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 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
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Homemade Strawberry Nutri Grain Bars

It’s that time of year again when I’m starting to run out of homemade snack ideas.  Even though I just had a break from baking treats/snacks, I feel like a need some new ideas and inspiration.

I want my kids to have a little treat in their lunch everyday but I also want it to be somewhat healthy. That’s when I thought about making these Homemade Strawberry Nutri Grain Bars.  My kids like the store-bought version but I don’t tend to buy them often.  So I knew these would be a hit if they found them in their lunch bags.

Homemade Strawberry Nutri Grain Bars | A Sweet Baker

When the kids got home from school they wanted to have another one of these bars for a snack.  Yes! They were a hit! These bars are something I can make again for their lunches, especially since I can change up the fruit inside to whatever I have on hand.

Next time I make these I’m definitely making a double batch since this recipe only makes 8 bars.  That doesn’t last long in my house!  I know these wouldn’t go to waste with three growing kids who love to eat!

Homemade Strawberry Nutri Grain Bars | A Sweet Baker

This week I’m going to make it my mission to come up with some more healthy snack ideas so that I can send my kids to school with tasty, nutritious snacks and avoid the store-bought treats.  Everyone, I’m sure, gets stuck in a rut with it comes to their kids lunches so I hope I can give you some inspiration in the coming weeks!

Homemade Strawberry Nutri Grain Bars | A Sweet Baker

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Recipe slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest

Sour Cream Lemon Bars #GayLeaFoods

Today, I bring you Sour Cream Lemon Bars.  A little burst of sunshine right before the first day of Spring.

Lemon Bars are a dessert that reminds me of my family and growing up.  My mom always had her go-to desserts that never failed. Her Homemade Cheesecake always was a bit hit in our house, along with her Lemon Bars, Mandarin Orange Cake and her Butterscotch Marshmallow Squares at Christmastime.

Sour Cream Lemon Bars | A Sweet Baker

I just spent a whole week away with my family at March Break and I really got a chance to see how we all interact and how we deal with each other spending a week sharing one room.  For the most part it was a successful trip but one week in close quarters was long enough!

One main goal of this trip for my husband and myself was to teach our children about being grateful and appreciative for what we have.  As we travelled to our resort my children got to see first-hand how other people live and how much they can live without and still be happy.  We passed houses that were made out of cinder blocks with no windows and some houses that were as big as our whole kitchen.  They were amazed at the conditions of the houses and buildings and wanted to help.

We brought with us some toiletries and about a dozen pairs of gently used shoes that we were able to give out to a family who had twin boys about the same age as our sons.  I was surprised at how eager my kids were to hand out their own stuff to those in need. Every time we went out to eat my kids would want to personally give the tip to the waiter/waitress and say thank you.  When you think your time and effort to teach your children positive values are going unseen, it takes moments like these for you to see that your hard work as a parent is paying off.

Sour Cream Lemon Bars | A Sweet Baker

Without family, however, I don’t think we would all be the people we are today.  They shape our upbringing, teach us valuable lessons, how to deal with conflict, but most importantly, they teach us to love unconditionally.

Another family that I’d like to talk about this week is the Gay Lea Foods Family.  I’ve been honoured to be a Gay Lea Ambassador over the past year and I am proud to feature their products in my baking. They are a family of farmers who are dedicated to providing the best products to their customers.

Gay Lea Sour Cream | A Sweet Baker

Gay Lea’s story began back in 1958 as a small group of Ontario farmers who came together with a common vision – to create a dairy co-operative.  They felt they could build a better future for themselves and their communities by supporting one another, by working collaboratively and living according to their co-operative principles.  Even though, over the years, things have changed and tastes have evolved they haven’t changed their values.  After all, their values were born on the farm.

Sour Cream Lemon Bars with Gay Lea Butter | A Sweet Baker

It takes a whole family of farmers, workers at the production and distribution facilities and every other Gay Lea employee a commitment, passion and collaboration to provide a product that takes no short-cuts on quality.  Gay Lea is proud of its family and are proud to share their story.  They know that today’s customers want real products they can trust – and Gay Lea definitely delivers on that.

Sour Cream Lemon Bars | A Sweet Baker

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Recipe adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Gay Lea Milk | A Sweet Baker

“Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Gluten Free Mint Nanaimo Bars {Guest Post – The Inspired Home}

Hi everyone!  I am so happy to have Holly and Andrea here from The Inspired Home to help me out this week.  If you’re looking for DIY ideas,  all things Kids, recipe inspiration, decor ideas or great reviews then you should swing by The Inspired Home for sure!

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day I thought these Gluten Free Mint Nanaimo Bars would be the perfect dessert to help celebrate!

So take it away Holly!

Gluten Free Mint Nanaimo Bars - The Inspired Home

One of the other favourite holiday treats mentioned  by my nearest and dearest (other than Scottish Shortbread) was Mint Nanaimo Bars. I admit, I did start to drool slightly when these were mentioned. The textured bottom with coconut melts into your mouth, followed by the sinfully delicious creamy sweet filling, then the big finish – a crisp crackle of sweet chocolate on top. It was difficult not to eat all of these before we sent them on to family and friends.

I didn’t realize that the original recipe for Nanaimo Bars actually comes from Nanaimo, British Columbia. With the name, I suppose it makes perfect sense that this delightful treat is Canadian-made! I also love the fact that is no bake, so literally, you throw those terrific layers together and that’s the end of it. I find the layering works best when you freeze it in between putting each layer together.

This may not have been the healthiest holiday recipe I made recently but I was determined to give it a kick of nutrition, so I naturally dyed the custard using spinach and used gluten-free products too. My husband didn’t know the difference and hoovered them up. I didn’t tell him either. PS. If you see my sister enjoying her homemade Mint Nanaimo Bars, don’t tell her they are healthy and gluten-free!

Gluten Free Mint Nanimo Bars | The Inspired Home

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Just some of the things that caught my eye from The Inspired Home:

DIY Juice Cleanse

DIY Juice Cleanse | The Inspired Home

Toddler Meal Ideas

Toddler Meal Ideas | The Inspired Home

How To Treat A Cold Naturally

How To Treat A Cold Naturally | The Inspired Home

You can check out all of the other delicious recipes, DIY tips, kids ideas, decor inspiration and reviews from The Inspired Home here:

  The Inspired Home  ♥  @theinspiredhome   ♥  Pinterest   ♥   Instagram   ♥    Facebook

Thanks so much ladies!  I can’t thank you enough for helping me out while I enjoy my trip with my family!