Almond Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

This post originally appeared on What’s Cooking with Ruthie where I was a monthly contributor.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister NANCY today and to my MOM tomorrow!

Sorry about not posting on Thursday but I was having some technical difficulties with my website.  I think I’ve got the problem fixed and posts will be back to normal.

I posted a pic of these Almond Cheesecake Swirled Brownies on my Instagram feed and I couldn’t wait to share them with you.  The texture was perfect and they tasted amazing.

Almond Cheesecake Swirled Brownies | A Sweet Baker

This past Easter weekend was a long weekend for us.  We had Friday and Monday off and the weather here was Spring-like that we turned off the heat and opened all the windows.  Having the fresh air blow in felt like winter might actually be gone for good!  We still have some snow piles that are lingering but I’m sure in the next few days they’ll all be gone!

Almond Cheesecake Swirled Brownies | A Sweet Baker

With the weather being so warm my husband and I had a chance to go for a nice 7.5 km walk together, just the two of us.  My sister watched the kiddies while we got some exercise and time to catch up.  We walked down country roads that were nice and quiet and farms that were coming alive from the winter.  It was refreshing!

Almond Cheesecake Swirled Brownies | A Sweet Baker

Almond Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
 
Moist and fudgy brownies that have an almond swirled cheesecake throughout.
Ingredients
  • For the Brownie batter:
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 8 ounces coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 and ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the Cheesecake batter:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅛ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
  1. Line an 8X8 glass baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate and butter together until both are melted and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Once chocolate is cooled add sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and salt and stir until well combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and set aside.
  6. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and almond extract. Mix until light and creamy.
  7. Using a large spoon, drop cream cheese mixture in dollops on top of the brownie batter. Using a wooden skewer, mix cream cheese mixture into brownie mixture, making swirling motions to add a design.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out almost clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Homemade Hot Cross Buns + Two Giveaways! #GayLeaFoods

Guess what?  I have TWO giveaways for you today!

The Easter Bunny is coming this weekend and we’ll be waking up to these Homemade Hot Cross Buns, with Gay Lea butter of course, for breakfast.  Most of my family are not fans of the dried fruit peel that’s normally in Hot Cross Buns so the good thing about making them yourself is that you can add whatever you like!

Homemade Hot Cross Buns | A Sweet Baker [Read more...]

Homemade Coconut Larabars

Lately I’ve been trying to eat healthy and I’m trying to avoid any processed food. It’s actually not that hard but when it comes to having a little sweet treat there’s always added sugar and things I can’t pronounce. When I first tasted Larabars I loved them but at $1.69 each I knew I had to recreate them myself. These Homemade Coconut Larabars are the perfect treat after a good workout or a hike in the woods….or not!

Homemade Coconut Larabars | A Sweet Baker

The whole process of making these Homemade Coconut Larabars is pretty easy.  All you need is a good food processor.   Add in one ingredient at a time and then pour it out onto some parchment paper and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty snack.

I added in mixed nuts with raisins but you can add in whatever nuts you like.  Next time I’m going to use pecans because they’re my favorite nut.  Even some all-natural peanut butter would be pretty good too.

Homemade Coconut Larabars | A Sweet Baker

Homemade Coconut Larabars | A Sweet Baker

After I took my pics for these I cut them in half again, layered them between parchment paper, sealed them in a container and put them in the freezer.  That way they’re out of sight of my kiddies (who would have them gone in no time) and I actually think they’ll taste pretty yummy straight out of the freezer!

Homemade Coconut Larabars | A Sweet Baker

Homemade Coconut Larabars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Protein packed energy bars that will satisfy your sweet-treat craving any time of the day!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup trail mix (my mix included peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and raisins)
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

Instructions

Line an 8X8 baking dish with parchment paper leaving sides hang over; set aside.
In a small bowl, add dates and fill with hot water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until dates soften up.
Once dates are soft, drain water and pour dates into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Add in shredded coconut and pulse again.
Add in mixed nuts and pulse until mixture all comes together and is finely chopped.
Add in coconut oil and pulse again until you get the desired consistency.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and flatten with a spatula.
Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
Remove pan from fridge and remove mixture by lifting both sides of the parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 bars or 16 squares.
Enjoy!

Notes

Total time includes refrigeration time.

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Cheesy Quinoa and Spinach Bake

A few years ago my husband made a tri-color quinoa dish that was so tasty.  One layer was red (from sundried tomatoes), another layer was green (from pesto), and the final layer was light brown (from plain quinoa).  It was a time consuming dish to layer all the ingredients but the final dish was so good.

It’s been a few years since we’ve had it so I thought we could make something with quinoa that was a little bit quicker to make. Something we could just throw in the oven when we get home from work.   This Cheesy Quinoa and Spinach Bake was perfect for doing just that!

Cheesy Quinoa and Spinach Bake | A Sweet Baker

As I suspected my oldest son took one look at it and didn’t even want to try it.  I had to convince him to take one bite, which he did, but his face turned up at it and he declared he wasn’t eating it.  I don’t get it.  Everything I put in it he likes (okay, maybe not the artichokes but I didn’t even tell him about those. Baby steps, people!) but he told me the quinoa reminded him of couscous.  What? Couscous?  Ya, because we eat so much couscous that he even knows what it is.  Not!

Cheesy Quinoa and Spinach Bake | A Sweet Baker

Since he pushed his plate away our daughter decided she wasn’t eating it either!  Because she has limited speech, all she kept saying was ‘yuck’, ‘blah’ as she stuck her tongue out in disgust.  This was coming from a kid who eats anything – even my scraps of kale that she finds on the kitchen counter! Was it monkey see, monkey do?  I don’t know but she clearly wasn’t having anything to do with this dish.

My middle son, however, kept telling me how good it was and that he loved the added artichokes. Hmmm, was he up to something? This is the son that could live off of Skittles and Starbursts his whole life!

Cheesy Quinoa and Spinach Bake | A Sweet Baker

In the end, two of my kids had bread and lunch meat for supper plus their leftover lunch snacks and the other kid (who apparently loved it) was my favorite child for the night!  :)

Cheesy Quinoa and Spinach Bake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

This dish is loaded with healthy, protein-packed quinoa, spinach, artichokes and Tex Mex cheese throughout.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup 3% plain yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 3/4 cups Tex Mex shredded cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for the top)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup dry)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a 9X13 glass baking pan and set aside.
In a large skillet or frying pan, add oil, onions and garlic. Saute until light brown.
Add in spinach, artichoke hearts and couple dashes of salt and pepper. Saute for another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together eggs, yogurt, sour cream and 1 1/4 cups of cheese.
Once spinach mixture is cooled, add yogurt/cheese mixture and quinoa to the pan and mix well.
Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth down with the back of a spoon.
Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over the top and bake for 35-40 minutes or until top is lightly golden brown (you can even broil the top for the last 2-3 minutes).
Remove from oven and place on wire rack.
Enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from Kansas City Mamas

Pineapple Cupcakes with Strawberry Mousse Frosting

Sunday was my Dad’s birthday and to celebrate I made these Pineapple Cupcakes with Strawberry Mousse Frosting.  They were so moist and flavorful and the mousse frosting was the perfect addition.

Pineapple Cupcakes with Strawberry Mousse Frosting | A Sweet Baker

My family and I are not big frosting/icing fans so using this mousse as the frosting was the perfect solution.  I don’t know why I never thought of it before.  There’s actually a store in town that makes a whipped-cream-type frosting that I would love to replicate. It’s light, fluffy and is the perfect sweetness.  It’s goes perfect with a cake that’s filled with a something sweet.

Pineapple Cupcakes with Strawberry Mousse Frosting | A Sweet Baker

This cupcake recipe was easy to prepare…..you even start with a boxed cake mix!  By adding the crushed pineapple and yogurt to the mix gave it the extra moistness that I like in a cupcake.  And even though a buttercream frosting is delicious I don’t want to be eating it all the time.  This Strawberry Mousse was the perfect alternative.  My whole family agreed too!

Pineapple Cupcakes with Strawberry Mousse Frosting | A Sweet Baker

I hope you enjoyed your cupcakes Dad!  Happy Birthday!

Pineapple Cupcakes with Strawberry Mousse Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 33 minutes

Cupcakes that are moist and flavourful, thanks to added goodness of pineapple and yogurt. They're topped with a light Strawberry Mousse to make these cupcakes irresistible.

Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 box of yellow or golden cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cups crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup 3% plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 box Dr. Oetker Strawberry Mousse

Instructions

Line your muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, pour in the cake mix and break all big clumps with the back of a spoon and set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the eggs, crushed pineapple, yogurt and oil. Mix until well blended.
Slowly pour in the cake mix and mix until just combined.
Using a large cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin tins about 3/4 full.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Once cupcakes have cooled for about 10-15 minutes, remove from muffin tins and let cool completely on counter.
For the Frosting:
Follow package directions for the mousse. Refrigerate.
Pipe mousse on top of cupcakes and top with a fresh strawberry.
Enjoy!
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Cupcake recipe slightly adapted from Your Cup of Cake