Orange Cheesecake Brownies | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Orange Cheesecake Brownies

These Orange Cheesecake Brownies are incredible. The brownie layer is dense and fudgy while the cream cheesecake layer is creamy and citrusy. You won’t be able to keep your hands off them.

Orange Cheesecake Brownies | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Do you guys play video games? My husband loves them. He can play the same game for eight hours in one day if it’s got a good story. I’ve seen him build massive sumarines, fight tigers, and make friends with a post-nuclear apocalypse monster. Some of the stories are fairly compelling. I watch him playing and I think, I would read that novel. I don’t think that’s actually a thing.

Apart from a few Nintendo games as a child, I’ve never had the coordination or interest to play most video games. The only thing I ever liked was The Sims mostly because it involved ticking things off your task list and involved no hand-eye coordination. I’m extremely nerdy. I don’t know, I guess I’d rather be reading. Or baking. Especially brownies.

Orange Cheesecake Brownies | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Guys, these Orange Cheesecake Brownies are gonna blow your mind. My co-workers couldn’t stop talking about them. The brownie layer is crazy fudgy. It’s basically pure goo barely held together by a bit of flour. The orange cheesecake layer is creamy with a distinct citrus hit. The orange flavor really comes through and compliments the chocolat so beautifully.

Layered baked goods can sometimes seem complicated, and yes, we’re mixing up two different concoctions, but you’re just putting one on top of the other and baking. The only thing a little bit tricky about this is deciding when it’s baked. You want to take it out of the oven when the center still has a bit of a wobble. And you do need to let this chill before slicing into it. It’s totally worth it, though. The texture will be heavenly.

Orange Cheesecake Brownies | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Whatever you like to do to unwind, make sure there are Orange Cheesecake Brownies involved. They make everything better.

Recipe adapted from Olive Magazine.

If you want more brownie action, try these S’mores Brownies.

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake bars are rich and creamy with a crisp cookie crust. Swirled through with salted caramel, they’re beautiful and sweet at the same time. Make these for your next celebration. Everyone will love them.

I’m in the last minute Christmas panic, trying to figure out how to rearrange my schedule to fit in everything I still need to do before the holidays. I swear someday I’m going to get myself a time turner. Can one of you people who have this whole holiday thing all figured out please come and take over my life? I’m in the weeds.

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

The crazy thing about it is that I’m more stressed out this year than I’ve been in ages, and I’m not even hosting. We’re traveling to my sister-in-law’s house. I don’t even know if I’m cooking anything. You’d think I’d be nice and relaxed. Turns out, manifesting your dream job is kind of all-consuming.

Maybe we should just all drop everything and bake. I wish cheesecake was a socially acceptable Christmas gift. I’d have it made because these Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars are absolutely swoon-worthy. The crust is buttery and crisp, and the cheesecake layer is so creamy and smooth. Most of the sweetness comes from the salted caramel that’s swirled throughout. The swirls also look amazing, so you could easily serve this as dessert for Christmas dinner. I made it for Thanksgiving this year, and it was a huge hit.

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

This recipe is also much less stressful than a traditional cheesecake. We’re pressing a buttery cookie dough into the base of our pan and pre-baking it until golden. While that’s cooling, we mix up our cheesecake mixture. Pour that over the crust, then swirl in your caramel. You can make your own if you want, but I used a thick and delicious store bought salted caramel sauce that I love, and it worked great. I just popped it into the microwave for about 30 seconds to thin it out before swirling it through.

Because we’re not baking a huge layer of cheesecake, we don’t have to worry as much about cracks. Just make sure you don’t overbake it. Pull it out of the oven when there’s still a slight wobble in the center. It will continue to cook for a few minutes out of the oven and firm up when it chills.

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Soon we’ll be ready to sink deep into that holiday cheer. If there are Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars involved, all the better for everyone. It’s gonna be awesome.

Recipe adapted from Shauna Sever.

Looking for more awesome caramel cheesecake ideas? Try this Caramel Toffee Cheesecake.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve been stalling on this post for weeks. For one thing, I have a broken finger, so a lot of my energy has been going in to feeling sorry for myself which I know I shouldn’t do. I haven’t been able to break that spell yet.

I also recently checked a book out from the library on aromatherapy, so I’ve become slightly obsessed with procuring essential oils to make and making magic potions. I’m going to solve all my problems with essential oils and start down the road of becoming a full blown witch. What could go wrong?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve shared this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake before. A million years ago when I knew even less what I’m doing than I do now. This cheesecake has a chocolate cookie base, a rich and creamy peanut butter cheesecake layer, and a luscious chocolate sour cream topping. It’s heavenly, and I dare you to stop eating it.

Cheesecake can be a bit fiddly, but this one is very straightforward. Just be sure that all your cheesecake ingredients are at room temperature before you get started, and mix it a few seconds longer than you think is necessary to make sure you have a totally smooth mixture. No water bath needed. And don’t panic if there’s a crack or two because we’re covering the whole thing in chocolate. Everything will be more than fine.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake is absolute magic. Get in your kitchen and create something awesome.

Recipe by Nigella Lawson

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me here in Scotland because I’m basically the only person I know who even cares about its existence. It’s my favorite because the food is the star, and I don’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift or looking a certain way. I just have to put a beautiful meal on the table for people I love, and even though it can get stressful, it’s also so much fun.

I may be a failed blogger and a million years behind the times, but just in case I’m not alone in not yet planning my Thanksgiving menu, here are the 34 absolutely awesome recipes I’m going to choose from for my dinner next Saturday. Enjoy your days off, American friends. I’ll be at work remembering how thankful I am to have a job that allows me to pay for imported cans of pumpkin puree.

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day


Cran-Orange-Apple Juice – for anyone who doesn’t want alcohol, or as a mixer for anyone who does.

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry Margarita

Apple Margarita

Orange & Amaretto Cider

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

Pumpkin Spice White Russians

Apple Brandy Punch

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail

Garlic & Thyme Baked Camembert | How To Be Awesome on $20 a Day

To Get Things Started

Garlic & Thyme Baked Camembert

Cranberry Brie Bites

Apple Butter & Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese – cut into cute little triangles for snacking

Cranberry Shoyu Sausages

Holiday Brie

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The Main Event

Red Currant Glazed Ham – because there’s no law saying you have to serve a big turkey

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy – for a traditional meal for a small crowd

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf – our family tradition

Rosemary Potato Rolls from Awesome on 20

Sides (obviously the best part)

Sweet Potato Rolls

Ridiculously Awesome Mashed Potatoes

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Maple Butter

Rosemary Potato Rolls

Sweet Potato Gratin

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day


Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream – to go with all your pie

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Maple Cheesecake

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake – this one tastes most like traditional pumpkin pie

Baked Sweet Potato Brulee – simplest “dessert” of all time

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Pumpkin Cake

No-Bake Double-Layer Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice Brownies

Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cakes

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Breakfast (for your overnight guests)

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Scones

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Have we all started permanently wearing our stretchy pants for the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday party bonanza? I miss the days when I actually had to wear spandex to work. What do you think would happen if I showed up in tights and a leotard at my East End Glasgow school? Can we sit on the floor? Desks are for suckers.

This whole moving debacle is putting a a massive wrench in my plan to cook all the things. I might maybe sort of be co-hosting a waffle party this weekend, but I’m about to put most of the stuff in my kitchen into a box. I may not know who I am for a while.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Before moving madness hit, I made you a cheesecake. Actually, I made you a White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake that you can serve as your Christmas dessert this year. Prepare to be loved by everyone.

This cheesecake has a chocolate cookie base and creamy white chocolate peppermint cheesecake studded with peppermint bark, then the whole thing is topped off with a white chocolate mousse and scattered with crushed candy canes. Not only is it festive and beautiful, but it’s one of the best cheesecake’s I’ve ever eaten.

If you can’t get peppermint bark where you live, you can make your own. It’s pretty easy. Here’s the peppermint bark recipe I used. Don’t worry about fancy molds. Just spread the chocolate out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Oh, and you only need half of this for the cheesecake. You can only make half or save the other half for snacking.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I can’t wait until I can invite the world over for dinner in our new place. Until then, please please please make this White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake. It’s so very awesome.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
Serves 12
White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake had better be in your face very very soon, like now.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
10 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
10 hr
For the crust
  1. 2 cups (around 20 cookies) chocolate cookie crumbs (like oreos or bourbon biscuits)
  2. 3 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 4 ounces white chocolate, melted
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons flour
  5. 1-1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  8. 3 eggs
  9. Approximately 1-1/2 cups pepermint bark pieces
For the mousse
  1. 1/2 cups cool whip, thawed
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 2 ounces white chocolate, melted
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  6. Crushed peppermint candies, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C). Prepare your 9-inch springform pan by wrapping the outside with plastic wrap and then foil to keep any water from seeping in when you put it in a water bath.
  2. Use your food processor to crush up your cookies into fine crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, you can put the cookies in a zip top bag and and smash them with a rolling pin or other heavy object.)
  3. Add the melted butter to the bread crumbs and pulse until your crumbs resemble wet sand.
  4. Pour your crumb mixture into your springform pan, and press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake your crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool while you get on with your cheesecake filling.
  5. Reduce oven heat to 325.
  6. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat your cream cheese until smooth. Next beat in the sugar, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  7. Beat in the melted white chocolate, flour, heavy cream, salt, and peppermint extract, and give the bowl another scrape.
  8. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Scrape and beat once more to make sure the mixture is completely smooth.
  9. Scatter your peppermint bark pieces evenly over your crust. Pour your cheesecake mixture over the crust and peppermint bark.
  10. Place your springform pan into a large roasting pan. Place the whole thing in the oven. Pull the rack out a bit so you can reach it easier. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it's about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Gently push the oven rack back into place, close the door, and bake your cheesecake for an hour.
  11. When the hour is up, turn off the oven, but don't open the door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 45 minutes.
  12. Remove the springform pan from the water bath and allow the cheesecake to cool on the counter for an hour. Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to cool for at least four hours before adding the mousse.
  13. To make the white chocolate mousse, add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl, and beat together until thick and smooth.
  14. Carefully spread the mousse over the top of the cheesecake, and return it to the fridge for another four hours at least.
  15. To add a bit of festive cheer, crush up a candy cane, and sprinkle the bits over your cheesecake just before serving. They'll be crunchy the first time around, but they'll melt in the fridge. It' fine. They make a cool watercolor effect and still impart peppermint flavor.
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
How to be Awesome on $20 a day

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