Friday, September 19, 2014

Decadence on a Plate: Reese's Cheesecake Brownies

Today marks the first time in weeks-if not months-that I have written each day, Monday through Thursday. Not posted-written.

This is a big deal. And hopefully it means that life is settling into a good rhythm. School in the mornings. Writing in the afternoons. Chores in both morning and afternoon moments. Bike rides occasionally, when I can fit them in. Which is not nearly enough, but it is what it is.

I still have yet to figure out when I am going to learn Spanish. But, I have got the kids doing their lessons on various days. Each lesson takes almost 2 hours to complete, and each of the three oldest kids need to do the lessons. Meres is just along for the ride. She is picking up a bit. Though I don't think she knows what she is saying. Anyway, I decided to have BMV do the lesson first and then supervise Freckles and LC as they go through the lesson. This will reinforce the language in his mind, and will free me up a bit. But, I still need to get moving on it, because I don't want to be the quintessential dumb mom in the new culture.

Btw, Meres has been having nightmares about dragons. (thanks to How to Train Your Dragon.) Thankfully for her, she has a dad who slayed the dragon, Draggy, in her dream. Yay for dad! Ironically enough, I didn't make an appearance in her dream. She had a different mom. Humph! Who snuggled with her, and gave up an 11 mile run, so that she would go back to sleep and not dream of dragons? Not the dragon slaying dad. Just saying.

Dragon slaying (or way too early mornings 4:41), is definitely more feasible when accompanied by chocolate. And, do I ever have a chocolate recipe for you!

Thick layers of brownie and cheesecake topped with a decadent layer of ganache, sprinkled with Reese's peanut butter cups. Oh yeah!

They look amazing, and they taste even better. Let me warn the adventurous amongst us...these are VERY, VERY rich. The temptation lies in wanting to have a huge chunk because it is so fantastically delicious, but resistance is vital. Less is more. I would say that you can cut the pan into 20 squares and 20 sweet tooth's would be quite satiated.

Serve with a tall glass of cold milk or a hot cup of espresso. Perfect pairing.

Reese's Cheesecake Brownies
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups flour
pinch salt
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (12 oz) package of Reese's Pieces
1/2 (12 oz) package of chocolate chips (1 cup)
1/2 cup whipping cream
8 large Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13" pan.
-In a large bowl, in the microwave, melt butter. Combine butter and cocoa until well blended. Add the sugar and eggs, whisking until smooth. With a spatula or spoon, mix in the flour and salt, just until combined and smooth. Pour into the greased pan. Set aside.
-In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, and beat until smooth. Stir in the Reese's Pieces. Spoon cheesecake over batter evenly.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is set and the sides are golden.
-Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, and then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
-In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the whipping cream and chocolate chips. Stir and heat just until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Pour and spread evenly over the top of the brownies.
-Chop the 8 peanut butter cups, and sprinkle over the top of the brownies. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Next week Thursday I am taking a food photography class. I am really excited. I feel my pictures have definitely improved, but I know they can be much better.

Have a magnificent fall weekend!