream together the; room temperature butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla extract.  Blend thoroughly.  Create a well in the center, place the eggs and blend mixture together.  Now add the flower over the mixture and fold in until just blended. Your brownie mix will be INCREDIBLY thick.   Set aside.

Cream Cheese Layer:

  • 8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 16 ounce box powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream together the room temperature cream cheese and the powdered sugar, this is IMPORTANT, this step prevents the mixture from being lumpy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, blend until well mixed.

Assemble the brownies:

Take your pre-greased 11×17″ pan and put 2/3 the brownie mix down, you will have to press it to the sides it will be thick.  Now place the cream cheese mixture on top, all of it, spread it out almost to the edges of the first layer. Now take the remaining brownie mixture and place spoon fulls on top of the cream cheese mixture, randomly.   To get the cool swirly’s, take a thin knife and run it around the layers of brownie, swirling and dragging as you go.  You’ll figure it out.   Place in the center of oven and bake for 45 min- 1 hour.  You will need to test done-ness by inserting a wooden stick into the center and if comes out almost dry you’re done.  The cream cheese layer will turn slightly tan-brown.

IMG_20130719_194913

Chocolate Cream Cheese swirl

LET them COOL, I know this is the hard part… but at least let it cool enough, so that you can place your hand on the center of the brownie and leave it there.  Other wise when you cut it you will have a mess.

Cut and serve, (trust me your eyes will be bigger than your stomach) and enjoy.
*** If you are not a cream cheese fan, just skip that part and bake the entire brownie portion as is.  You will get a flaky top.  You can add nuts, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, cherries, what ever suits your fancy. But just know these brownies are moist and fudge like all on their own.***

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How to turn the proverbial “lemon” into Limoncello….

We have all had those time pop up in our lives.  Times where no matter how hard you try to move forward, things just keep popping up that create a backwards slide.  It’s at these times, we generally have two choices.  We can choose to wallow in our misfortune; to bemoan the fact that our car died, that our hours at work were cut, AND and unexpected trip to the doctor all popped up at the same time.  Or we can pull up our big girl panties and realize that our car will now get better gas millage, we get more time to enjoy with our children, and our family is now healthy and happy. Yes, at these times it may seem over whelming but each and every day it gets a little easier until we look back and say “what was I truly stressing about?”

Each time this happens in my life, I admit I succumb to those dark moments of grief and regret but I also realize these moments are getting shorter and less dramatic.  Age has it’s perks.

So one of the perks of learning from the past is planning the future.  I have decided to follow a dream.   Each day I take one step closer, sometimes it’s baby steps other times I feel like a Kangaroo.  At this moment and time I feel like a hibernating Zombie toad, waiting for the warm rains to stimulate some movement.   There have been alot of recent obstacles popping up that need to be overcome.  The latest in my line of “what now’s?’ is this:

Compounding patchwork... computers should not be quils.

Compounding patchwork… computers should not be quilts.

My primary work station, the one I am delicately writing this little dialogue on, has lost it’s ability to open-close-even stay upright.  It’s one of those wonderful malfunctions that can not be fixed…  The screen of my laptop completely snapped off and is no longer attached to the base… it’s a 5 year old computer and is still running like a champ.   Luckily my absolutely wonderful husband rigged up this snazzy “cast” for my computer.  A wooden base to prop the screen up, complete with a little bit of Sugru and a rubber-band to keep the screen from falling forward quickly (my poor fingers sometimes get caught).

Now my husband is a master at building computers, but pre-fab laptops were not meant to be “fixed”.  He has put together a list of the parts he needs in order to build me a fully functioning desk top, that will not only allow me to expand my photography hobby- but will also allow me to have the ability to set up my own web store front!  I AM SO EXCITED!  I have been designing my web store front in my head for years, and I finally get the chance to do it.

Here’s the hitch(es):  Hours were cut back at my full time job AND we are in the slow season for etsy sales.   Among other things…

Here’s the solution:  I have yards and yards and yards of awesome, amazing, unique, colorful, and completely-ready-to-be-made-into-custom-awesomeness fabric and supplies.  AND at the beginning of august I have 1 full week off of my full time job.  You ask, so what does this mean?  If you would like to help me make my goal of getting a new computer built for my business, by my wonderful husband of course, and stock up your swag bags for the upcoming holiday seasons at the same time, this is for you:

  1. first: contact me to discuss what you would like to have made, it can be an existing design or a custom one.
  2. select fabrics from existing stock
  3. expect your item to ship by 8/11/13
  4. RECEIVE 35% off the price.

* as an extra perk if you order an outfit including a piece made from our wonderful ruffle fabric, receive an extra 10% off that ruffle item.

All items will ship first class, unless priority shipping is cheaper.

This discount is not available for orders through etsy, unless you would like to use a credit card (prearranged custom listings only).  All orders will be done via email,  payment with a paypal invoice.  Our email is ursulaglassgoddess@gmail.com.

Please contact me today to get your order started!  And thank you for helping us reach one of our goals!!!