I made a ducky pull toy. Watch the video above for how I did it. I’m also giving away this duck, as a celebration for surpassing 100 subscribers on my YouTube channel. If you’d like a chance to win it, head over to the video’s page on YouTube, and leave a comment there by 11:59 PM June 30th, 2018.
Hello, there! If you have come here recently hoping to see something new, I apologize for disappointing you. But hey! There’s something new now, in fact, you’re reading it!
Let’s flash back to about a month ago. My parents were coming to town on Memorial Day, and Tiffany was planning to cook up some ribs, so I wanted to have an equally tasty dessert to follow that up. A cheesecake was in order. Not a cheesecake with one of those hard, crumbly graham cracker crusts, though. No, this one wanted a softer place to rest, perhaps a bed made of brownies?
Yes, delightful. The brownies are pretty-straightforward, home-made, no box recipe here. The cheesecake is no-bake, very creamy, and jazzed up with some orange. And, if you do like I did, and forget to cut back on the brownie recipe, you have a bonus pan of brownies to snack on as well! I’ve got recipes for both the brownies and the cheesecake below. They’re separate, so you can make these individually, or combine them into one glorious dessert masterpiece. A note if you are combining them, don’t worry about the foil for the brownies, just butter up the spring form pan really well, and bake the brownies right in there. Once they’ve baked, I use a skewer to perforate the top of the brownies, which lets the cheesecake adhere better to the brownie base (I don’t know how much this helps, but it seemed to improve it this past time).
Keep scrolling to get to the recipes. Thanks again for coming back after we’ve been gone so long!
Super Awesome Brownies (consumable)
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped up
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I suggest moving a rack nearer to the top of the oven, the brownies seem to bake more evenly that way. Depending on your oven, you could get away with doing this later, so your oven isn’t on for longer than it needs to be.
Acquire a piece of aluminum foil that will be large enough to line a 9×13 cake pan. Butter the aluminum foil. I find it works best to lay the sheet of foil on the counter, and just rub a stick of butter on it. Not the whole stick! Just rub the butter until there’s a nice coat of butter all over the foil, then place the foil into the pan, buttered side up.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside for a bit.
Grab a medium-sized bowl, glass works best, and put the cubed butter and the chopped chocolate in there. Now rest that over a pot of boiling water, be sure the bowl isn’t actually touching the water, as that could scorch the chocolate. Let the steam heat the bowl, thereby melting the chocolate and butter together, and stir it up so it’s all smooth. Then remove the bowl from the heat and set it aside to cool. Be sure to use pot holders or something when moving the hot bowl.
A stand mixer works best for this next part. But a hand mixer will do just as well, or, if you’re feeling especially funky, you can just grab a whisk and do it yourself. The eggs, sugar, and vanilla need to get whisked together. Whisk them until the mixture is a pale yellow-ish color, and it’s a thick consistency.
Now grab that chocolate/butter mixture from before, and pour it into the egg mixture. Be sure the chocolate is cool, as you don’t want the chocolate to start cooking the eggs. Unless you’d rather have sweetened chocolate scrambled eggs, rather than brownies, then, you know, do whatever. But that sounds gross. Once everything is completely mixed together, you’re good to stop whisking.
Find the dry ingredients you mixed together way back when. Pour that into the eggy-chocolate mixture, and whisk that up until it’s all incorporated together. Transfer the batter into the foiled pan from earlier.
Bake the brownies in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle comes back out clean. Be careful, it’s easy to over-bake them, and then they aren’t nearly as gooey as they should be.
Now eat all the brownies. Don’t share them. Tell others to make their own brownies. Making your own food is a valuable skill, so they should be thankful you’re giving them this opportunity.(Or, be nice to your friends and family and share the brownies).
NOTE! If you don’t want plain chocolate brownies, grab some of the fancy chocolate bars that have fruit added (I’ve used orange, blueberry, cranberry almond, and a few others) for a fancier treat with no extra work on your part. You could even use fruit juice in place of the vanilla to kick it up that extra notch.
Equally as Awesome Orange Cheesecake
1 package chocolate graham crackers (crushed up into crumbs)
3 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/2 cup of orange juice
1 package unflavored gelatin
24 ounces of cream cheese (softened, just leave it sit out for about an hour)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream (whipped up to have stiff peaks)
The zest of one orange
Chocolate shavings (use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate off a chocolate bar) or mini chocolate chips
Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter until it is all an even consistency. Press that into the bottom of an 9-inch spring form pan (you don’t need to grease or butter the pan for this crust). Bake that at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then remove it from the oven and let it cool.
Find yourself a little saucepan, and put the orange juice in it. Sprinkle the packet of gelatin into the orange juice, and let them get to know each other for five minutes. Then cook it over low heat until the gelatin is all dissolved into the orange juice. Remove it from the heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes.
While that’s coolin’ off, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until it’s nice and floofy. Once you’ve got that well mixed, grab the orange juice/gelatin combo (provided it’s cool now (temperature wise, not like, ‘hip’ or ‘with-it’)), and gradually add that into the sugary cream cheese. Let that chill for about 3 minutes, this seems like it might not actually do anything, I mean, it’s only 3 minutes. But it lets the gelatin start to set up and get things firmed up.
Now, gently fold in the whipped cream and orange zest.
Transfer all that jazz into the pan with the crust we made earlier. You’ll more than likely have to spoon it from one to the other, as it doesn’t pour very easily.
Top it with the chocolate shavings or chocolate chips.
Stick it in the fridge! I normally make this a day ahead so it can chill overnight, and it gives the orange flavor from the zest a chance to really get in there and mingle among the rest of the cheesecake mixture.
Once you’re ready to cut it up, you’ll want to use a knife to loosen the cheesecake from the edge of the pan.
Slice it up and eat it!
NOTE! Don’t want orange, that’s fine, well a little weird, but workable. I’ve made this with lime in place of the orange, you’ll just want 2 or 3 limes for zest, and if you top it with coconut, it is quite delicious. Raspberry is also a good choice, use raspberry puree in place of the orange juice, and you don’t really have to worry about replacing the zest.