Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dessert of the Month

This month I'm introducing a new feature I'm hoping to continue on the blog (cough...I have the best of intentions...cough). It's called "Dessert of the Month", where I showcase a succulent dessert recipe I stumbled upon somewhere and am dying to make my mouth waters just thinking about it.

February seemed like the perfect month to start because 1) it's the shortest month and it needs a little something special, and 2) I just thought of it a few days ago when I wanted to make these brownies and really didn't have a reason (but, who am I kidding, who needs a reason to make brownies?) so I created one.

And these brownies are perfect for February because they're pink.

And I probably should have made these for Valentine's Day now that I'm thinking of it. But I'm thinking a little celebration for the end of the month will do just fine.

I found these brownies on Pinterest, of course, and immediately thought these would be my next baking project. I mean they have chocolate, espresso, cream cheese, and fresh blackberries (which are in abundance at my grocery store right now). Perfect.

And you can eat the eggs :)
However, when I took a peek at the recipe I knew I'd have to make some Sweet B adjustments. I like to indulge every once in a while, but I still try to keep it natural and healthy (well, healthier). With my substitutions, I was able to cut out 135 calories. Yes, I'm excited to share these delicious gems with you!

Fresh Blackberry Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
*adapted from Beantown Baker's recipe

Makes 16 brownies

For the Blackberry Sauce:
6 oz fresh blackberries, washed
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp water

Place blackberries and sugar in a pan and heat until the blackberries release their juices. Combine cornstarch, juice, and water in a small bowl. Stir together until smooth. Add slurry to pan and stir to mix completely. Bring mixture to boil for a few minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the Brownie Batter:
1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c + 1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract + 1/2 Tbsp, divided
1/2 c + 2 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder
2 Tbsp ground flax + 6 Tbsp water (= 2 flax eggs)
3/4 c black beans, pureed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8" baking dish.

In a bowl melt butter in the microwave. Then add olive oil, 1 tsp vanilla, and sugar; stir to combine. Return the mixture to the microwave and heat another 30 seconds. (Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.) Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and 1/2 Tbsp vanilla. Whisk in the flax eggs, stirring until smooth. Add the pureed beans, mixing thoroughly.

For the Cheesecake:
8 oz Greek yogurt, plain
1 egg
1/4 c sugar
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp flour (or use cornstarch to be completely GF)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Add all ingredients into a medium bowl and mix until well combined. Add the blackberry sauce and stir until mixed thoroughly.

To Assemble the Brownies:
Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over. Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife back and forth through the pan. (My substitutions make the batter thick and the cheesecake part a little runny. So if it doesn't swirl perfectly, it's okay.) Bake for 55 minutes (it will still be jiggly and the brownies are gooey so don't fret), or until center is set. Turn oven off and let brownies cool in oven about 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving. (I put mine in the freezer to speed up the process.)

Nutritional Information
Per brownie: 127 Calories, 16 Carbs, 7 Fat, 3 Protein, 3 Fiber, 11 Sugar

These are gooey and fudgey, and the berries and espresso bring so much flavor. My new favorite brownie recipe. Ever.

With Love and God Bless,

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