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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Go for it: Oreo Cheesecake Brownies

It is not my intention to cause a sugar addiction in myself or anyone else. (As I am slightly addicted to sweets, I am obviously failing at this.)  I am well aware that healthy eating is not only better for you, but it's the "in" thing right now.  (Just go to the bookstore and you'll see an abundance of popular diet books and celebrity-endorsed healthy cookbooks.)  Not only that, but it seems biology is totally against us when it comes to staying thin or losing weight. (It can take weeks of diet and exercise to lose 5 pounds, but a weekend of over-indulgence and you gain 10!)  Despite all this; despite the fact that you're probably trying to get into bathing suit shape for the summer; despite the plain and obvious fact that even if you were to indulge yourself, the sinful combination of brownies, Oreos, and cheesecake would the worst choice you could make; you need to make these brownies.  It's that simple.

Yes, we all want to eat healthy and look amazing, but you need to experience these brownies.  They are a show-stopper.  You need to throw caution to the wind and take on the mind-blowing combination of Oreos (possibly the world's favorite cookie), cheesecake, and brownies in one delicious recipe.  Any recipe that contains Oreos is a winner in my book.  But, combine that with cheesecake and brownies, and you've got a champion!

I found these brownies on Sweet Pea's Kitchen and I knew, the moment I laid eyes on them, that it was destiny.  They turned out as delicious and decadent as I had imagined.  (And don't hate me for saying this, but they get better every time you make them!)  I made them a few times before I even had the patience or presence of mind to take a picture.

Yes, they are layered with sugar and fat.  But for one day, let go of your rules and guidelines.  Forget the diet and put away the exercise equipment.  Go ahead, make these brownies, and eat them without shame.  You can thank me later.  (But don't talk with your mouth full.)

Oreo Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Originally from Sugar Plum

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups coarsly chopped Oreos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil.  Butter or spray the pan/lining.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in sugar and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil for 1 minute. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Beat together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract with a mixer on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt; whisk until combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs until combined. Whisk in melted butter/sugar mixture until well combined. Stir in flour mixture until just combined, followed by Oreo cookies.

Spread half of brownie batter into the prepared baking dish, followed by cream cheese layer.  Dollop the remaining brownie mixture over the cheesecake layer and swirl with a knife or spatula.

Bake for 25 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.

Let cool completely in pan on a cooling rack before lifting out the parchment paper or foil to remove the brownies.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Day the Moon Smiled and a Poem

There is one face that is familiar to all people.  Every nation that ever existed even in the farthest reaches of the earth know this face.  It is the moon.  The man in the moon has been watching humanity since our beginnings, and we all know his face.  I have been fascinated with the moon all my life, and even though I know the moon is unchanging, I have witnessed a profound change in the man in the moon.

Ever since I was a baby and first turned my gaze to the moon, I saw in its frozen face a sad expression.  No matter what art had depicted or what tales had been told or what other people could see, to me the face of moon was sad.  It was a woeful, mournful expression, like the moon was crying out.  I thought it was a shame that the face of the moon should hold, for eternity, such a sorrowful expression, but nothing could be done about it.  It was the moon.  It would never change.

Then, about three years ago, one night I looked up and saw the most extraordinary thing.  The moon was no longer sad.  That sorrowful expression of woe was gone.  The moon was smiling.  Laughing, even.  I was astounded.  How could these features have changed?  I was awestruck that the face of moon should show me something so different from what I had seen before.

Then, this past year, I looked up at the moon one night as I walked to my car after work, and once again the moon's face had changed.  This time, the moon was singing.  The moon was singing a soulful song, it's face full of emotion.

And so, impossible things can happen. Change can occur in the most unlikely places.

by: Mary Wojciechowski

Enchanting moon
You pull the waters from the shores
And the secrets you steal from our hearts
Are replaced by your tremulous moonsongs.
Heavenly moon
Your river flows
Like a stream of darkness
Delighting my soul with ripples of stars
Washing away reality and lies.
Distant moon
Your ever changing, ever different
Face is the faceless lover to my dreams
Which nightly dance at your silver threshold.
Mysterious moon
The songs you spin from my dreams
Sing from my frightened outstretched heart
And fills the voids of space with music
Your enchanting moonsongs.

*Photo from, "This ... photo of the moon was taken by astronauts on the International Space Station during the Expedition 24 mission, mid-2010. CREDIT: Rocscosmos."