Orange Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies from Awesome on 20

Orange Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Orange Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies from Awesome on 20

I started a new temp job last week, and for once I’m working normal hours like a business lady in a fancy downtown building. It sucks. 8 to 5? Really? How do people do this every day of their lives? Maybe if it was important and/or interesting work it wouldn’t be so bad, but when I get home from my mind-numbing day of generally unproductive boredom, my neck is killing me, and I’m wiped out.

There’s really only one thing that makes me feel better at the end of the day, and that’s chocolate. I’ll take it any way I can get it, and sometimes I don’t make it past 3:00 pm before I need a chocolate break. Usually it’s a candy bar from the shop downstairs, but if I had a choice, a fresh baked brownie would be a super awesome way to get my chocolate fix.

Orange Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies from Awesome on 20

This brownie! Kids, this brownie is amazing! Not only is it super rich and fudgy, but it also has an orange-infused cream cheese swirls that takes it through the roof. There also might be a little bit of booze in there. How can that be a bad thing?

It’s sort of the best brownie I’ve ever had. Every time I make these, people can’t stop eating them. They’re sort of like medicine for the soul. They just make everybody happy.

Orange Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies from Awesome on 20

The corporate world is not my gig. I’m glad I don’t have to do it for very much longer. Brownies are where it’s at. You need this dose of happiness in your week. I should know.

Orange Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Yields 16
Rich, fudgy brownies with an orange-infused cream cheese swirl. Medicine for bad days.
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
For the brownies
  1. 120 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 250 grams (1 cup) sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 egg yolk
  5. 210 grams (7.4 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  6. 5 tablespoons of any combination of coffee, orange, or chocolate flavored liqueur or rum,whatever you have on hand, or coffee or espresso
  7. 165 grams (1-3/8 cup) all-purpose flour
  8. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the swirl
  1. 340 grams (12 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  2. 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
  3. 1 egg yolk
  4. 30 grams (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  5. zest of one orange
  6. 1 tablespoon orange juice
For the brownies
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a 9x9 inch baking pan with foil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together on medium high for about three minutes or until the mixture turns pale.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the egg yolk, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Slowly stir in the melted chocolate and the booze or coffee.
  5. Ditch your mixer and sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over your batter. Fold in the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour your batter into your baking pan, then get a clean bowl (or wash your only stand mixer bowl 'cause you're not Ina Garten)
For the swirl
  1. In your mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together, then add the egg yolk and flour.
  2. Finally, mix in the orange zest and juice until well combined.
  3. Scoop out dollops of cream cheese throughout your brownie mixture. There will be lots of cream cheese.
  4. Swirl the cream cheese mixture lightly with a butter knife.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I find it takes a bit longer with the cream cheese swirl. A tester will have some crumbs sticking to it. I like my brownies underdone and gooey.
  6. Now for the hardest part. Let your brownies cool completely before cutting them. It's even better if you can let them hang out in the fridge for a while. They'll cut much better that way. You can do it!
Notes
  1. Use the best chocolate you can get your hands on, but even if it's store-brand chocolate chips, these will still be great!
Adapted from Olive Magazine
Adapted from Olive Magazine
http://awesomeon20.com/
Photos by Monica Szczupider

Buttermilk pancakes from Awesome on 20

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes from Awesome on 20

Friday we talked about the massiveness that is the full English breakfast. I feel it’s only fair that I should be able to share my perfect breakfast which I will gladly eat any time of the day, buttermilk pancakes.

My dad is a legendary pancake master. No matter how many recipes I try, I’ll never be able to compare to the intuitive genius of his pancake making skills. He just throws something different in every time, but they always come out delicious. Of course, I think any breakfast you don’t have to make yourself usually tastes pretty great.

There’s just something about a stack of beautiful fluffy pancakes that makes my heart sing. Maybe it’s the association with the lazy days from my childhood. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re carbs covered in sugar. Either way, I’m on board.

Buttermilk Pancakes from Awesome on 20

This recipe comes from the incomparable Alton Brown, so you know it’s solid. No doubt, he studied these pancakes mad scientist style. And let me tell you, this recipe does not disappoint. The only thing I had to buy was buttermilk; all the other ingredients were things I pretty much always have on hand. Perhaps it’s a touch more effort than pancake mix, but I knew exactly what was in my pancake batter, and it tasted super awesome. 

Here’s a little money saving tip. Don’t waste expensive buttermilk by letting it expire in your fridge. Pour any remaining buttermilk into clean ice cube trays. Freeze it and then store the cubes in a zip top bag until you need them. I’ve tried this, and it works. The buttermilk looks a little odd as it’s melting, but it’s nothing a good stir won’t remedy.

Buttermilk Pancakes from Awesome on 20

Whether you prefer to wake up to a big pile of meat and beans, or a fluffy, happy stack of pancakes, get in your kitchen and make yourself and some people who make you laugh some breakfast. It’ll be awesome! Trust me.

Buttermilk Pancakes
Yields 10
A lovely stack of fluffy pancakes brightens any time of day.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 270 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 42 grams (3 tablespoons) sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2 cups buttermilk
  8. 4 tablespoons (half a stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled
Instructions
  1. Preheat your griddle to 350 (if you're lucky enough to have one, I don't.) or place of a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. You definitely want to have your pan preheated before you pour out that first notorious pancake.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix the dry ingredients well with a whisk.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Whisk to combine. Now step away from the whisk.
  4. Pour your wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and quickly and gently mix them together with a rubber spatula. You should use a fold/stir hybrid method. Don't worry about getting out every little lump. Try not to stir for more than 20 seconds. This is the key to fluffy pancakes.
  5. Now walk away for five minutes to let the batter rest.
  6. Put a little butter on a paper towel and give your pan a swipe. I use a half cup measure to drop my pancake batter into the pan, but I like my pancakes on the larger side of medium.
  7. Cook about two minutes a side, turning when you see the bubbles start to subside and the edges start to change color.
  8. Keep pancakes warm by covering your stack with a clean dish towel.
  9. Serve yourself a big fat stack, three is about perfect, with plenty of butter and more syrup than is probably reasonable. Expect smiles.
Adapted from I'm Just Here for More Food by Alton Brown
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Check us out at Chef in Training’s link party

Be Awesome: Perspective

This park is home to dozens of people every night.
This park is home to dozens of people every night.

As much as I whine about not having money, and as stressful as it can be to not know if you’re going to be able to pay your rent any given month, I fully realize that I have a first world, middle class point of view. My expectations for what my life can or should be are largely influenced by this perspective. I know that for the majority of the world’s population, having a second-hand Droid X instead of a new iPhone 5 is not a problem. I get that.

I recently had a second interview for a job in the development department at IHS, or the Institute for Human Services. IHS is primarily a homeless shelter, but they run a very comprehensive program, including health services, employment and housing services, and sustainability programs. Their mission is far reaching and their compassion is absolutely necessary in our community where homelessness is all around us.

As I pulled up on my moped, wearing clothes and accessories all from discount stores that were several years old with my second hand phone and my iPod nano from 2008, I was suddenly struck by just how privileged I am. It was an idea that I had always carried with me, but in that moment, it was completely tangible. 

I was surrounded by people who had very few, if any possessions. They probably didn’t wake up in the morning and worry about what they were going to wear because they were already wearing their only clothes. They weren’t worrying about paying their rent because they didn’t have a place to live. For whatever reason, they had nothing, and they needed the help of IHS. More than ever, I wanted to be a part of the team that would help them feel a bit more secure and a bit more valued.

All anybody really wants is to be treated with a bit of dignity and respect. All that really matters is that we take care of one another. Everything else is just noise.

I’m not trying to tell you to sell all your possessions and burn your driver’s license like that kid in “Into the Wild.” I still wished I could go shopping and buy myself some new work clothes today. I just think that it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that no matter what you have or don’t have, there is somebody in the world who needs your help. You have the power to give someone that gift. Donate money. Volunteer your time. Bring someone a cup of hot coffee. There is something you can do.

We’re all in this together. Let’s help each other be more awesome.

Full English Breakfast from Awesome on 20
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