Mint Cheesecake Brownies for your BOTW

 

 

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In the dull, hot (and here in Texas, I do meant hot) months of Summer, one is always looking for something refreshing; whether it be an ice cold glass of lemonade, a snow cone, some ice cream or gelato – whichever it is I am always ready for that cold and refreshing something to go down my parched throat. Aren’t you?

Now, something that isn’t a drink or necessarily cold but still refreshing to me, is the flavor of mint. Mint ice cream, gelato, you name it – when it’s flavored right and not overkill, there is not much that involves mint that I don’t like.

A month or two ago when at the store with my mom, we were excited (we get excited over little things like this) to find that they were carrying Hershey’s Mint Chocolate Chips. Being as to how they don’t carry them at the store where we usually do our grocery shopping we decided to grab a couple of bags. I was excited to see what I would use them for but for whatever reason they ended up sitting in the cabinet for awhile.

Last week however, when going through brownie ideas I decided to make cheesecake brownies and then for whatever reason, I decided to use the mint chocolate chips in the brownie layer. Now when combining recipes and experimenting, one never knows how things are going to turn out, but these turned out pretty good – actually, like r.e.a.l.l.y. g.o.o.d., let me tell you a little about them.

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The way these brownies are constructed is a mint chocolate chip brownie layer on the bottom, a cheesecake layer in the middle, chocolate ganache on top, and a mint white chocolate drizzle to finish it off.

For the brownie layer, I used a new recipe (one of the two you will be seeing the most in my brownie creations) which worked very well for this combination. And for the cheesecake layer, I used this recipe from Handle the Heat. The ganache on top is Alton Brown’s, which is my favorite recipe to use and well, for a white chocolate drizzle…who needs a recipe?

I am so excited to share this recipe with you!!  If you are a fellow mint lover you are going to love these,  however if you don’t love mint there’s still hope, as my brother who is not quite so crazy about mint (to say the least), after trying them said to me,” These aren’t bad….”  – which, coming from him, says a lot….

The lowdown:

These mint brownies are a luscious combination of mint chocolate brownie, cheesecake, ganache, and white chocolate – could you really get any better?

Cottura felice!

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Mint Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients

For the brownies:

1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces

1 1/4 C. granulated sugar

3/4 C.unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/3 C. all-purpose flour

3/4 C. mint chocolate chips

For the cheesecake layer:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

½ C. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

For the ganache:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (good quality chocolate chips work well)

1 C. heavy cream (heavy whipping cream may be substituted)

For the mint white chocolate drizzle (optional):

2 ounces white chocolate

1/8 tsp. mint extract (less if you want less mint flavor)

Green Gel Food Coloring

Directions

Preheat oven to 325° F. Line an 8×8 glass baking dish with foil. Press foil firmly into the pan and leave a 2 inch overhang. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter. Cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.

With a steady stream, pour butter into dry ingredients, whisking constantly to combine.

Mix in vanilla. Next, add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition.

Stir in flour and mix just until combined (do not overmix).

Stir in chocolate chips.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until just starting to set but not fully baked.

Cool to room temperature then store in the fridge until ready to use.

While brownies are cooling, make cheesecake layer.

For the cheesecake layer:

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until well combined and smooth.

Beat in the eggs, flour, and salt until just incorporated.

Pour cheesecake batter over the brownie layer and bake at 325° F. for 50 minutes or until the cheesecake is set.

Remove from oven and while cooling, make the ganache.

For the ganache:

Place the chocolate in a medium sized bowl.

Heat the cream in a small microwavable bowl for 3 to 4 minutes on high, or until it is just beginning to simmer; make sure not to allow the cream to boil over.

Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes.

Whisk together until mixture is smooth.

Pour over the brownie/cheesecake and spread evenly.

Cool brownie/cheesecake to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator at least 2 hours to chill.

Before serving, make the white chocolate drizzle (if using):

For the white chocolate drizzle:

Melt chocolate in a small saucepan until smooth – be sure not to overheat!

Add in mint extract and stir until combined.

Add in, a little at a time, food coloring stirring after each addition until you reach desired color.

Snip off a very small  portion off the corner of a small zip top bag and place chocolate inside.

Drizzle over brownies.

Store leftover brownies in the fridge.

Brownie recipe from Epicurious, Cheesecake recipe from Handle the Heat, and the ganache recipe is Alton Brown’s Ganache  Frosting Recipe. 

A Super Easy (and very tasty) Ice cream Recipe

Well I’m glad I enjoyed the extra months of no miserable heat this year, because it sure is hot and miserable now…

IMG_0800 (1)Do you ever get really excited over certain recipes? I did on Tuesday when I made this ice cream that came from an old magazine dating back to 1984. Look at that picture, doesn’t it just look old? Come to find out my mom acquired this recipe after a friend brought the ice cream to a church potluck – apparently it was raved about for days afterwards. I had seen this before while browsing through our dessert recipe collection, but never thought much about making it. I guess I have not really been interested in making ice cream that wasn’t made in a machine (yes, I’m one of those people… but I’m learning to branch out and try more simple recipes). So when looking through the recipe collection recently, I decided to give it a try. It looked good enough and then what really clenched it for me was coming across this blog, and seeing what the blogger had to say about a very similar recipe.

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My mom was right, the blogger was right: this is so good! I am now very much in love with this ice cream and its simplicity – I can’t get over it! 5 ingredients (more or less depending on what combinations you try), that’s it! And seriously, this tastes about as good as anything that I have gotten out of the ice cream maker, and bonus! it’s so much EASIER. I have already been thinking about the different combination possibilities…

But don’t listen to me, go try it for yourself and I bet you will be just as in love as I am!

Also, if you like gelato, then you have an added incentive for trying it, as that is what my sister said this tasted like to her.

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The lowdown:
I made two different combinations, both with a chocolate base and Oreos, but two different flavors. Both were equally good. By the way, let me tell you that I am privileged to have five happy (and sometimes probably not so happy..) taste testers around, it can really come in handy! Anyway, to get back on subject, one combination was a double chocolate Oreo, and one a chocolate mint Oreo. The double chocolate consists of chocolate ice cream with double chocolate stuffed Oreos mixed in. The mint chocolate has chocolate ice cream with mint Oreos mixed in and a little mint extract for more even more mint flavor.
Also, if you would like some extra chocolatey goodness on top, let me then recommend some ganache. I used Alton Brown’s recipe.

Cottura felice!

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Easy Double Chocolate Oreo Ice cream
(makes about 1 1/2 quarts)

Ingredients
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely (or big chunks, however you like it) crushed chocolate creme filled Oreos (or any other brand of sandwich cookies
2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream, whipped (do not use whipped topping)

Directions
In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Fold in cookies and whipped cream.

Pour into a 2 quart container (a loaf pan would also work well). Cover and freeze for six hours or until firm.

If desired, serve with ganache (highly recommended) or hot fudge topping.

Chocolate Mint Oreo Ice Cream

Ingredients
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp. (about 1/4 tsp. more if you like a very minty flavor) pure mint extract
1 C. coarsely crushed Mint Creme Filled Oreos (or any other brand of sandwich cookie)
2 C. (1 pint) whipping cream, whipped (do not use whipped topping)

Directions
In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, mint extract and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Fold in cookies and whipped cream.

Pour into a 2 quart container (a loaf pan would also work well). Cover and freeze for six hours or until firm.