Monday, March 18, 2013

Irish Car Bomb Cheesecake Brownies

My company has been going through some layoffs and instituting some new cost-cutting measures recently.  Part of it is that our monthly meeting is no longer catered.  Bummer!  But, I'm looking at the silver lining--I've been making goodies to bring to the meeting each month!  My thought is that it's my insurance against getting laid off--if my name comes up, there will be outcry at the thought of no longer having sweet treats at our meetings!  :)

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to make some boozy Irish Car Bomb cheesecake-swirled brownies!  I took a Guinness brownie recipe and added my own Bailey's cheesecake swirl--yum!  The FiancĂ© declared them the best brownies that he has ever had, and that's saying something!  They're REALLY fudge-y (bordering more on flourless chocolate cake than brownie), not super sweet (the Guinness adds a nice bitterness, and the salt balances out the sugar), and overall quite delicious!  So, if you're still celebrating St. Patrick's Day (I'm Irish, so I reserve the right to celebrate all week!), go ahead and make a pan of these brownies to cap off your dinner!

Irish Car Bomb Cheesecake Brownies (brownie base adapted from Bon Appetit, cheesecake swirl is a Blondie original)

  • 1 bottle Guinness (or another stout)
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 3/4 c. sugar, divided
  • 5 eggs, divided
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. flour
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 Tbl. Bailey's (or other Irish Cream)

Boil the Guinness uncovered over medium heat until it is reduced to about 1/3-1/2 c., stirring occasionally.  This might take a while!  Remove from heat and let cool partially.

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave (try 30-second increments, stirring after each one).  Once smooth, beat in 1 1/2 c. sugar.  One at a time, beat in 4 of the eggs.  Mix in the vanilla extract and the salt--yes, it seems like a lot of salt, but it's the perfect amount, trust me!  Finally, mix in the flour until just combined.  Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13" pan.

Meanwhile, cream the cream cheese with remaining 1/4 c. sugar.  Beat in the remaining egg.  Mix in the Bailey's until thoroughly combined.  Dollop spoonfuls of the cheesecake batter over the top of the brownie batter--there's no science to this, and it does not have to be precise!  Run a butter knife through the mixture to swirl the two batters together--careful not to overdo it, or you will lose the marbled effect!  Bake for about 40-50 minutes at 350* F, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (or mostly clean, if you like your brownies slightly underbaked).

Friday, March 1, 2013

What's Baking February Round-Up

As I mentioned in my last post, I was lucky enough to host What's Baking this month!  Everyone did a great job making their own convenience products from scratch!  I was really impressed with the variety of entries!  Take a moment to click through and check out everyone's hard work!

Jen from Beantown Baker made her own cran-raspberry preserves to fill a delicious-looking layer cake with white chocolate frosting.  I'll take a slice of that, please!

Coleen of the Redhead Baker tackled homemade mascarpone cheese!  What a great item to make from scratch, since it's so expensive in the store!  She suggests using it in tiramisu, cheesecake, or to fill profiteroles or cannoli!

Amanda from Our Italian Kitchen showed us how to get the best of both worlds by making your own cake mix from scratch!  Imagine that, the convenience of boxed cake mix, but without all the unpronounceable ingredients!  She used the mix to replicate her wedding cake for her anniversary.

Catherine from Pursuing Domestic Goddess-ness decided to take a more savory route and decided to try to replicate a certain famous store's Swedish Meatballs!  She put her own twist on them by tossing them in a chipotle apple sauce instead of the more common cream sauce.  Yummy!

Carrie of Carrie's Sweet Life tackled one of my personal favorite convenience products--pie crust!  She used it to make ham and cheddar quiches (sounds like a great breakfast to me!), but the recipe is versatile and would work in any pie recipe, too!

Jaida of Sweet Beginnings isn't usually a breakfast person but says her homemade English muffins just might change that!  Who knew that cooking them on a griddle pan is the secret to making this convenience product at home?

Eva from Eva Bakes had 2 pounds of local Virginia peanuts (hi, neighbor!) that she needed to use up, so she decided to make her own homemade peanut butter!  While she's not a peanut butter fan, her husband loved it and really enjoyed getting to adjust it to be as sweet or as salty as he wanted!

Lastly, I made some fresh ricotta that I then used in a ricotta cheesecake--delicious!

Next month's host is Jen from Beantown Baker, and her theme is Sprinkles!  Be sure to check out her blog at the end of March to see what these creative ladies come up with!