Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

It’s Friday! Woo Wooo Yeahh Yeahhh Woo Wooo Woooooo!

Pumpkin Cheesecake BrowniesI’m extra excited for this coming weekend because:

1) Tomorrow a WEDDING is happening!

2) I get to spend time with these clowns – a.k.a my family – a.k.a the farkles.  Don’t ask.

My cousin Allison is getting married to Neil.  They’re story is one of my faves.  Al moved to Dublin to channel her inner Irish self a couple years after college – she met Neil, a legit Irishman who might be one the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my life – they fell in love – last year they got engaged in Budapest (NBD) and tomorrow they’re getting married! I’m picturing a lot of jigging on the dance floor and a lot of guinness consumption, but mostly, lots of laughs and fist pumps with family and friends!Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

I’ll be honest – there’s no correlation between Al and Neil nuptials and these Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies, but nevertheless, they were amazingly easy to make (primarily cuz’ I cheated – cheaters DID prosper in this case!) and amazingly delicious.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
*Cheescake portion adapted from A Taste of Home

INGREDIENTS

Your favorite boxed brownie mix, prepared according to instructions

1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 egg

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees (or whatever temperature the box says)

2) Prepare your brownie batter and set aside.

3) For cheesecake batter, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Beat in the sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Add egg; beat on low speed just until combined.

4) Line a 12-muffin tin with paper baking cups.  Fill the bottom about 1/3 of the way with brownie batter.  Then place another 1/3 of pumpkin cheesecake batter on the top, and then top the last 1/3 with the brownie batter.  Take a knife and swirl the pumpkin cheesecake and brownie batter together so they look ‘swirly’.

5) Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

*You could also make these as just a standard pan of brownies by again, following the instructions on the box for the different pan sizes and following the same method of brownie batter/pumpkin cheesecake layering and swirling.

My only change would be maybe alternating the pattern and doing cheesecake/brownie/cheesecake next time, as to make them a little more pumpkin flavored.  But it’s totally up to you, depending on what flavor you prefer.

Next week is Halloween – BOOOOO!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies


Nooo sillies – I don’t mean ACTUAL grasshoppers! I mean the COOKIE!

For those of you that don’t know about these delicious cookies, they’re like Thin Mints from the fabulous Girl Scouts, only they have scalloped edges, and boy do they make a great addition to any dessert if you are a mint/chocolate lover.

For Easter 2.0 (or Easter Sunday, a week late with Dave’s parents, sister and grandparents) I was on dessert duty.  And I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes with desserts, I get stressed out – like how do I pick the perfect dessert from such a vast selection of amazing desserts out there? And Dave,  being the ‘non-sweet’ eater that he is, is no help. When asked “well if you could have any dessert right now” he typically will reply “beer”.  So he is no help at all.  Harumf.

I finally decided that for Easter 2.0, I was going to make a trifle – afterall, the trifle dish we got from our registry still hadn’t been used, months later! So I blew the dust off of it and got cookin!

I love mint – and I love chocolate and I love them even more together, so I decided on a Grasshopper trifle – with delicious layers of fudgey brownie, chocolate pudding, grasshopper cookies and homemade whipped cream.

Grasshopper Brownie Trifle

INGREDIENTS

1 box of your favorite brownie mix, prepared according to directions

1 box of chocolate pudding, prepared according to directions (preferably instant)

1 box of Keebler Grasshopper cookies crumbled (reserve 10 cookies for garnish at the end)

1 pint of whipping cream

2 tbsp. sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1)  Cook brownies according to instructions (cake like vs. fudge like, depending on your preference) – let cool – set aside

2) Prepare chocolate pudding and set aside.

3) Prepare whipped cream  – place bowl of a standing mixer in the freezer for about 1/2 hour or so, until chilled.  Then place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in the bowl.  With the whisk attachment, whip the cream on the highest setting possible without it splashing everywhere (probably a 2 or 4 on a Kitchen Aid) *Be careful you don’t overwhip – you want cream to form soft peaks – about 3 – 5 minutes.

4) Take the grasshopper cookies and place in a food processor and pulse until they become small pieces/crumbs.

And do the same with the brownies.  If you tear them up into small pieces, and pulse them a few times in the food processor, it makes the texture a little more dough-like and easier to layer in the trifle dish.

 5) Now it’s time to build your trifle! Start with a layer of brownie on the bottom –

 Then a layer of pudding –


Then a layer of crushed grasshopper –

Then a layer of whipped cream –

6)  Repeat brownie, pudding, grasshopper and whipped cream which will bring you to the top of your trifle.  Sprinkle remaining Grasshopper crumbs on the top of the whipped cream.

Then take about 10 grasshopper cookies and cut them in half, lining the outside of the trifle with grasshopper halves.

Now your trifle is done! Place in the refrigerator, covered tightly with saran wrap until ready to serve.  Serve with milk 🙂 Enjoy! 

 The Grasshopper Brownie Trifle was a HIT! I have never in all my trifle making days emptied a trifle dish in one sitting and at Easter 2.0, it was empty, which means I’ll definitely be making this minty chocolately dessert again!  

 



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