By Teri Cayton
The Parsons Advocate
We had a beautiful Easter Sunday here in Central West Virginia. Gran always said the weather on Easter Sunday would predict the weather for the next seven Sundays and I am happy to say that we had a sunny one. I know this time of year is so unpredictable but I am just about done with the cold.
I need my sunshine to thrive, I feel so much better when I can get outside and do some of my crafts and yard work. This year my yard needs a lot of attention. I am going to have to redo all my landscape borders and put down new mulch. I hope I can get it all done before it gets too, too hot. Our weather has changed so much in the last few years that summers are just sweltering. We go from the 60’s straight into the 90’s and that is not conducive to much outdoor work for me anymore.
Just another setback from getting old I guess, the heat never used to bother me and now it just sucks the life out of me. I used to be outside more and seemed to adapt to it but now working inside all day has made me soft. Momma Said, “Use it or lose it and I think I’ve lost a lot in the last few years.”
I don’t like to admit it but I am not a machine. I have slowed down due to internal damage and I can’t find a mechanic to fix me. The old parts are wearing out and no replacements are on the horizon. Momma Said, “The heart and mind are willing but the body just will not cooperate.”
- 3/4 cup all- purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 & 1/2 packages cream cheese, 8 oz. packages for a total of 12 oz. room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Remove the cream cheese and eggs from the fridge for the cheesecake layer to come to room temperature. Line a 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the properly measured flour, salt and cocoa powder. Stir together with a spoon until mixed. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chopped unsweetened chocolate and cubed butter. Stir occasionally until it’s fully melted, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a larger mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs plus additional egg yolk with an electric mixer for 1 minute, until the mixture is pale yellow and doubled in volume.
- Once the chocolate is melted, pour it into the egg mixture. Then add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Stir with a spatula to combine.
- Spoon the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing with a spatula just until combined. Do not continue to mix the batter once you can no longer see flour.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, just until a crust forms on the top of the brownies. When looking for the crust to form, look for a color change in the brownies, the top will be a little lighter in color and might appear shiny. You can also carefully touch the brownies with a finger to determine if the crust formed. You shouldn’t have any brownie batter stick to your finger.
- Once a crust has formed, remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cheesecake layer.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat 1 & 1/2 packages of cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth, about 60-90 seconds. Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating for about 30-60 seconds.
- Carefully pour the cheesecake batter over the brownies. I noticed that evenly pouring the batter over the brownies is the key instead of dumping it all in one place. Use a spatula to spread the cheesecake batter to the edges of the pan. Return the brownies to the oven and bake for 22-27 minutes. At this time check on the cheesecake to see how jiggly it is. If it’s still jiggly in the center, tent the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 4-5 additional minutes. The aluminum foil will prevent the cheesecake from browning.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 2+ hours.
- Cut into bars and serve. For clean cuts, fully wipe the knife clean between slices.
I used a glass 8×8 inch baking pan. You can use a metal pan but I would recommend decreasing the baking time by 5 minutes – so check the brownies for a crust around 18-22 minutes. Metal pans heat up faster.