Noun A firm decision to do or not to do something.
I’ve given up on New Year’s resolutions years ago.
Not to be a downer at all, but though well-intentioned, they’ve historically tended to be embarked upon with inspired, unabashed vigor yet have very often crashed and burned without so much as a single woot.
That very distinct possibility can scare off even the most well-intentioned and determined of resolutionists from ever making resolutions at all.
Perhaps it’s the fear of failing.
Perhaps it’s the fear of committing to do something you don’t really know in your bones you can follow through with.
And then how will you feel?
Well this year, I am doing things differently.
I will not resolve to do anything.
Not a single thing.
I’ll just do it.
And if I find myself ceasing to do what I said I would (which I will) and fall off the horse (which I will) well, I’ll just get back on and go back on my merry way.
No fuss, no fowl. Rinse and repeat. And do that again and again no matter how many times I have to (’cause I will have to).
I will make the time to learn Italian and finally use that Rosetta Stone my then-fiance-now-husband gave me for Christmas last year.
I will be more forgiving of myself and of others and cut us both a bit more slack.
I will breathe more deeply …
… worry a whole lot less and enjoy much, much more.
And it all starts with these brownies.
Not decadent or cloyingly sweet but really, just right, they’re made with 100% whole wheat … you just wouldn’t know it.
The perfect balance of just enough chocolate but not too much, with just enough mild-yet-decadent-enough cheesecake — to achieve perfect balance, just like I seek this year.
Even if I don’t achieve it just perfectly.
The point really is in the doing. Whatever that doing may be.
And though sweetness may come in a pan, being able to give that to yourself, now that’s the sweetest of all.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Makes 12 – 16 brownies
For Brownie Layer
3/4 cup (or 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For Cheesecake Layer
8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons powdered confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
Using two sheets of parchment paper, line a 9 x 9-inch square pan to create a parchment paper “sling” which you will use to lift brownies out of pan once they’re baked.
Do this by lining pan with a sheet horizontally first and then — using the other piece of parchment paper — line pan vertically, making sure to leave a parchment “overhang” on all four sides. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat – using a wooden spoon — melt chocolate and butter together, stirring frequently, until completed melted.
Remove saucepan from heat and slowly mix in eggs, sugar and vanilla until well combined.
Slowly add in cocoa powder and instant coffee and stir well, then add in whole wheat flour and salt and fold gently until just combined.
Note: Be careful not to over mix or brownies will be tough (and no one wants a tough brownie!).
Pour batter evenly into prepared baking pan and shake pan gently – if necessary – to even out batter. Set aside while you make the cheesecake layer.
To make cheesecake layer: In a medium-sized mixing bowl – using an electric mixer at medium speed – combine cream cheese, egg, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla together until smooth.
Using a large spoon, gently drop dollops of cheesecake mixture over top of brownie batter — and using a regular knife — swirl cheesecake mixture into brownie batter (have fun!).
Transfer baking sheet to middle rack of preheated oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Remove pan from oven and allow to cool on wire cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Then, very carefully – using parchment paper “sling” – lift brownies from pan and transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely, i.e. for at least 1 hour or so.
Once completely cool — using a sharp, serrated knife – cut brownies into 12 – 16 pieces — depending on size you prefer — and serve immediately.
Brownies can be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature in a covered Tupperware container.
Share and enjoy!