Marvelous Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Fudge-like brownie batter swirled with chocolate chip cheesecake make this decadent dessert irresistible. 
As we go through our annual shopping list, I have to wonder why I thought I needed twenty pounds of chocolate chips! It is a challenge to shop for a whole year in one fell swoop. In most regards, we were really accurate, but I must have been suffering from a chocolate craving while we were in Costco! I did make it through about five pounds so far. With 15 pounds remaining and big chocolate lovers around, I am inspired to keep baking wickedly chocolate confections.
Marvelous Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies
Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, separated
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 8-inch square baking pan or baking dish.
  2. Combine cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, and vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir 1 cup chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside.
  3. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Set a heatproof mixing bowl over the water. In the mixing bowl, combine butter with the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips; stir until just melted and blended together.
  4. Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 eggs in a bowl. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour mixture into sugar and egg mixture. Mix in chocolate-butter mixture into flour mixture so that it is evenly blended.
  5. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer. Top with remaining chocolate mixture (this doesn’t need to completely cover the cream cheese layer). Using a knife, swirl the top chocolate layer into the cream cheese to make a marble pattern by cutting the blade through the mixtures in a swirling pattern.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is cracked and edges pull away from sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly. Cut into 12 to 16 squares. Store in refrigerator or freeze.
We tried the brownies cooled on the counter and chilled in the refrigerator. We preferred them chilled in the refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chunky-cheesecake-brownies/Detail.aspx.

Salmon Calzone

Number four in the Salmon Recipe Challenge. Savory salmon in a creamy cheese mixture enhanced with red bell peppers and spinach; all neatly wrapped in a warm Parmesan crust.

The salmon challenge was intended for Jack. After all, he is the master chef. But after a night of studying (I’m going for a master’s in education technology), I relaxed by surfing cooking and baking blogs where I came across a photo of a delicious-looking calzone. “Wouldn’t a salmon stuffed calzone be divine?” I thought.

I would start this recipe by saying that we dusted off our favorite mechanical kitchen device, our Zojirushi bread machine, but the truth is this machine never has time to collect dust. We use it once a week on slow weeks and more frequently than that on most weeks. We love our Zojirushi bread machine so much that we wrote a review on it for the company from which we bought it. Among the advantages a good bread machine offers is that it solves the often vexing problem of having the right environment for dough to rise.

The calzone dough is a standard pizza dough recipe adapted from the book 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt.

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  1. Measure ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle.
  2. Remove dough to a lightly floured board. Cover with a large inverted bowl and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes. Divide dough into 10 portions. Roll out each into a 6-inch circle and let rest.
  3. Prepare filling.
                            .
Filling Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls of fresh spinach, cleaned and stemmed
  • 1 fillet salmon, approximately a pound
  • 8-oz. brick of cream cheese, softened (simply leave out at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 tsp dry tarragon
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4. In medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 4 – 5 minutes. Add bell pepper; sauté for 3 – 4 minutes until crisp-tender. Add garlic and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Set aside.

5. Season salmon with salt and pepper. I also added a garlic herb mix. Broil salmon, skin side down. After salmon cools, flake salmon and set aside.
6. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Gradually add ricotta cheese, beating until combined. Stir in onion mixture, tarragon, oregano, salt and pepper, then add Swiss cheese and flaked salmon.

7.  Place filling on one half of each circle. Fold calzone over, sealing the edges tightly with your fingertips making a scalloped edge. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, 30 – 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

8. When calzones are formed, brush with 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

9. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the calzones sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

These calzones were terrific out of the oven. They make great lunches, too.