Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Reunited and it feels so good!

Reunited and it feels so good! Wow, that’s cheesy like really cheesy – but it’s still true. We’ve been getting together with friends that live 2 minutes away from us (unless there’s a train or red light) again and we are loving it. Real people who love well. We recently got together again and I was on dessert duty.
I saw a recipe for this brownie bottom cheesecake and knew I wanted to try it and knew these were the people to try it for. I made the brownie the night before hoping to be able to do the cheesecake part the same night – but time was not on my side. Thankfully Andy had an early morning church meeting that Saturday so we could all get up early and I could make the cheesecake part. Did you see the sarcasm there? YAY early Saturday mornings. All.get.up – not just some… all. As I made the no bake cheesecake I worried because it was so sloppy. I put it in the springform pan lined with parchment paper and prayed that it would work. I started reading reviews of the recipe to make sure I hadn’t messed something up. Oh, I did, well not on purpose. I always use the 1/3rd less fat cream cheese – I call it nuf-da-cheese, yes I know it’s called Neufchatel. Apparently, other people used that and their cheesecake never set up.
I decided to not do the extra whipped cream on top worried over the possible soupy mess that would likely be happening. We arrived at our guests and I was worried. We stuck that cheesecake in the fridge ASAP. Somehow with these friends, we have lots of funny baking stories so we laughed and hoped. After dinner, we were ready to cut into it and amazingly it held its form! It was likely one of the best cheesecakes I’ve had! I’m not a super fan of cheesecake that is so dense it feels like you are eating a brick of cream cheese, this one was light and fluffy and the strawberries and brownie bottom made it even better. I would 100% do this one again and even use the Neufchatel – it says Light and Fit on the label – so it must be healthy right?

Strawberry Brownie Cheesecake

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

20 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 lb strawberries, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Grease a 9 inch baking pan, or line it with parchment paper.
2. Mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla extract.
3. Add eggs and mix until well combined.
4. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
5. Slowly add dry ingredients to the egg mixture until well combined.
6. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Remove brownie from oven and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.
8. Once the brownie is cool, make the cheesecake. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
9. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
10. In a separate bowl, whip heavy whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
11. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
12. Place brownie into a 9 inch springform pan. Line the sides of the with parchment paper that sticks about an inch above the sides of the pan to account for possible overflow.
13. Top brownie with cheesecake mixture and spread into an even layer, then put in refrigerator until firm about 4-5 hours.
14. Once firm, remove cheesecake from springform pan.
15. To make whipped cream for the top, whip heavy whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
16. Spread whipped cream on top of cheesecake, then top with strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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