I always like to have every palate covered at the dessert table. What this means is I need something for everyone. But I am in Spring mode, and fudgy chocolate brownies just seem so winter to me.
I had to find a way to incorporate the chocolate favorite, but add something springy and fresh to it. Raspberries. I think I should rename these brownies-The Best of Both Worlds Brownies. Because that is exactly what they are, rich chocolate fudge brownies swirled with light and fresh raspberry cheesecake.
This past weekend I made these brownies for a party. They were a huge hit! Make these for your weekend brunch to satisfy those chocolate lovers!
Chocolate Fudge Brownies
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl
- 3/4 cup or 6 oz of cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9×11 baking dish.
For the brownie layer:
Melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave on high for 1 minutes. Remove and stir together. If the choc/butter mixture is not completely melted, put back in microwave for 30 sec. Add eggs and sugar and whisk together. Add the flour salt and milk, and whisk together to mix. Pour into baking dish.
For the cheesecake layer:
In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Mixing on low, add raspberries and mix until just combined.
Drop dollops of the cheesecake batter of the all over the brownie mixture and swirl with the tip of a knife. Bake for 30 min or until a knife comes out clean.
I have been testing recipes for my Easter Day brunch all week. I will be cooking for about 45 family members, which are my harshest critics. There are a few people with aspirations of writing a cook book in the family, me being one of them. Needless to say, we are all a bit competitive, even though I know that I am the best cook of them all
So this is why I am testing recipes now. Each dish has to be perfectly balanced and executed. A lot of pressure right?!?! I think my real challenge will be with the lamb. I have to make it better than my uncle’s perfectly grilled lamb last year!
Anyway, this Croissant Bread Pudding certainly made the cut. It is sweet from the vanilla bean, buttery from the croissants, and creamy from the creme anglaise. I prefer a dense bread pudding rather than a mushy one. These cut perfectly into dense little squares. Serve with fresh berries and whipped cream for a stunning addition to your brunch or dessert table.
Croissant Bread Pudding
- 12 croissants
- 2 whole eggs
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
In a heavy bottomed pot, bring whipping cream and milk to a simmer.
Beat eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt until light and fluffy.
When milk/cream has come to a simmer remove from heat. Add a half of a cup or cream mixture to egg mixture and mix until combined. Continue this process by adding 1 cup of cream to egg mixture at a time and mix.
Preheat you oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, break up 1in x 1in croissant pieces. Add 1/4 of cream mixture to the croissant pieces and stir to combine. Wait 15 minutes and add another 1/2 of the cream mixture, again stir to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes then stir. Finally, pour the rest of the cream mixture into the croissant bowl, mix and pour into pan.
Bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot or cold with whipped cream and/or fresh berries.
I’ve noticed that lots of people have been tweeting about new buds on their fruit trees and slightly warmer temperatures, so I now feel comfortable offering spring time desserts. If you are still in freezing weather, make these, take a bite and close your eyes. You will immediately start seeing green grass, tulips, and spring.
I found this recipe at Rita’s Recipes. It is hands down THE BEST lemon dessert I have ever had. To top it off, they are incredibly easy to make. The lemon flavor is intense yet delicate at the same time. They are not overly tart. As my husband’s co-worker described them, “once they start to taste tart, they immediately turn sweet.” The consistency is of a moist cake like brownie. Topped with a silky cream cheese frosting, these brownies will knock your socks off.
Make them, you will not regret it. In fact, double the recipe and give them out. These bars will turn anyone’s day from mediocre to life changing, and bring a smile to everyone’s face.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time until completely incorporated. Add lemon juice and zest, mix until incorporated. With a wooden spoon, mix in flour and salt.
Pour into a greased or line 8×8 inch brownie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tbsp milk
Cream cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Turn mixer to low and beat in powdered sugar, add milk and zest. Beat on high for 5 minutes.
Pour glaze over brownies and allow to set for 30 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!
You slowly take a dainty bite and gently feed your significant other…
Once dessert is done, you both look at each other and decide it is time. You stand up and start walking to the bedroom as he swiftly follows. You both slowly and sensually crawl under the covers. You seductively look over and make eye contact. You both nod yes as he softly bites his lip. You casually put your head down onto your pillow and close your eyes and…
HAHAHA you totally thought I was going to go Christian Grey (50 Shades of Grey) on you weren’t you?!?!? In all reality, the only reason you two were nodding your head was because you were both in total agreement that despite the fact that it is Valentine’s Day and having a babysitter all night, an uninterrupted night of sleep far surpasses the desire for a sensual night! I know all of you single/childless couples are shaking your heads thinking “we will never be THAT couple” but I assure you, you will. To actually be able to sleep without being woken up 20 minutes into your deep sleep because of zombie noises, or being kicked in the face by your sleeping toddler is better than gold. Well, maybe it is just the sleep deprived mother of three part of me talking, but my husband is totally on board with this feeling right now.
I don’t know what it is about Valentine’s Day that makes me write like this but check out last year’s
…I still get a kick out of it!
Red Velvet Roulade
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/3 cup baking cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15in x 10in x 1 in jelly roll pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until pale. Add oil, vinegar, vanilla, buttermilk and food coloring and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
Pour batter into lined jelly roll pan, and bake for 12- 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Once removed from the oven allow to cool for 5 minutes. Once slightly cooled, place your cake on a clean kitchen towel dusted with powdered sugar, lined side up. Gently remove the parchment paper (or whatever you used to line your baking pan) and gently roll the cake, starting with the short side. Allow to completely cool wrapped in the towel. Prepare your frosting.
Recipe slightly adapted from Taste of Home.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
Cream cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Turn mixer to low and beat in powdered sugar, add extract. Beat on high for 5 minutes.
When cake has completely cooled, gently unroll it. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake, and re-roll the same way you did the first time.
Sift powdered sugar over the top, slice and serve!
Truth be told, I already broke my New Year’s resolution diet. This morning at 7am I needed something comforting. I broke open my refrigerator and piped some leftover filling into a shell and slowly devoured it.
Let me explain why I needed some comfort food. Despite my ongoing efforts to avoid the unending political debates on Facebook, sometimes I just feel I HAVE to step in, even though my husband always tells me to let it go. When someone is basically calling people stupid because they do not have the same opinion as you, makes my blood boil. I usually input my opinion (after all I have been studying Political Science for an ungodly amount of years), but respect other’s at the same time. I may have to change that if I still plan on pursuing law school! Anyway, I usually end up banging my head against a wall or running my nails down a chalkboard.
Considering I just had a manicure, and have a very bad headache already, I decided that a delicious creamy cannoli would bring my blood back down to body temperature. And it worked…thank goodness.
Cannolis are a tradition in my family for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. As much as I would like to make the shells myself, I usually have a million other things that need my attention. I purchase these shells from Mona Lisa in San Diego, but I am sure that you could find them at any Italian market or deli. I also pick up some ricotta while I am there. It is creamier than the store bought type…but any type will work just fine.
- 3 cups ricotta, drained
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 mini chocolate chips
Combine ricotta and powdered sugar and beat for about 5 minutes on high, until fluffy and smooth. Add cinnamon and beat for another minute. Mix in chocolate chips. Place filling into a piping bag attached with a large round tip, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
At this point, if you would like, dip the edges of your shells into chocolate and roll in chopped nuts.
Pipe the filling into the shells, drizzle with chocolate (if desired) and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately. This filling recipe will make about 15 cannolis.