Sunday 5 February 2017

Brownie Maraschino Cheesecake Bars

I've been playing around with cheesecakes involving brownies and mint, but I took a break from that to try and create something a lot more seasonal looking.  With Valentine's Day approaching, I went searching through my kitchen for things pink, red and white.  Luckily, I always have ample cream cheese, and I had a jar of maraschino cherries leftover from Christmas.   I threw together the brownie base I've been experimenting with and BOOM.  These lovely little treats were born.  Cut them small because they are deliciously rich.

Brownie Maraschino Cheesecake Bars

Brownie Maraschino Cheesecake Bars (Yields approximately 36 small bars)

Brownie Base
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup flour

Combine salt, flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Remove from heat and add sugar, cocoa, and vanilla and stir until well combined.  Add eggs and quickly whisk until fully combined.  Add the flour mixture and gently stir until fully combined.  Pour into a parchment lined 9x9 inch pan.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 20 minutes, until JUST done.

Cheesecake Layer
250g/8 oz package softened cream cheese
1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries

While the brownie base is baking, prepare the cheesecake layer.  Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add the condensed milk and vanilla, and beat until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low until just combined after each addition.  Fold in maraschino cherry pieces.   Pour evenly over the warm brownie base and bake for 20 minutes until just done.  Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake there for one hour.  Remove and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp canola oil

When cheesecake is fully cooled, drizzle with chocolate.  Prepare drizzling chocolate by melting semi sweet chocolate combined with canola oil in a microwave-safe bowl.   Melt in 30 sec increments, stirring after each, until smooth.

After chocolate has set, cut with into squares with a hot knife and enjoy!

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