Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

I will admit to a horrible weakness for a brownie. Rich, dense and full of chocolate flavor, they are almost impossible to resist.

So I have made it my mission in life to find the perfect brownie recipe. To accomplish this amazing feat I will need to collect, bake and try every brownie recipe ever created!

Yes! I will spend the rest of my life dedicated to this worthwhile project!

Now this brownie is a true contender. With lots of butter and cream cheese you can’t go wrong!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

Beat together: 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, 3 oz. of cream cheese, and 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy.

Add 3 eggs and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Set aside.

In separate bowl stir together: 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup of cocoa, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt.

Gradually add to the butter mixture. Stir in 3/4 cup of nuts if desired.

Spread in greased 9 x 13″ pan.

Bake 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely.

Brownie Frosting:

Beat 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons cocoa.

Add 3/4 tsp. of vanilla and 1 1/3 cup of powdered sugar.

Blend in 1-2 Tablespoons of milk and 1 tablespoon corn syrup.

Beat till spreading consistency and spread on cooled brownies.

Let It Snow! Let It Snow ! Let It Snow!

Living in the Midwest allows us to celebrate four distinct seasons, and although we enjoy some seasons more that others, we try to celebrate the arrival of each one here at the homestead. Winter is one season that I don’t joyfully anticipate, but even I can get excited about the first snowfall. As an experienced Midwesterner I can feel it in the air! I remember my days in the classroom as both student and later as teacher; just as soon as the first fat flakes started coming down it was impossible to settle down for any kind of work!

That excitement happened again this year, the day before Thanksgiving with a record snowfall blanketing the capital city where we were visiting Grandma’s house. Traveling was treacherous with a layer of ice under the snow, so we gladly hunkered down with all the cousins for a day of games, hot chocolate and of course, our Snow Cake.

The tradition of Snow Cake began when I was a young mom and Matt and Laura where just little tykes. It was so exciting to see the first snow through their eyes that I decided we needed to celebrate it! We made a chocolate brownie and then cut a snowflake out of paper, laid it on top of the cooled brownie and sprinkled it with powdered sugar. When the paper was removed, the children saw the powdered sugar snowflake remaining and were awestruck!

That first Snow Cake was a hit and a new tradition was born! Now, no matter when it happens (and some years the timing was awful!) when those first snowflakes of winter start falling, we celebrate with a Snow Cake!

Unexpected Company!

It’s happened twice now in the past few weeks. We’ve had a phone call late Saturday night that some “friends or relations” (as Pooh Bear would say), wanted to drive down and enjoy a beautiful fall day in the country with us. We have a routine for calls such as this. As soon as the phone is hung up I call “all hands on deck” and everyone receives their assignment. Since these were “day-trippers” not “over-nighters” we didn’t have as much to clean, and with everybody’s help, it didn’t take long!

All the while we were cleaning, I was mentally reviewing the contents of my pantry and refrigerator trying to decide on menus. Dessert was almost a no-brainer! I have one stand-by for a quick, sure-fire dessert that always gets rave reviews, my chocolate brownie sundae. I begin with my favorite quick basic brownie, adding nuts if the “friends and relations” are nutty people, and sometimes adding extra chocolate or flavored chips. A quick 15 minutes in the oven while I wash up the few utensils I needed and I’m set.

To serve, I cut a generous brownie and place it in a pretty bowl. Then add a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle it all with chocolate syrup. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle with chopped nuts (if they’re the nutty kind of “friends and relations” of course!) A few weeks ago I was out of ice cream when the call came, so I drizzled the chocolate sauce right on the brownie followed by a large dollop of whipped cream on top of that. It was a big hit!

Fast, simple, delicious and chocolate, a winner every time!

Fudge Brownies

Combine: 1 1/3 c. flour, 2 c. sugar. 3/4 c. cocoa, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 cup chopped nuts. In separate bowl combine 2/3 c. oil, 4 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, Do not over mix! Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.