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!
Inspired by Food.com and David Lebovitz
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!
- red velvet & peppermint cheesecake brownies (tutti-dolci.com)
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (domestocrat.wordpress.com)
- ultimate fudge brownies with peanut butter chips (sallysbakingaddiction.com)
Ok. I need these now! Christina, these look sooooo good. I can’t even imagine how good these are as you bite into a creation that is half cheesecake and half awesome brownie. Two words: Making These.
I love your idea of resolutions, or rather no resolutions, too…although I did make a resolution this year, along with my husband. It is simply to be more positive. I feel that your post speaks to this as well, so a big Touché on that note!
Hope you are having a great start to your new year, talk soon,
Thanks so much, Rebekah, on all fronts, I really appreciate that!
Believe it or not, generally speaking, I’m not much of a fan of sweet things, but this brownie is just the right combo of just enough chocolatey-ness and cheesecake and not to sweet, but just right. Let me know how you like ’em!
I love it, simply being more positive is an AWESOME intention for this year. I think we could all benefit from being more of that =)
Hope you are having a great first week of this brand new year (can you believe it?! Bananas!) and, yes, talk soon!
We need to live closer by, so I can eat all your blog foods! I love your post for today, Happy New Year!
Ha! Thanks, Jolene, honey, so glad you enjoyed! =)
Happy New Year to you, dear friend!
I love the”fall off the horse (which I will) well, I’ll just get back on..”. Excellent advice. And those brownies…. mmmm woot woot!!!!!
Awesome, thanks, Niko! You’re the best, brother! =)
That looks delicious Christina! Love the swirl marks and the coffee ingredient in this brownie recipe.
The deep breathing really do help so much with one’s well-being. Once you have that down… there’s less to worry, you’re more forgiving, and you will definitely cut others some slack. Not to mention a more stress-free environment. I’m sure the brownies help too. 😉
Thank you, Anne, I really appreciate that!
And re: the deep breathing, speak it, sister, speak it! =) It’s amazing how doing so DOES help so much with everything. I used to be a registered yoga teacher and writing this post re-reminded me what I already knew to be true but had just forgotten. Thank you for the gentle encouragement, and for the encouragement, as always, fellow foodie friend =)
Big hug for a great year!
Holy moly those look gorgeous!!! I love all the animal pics too…so cute and funny! Happy new year! 🙂
Thank you so much, Brandi, and Happy New Year to you, beauty! So glad you enjoyed!
Well said! Looking forward to reading some Italian posts 😉
The brownies couldn’t look more perfect.
Aww, Francesca, you just warmed my heart! Thank you! And so glad you enjoyed =)
And let me see what I can do about those Italian posts … they may take a while but I am up for the challenge! 😉 lol
These look insane. I might have to try them this weekend!
Go, Irene, go! =)
Thanks so much, Irene!
Yum. I’ve decided: I’m obsessed with brownies. Just in time for the New Year! Perfect. But that’s okay, because like you, I decided to not make a real New Years Resolution. I’m just going to try not to eat added sugar for a week. Maybe more. And if I fail, well, it wasn’t really a resolution in the first place soooooo there. Maybe this will ward off the diabetes for a few more days, right? Harhar.
Anyway, fabulous photos! That cheesecake swirl looks to die for!
Staving off diabetes, I would say a very admirable pursuit 😉 Ha!
Thanks so much for the love, Erika, and for stopping by to say hello =)
Happy New Year!
These brownies stopped me in my tracks! They look delicious! And then to find out that they are made with whole wheat (but you can’t tell that they are) means that my kids will eat more healthfully (without knowing that they are) and that is a great start to a new year!
Grazie mille! (Okay, don’t respond in Italian, because that’s one of maybe 5 phrases I know in the language!)
Happy New Year, first off, and so nice to have you stop by — always delightful hearing from you =)
So glad you enjoyed and thank you! And, yes, the whole wheat … I would SO agree with you! I call it my secret (healthy) weapon and do everything I can to include at least as much of it as I can in every recipe that calls for some kind of flour =)
And, truly, my pleasure (and re: those Italian phrases you know, impressive!)
I think cheesecake brownies are a PERFECT way to ring in the new year! They look absolutely delicious! I see that you too are eyeing your Italian Rosetta Stone… The icon sits on my computer desktop, judging me every time I don’t open it. Hah! 🙂
They ARE a perfect way to ring in the new year, and thank you so much for the kind words.
And how funny re: the Italian Rosetta Stone! Oh, I am familiar with the judging icon (“Don’t judge me, little icon! You don’t know me!” Ha!) And how funny too that we share so many of the same things, interests, etc. … singing, wanting to learn Italian, chickens! Delightful =)
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Those look amaaaaazing! And new year’s resolutions are a little bit silly if you think about it… why only limit yourself to the idea that you can change your habits for the better (or– and not entirely oppositely– put less pressure on yourself to be perfect/worry less) only once a year? Why not go with it whenever those changes come to you? I should try making a batch of these brownies soon… I bet I’d worry less, enjoy more, and breathe more deeply while eating one of them. 🙂
I couldn’t agree more, Allison; well said, food sister, well said!
And yes, do make them and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you did =)
Thanks so much for stopping by, lady, and have a wonderful week!
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