Guinness & Baileys Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Brownies are one of the few things I almost never make from scratch. Costco sells 6-packs of Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix which is what I nearly always use. Super chocolately, even more super easy, and the perfect fudgy texture that I love. Honestly, most homemade brownies are not as consistently good as this mix.

However I have been known to doctor up the mix a bit, swirling in peanut butter or folding in additional mix-ins. Brownies are one of my go-to desserts for potlucks because we always have them on hand and they are always well received; the fact that they only require five minutes of active cooking time is also a huge bonus.

A few weeks ago I decided to try out a cheesecake swirl, blending up the standard cream cheese and sugar combination that is beloved by many. It was, expectedly, a huge hit. Given the upcoming holiday, this gave me the idea to blend in typical St. Patrick’s Day flavors as another option to add to my repertoire.

Admittedly, this makes the recipe a tad more time consuming as reducing the Guinness is not a quick process. Fortunately you can do this ahead of time and just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. This makes the day-of process much quicker and allows you to do the reduction while you’re already minding something on the stove. It’s relatively low-maintenance so plopping it on a back burner while you make dinner would work just swell.

Despite having an entire bottle of Guinness, the change is subtle. Rather than smacking you in the face with beer, it simply enhances the chocolate and adds a nice robustness to the flavor profile. If you didn’t know it was in there, it might be challenging to put your finger on the mystery addition. It blends perfectly with the Baileys cream cheese for a supremely decadent but not extravagant dessert experience. And honestly, if you want to skip the Guinness part and just swirl in the Baileys cream cheese to regular ‘ole brownies, I would not judge you one bit. You could also skip the reduction step and just measure out standard beer, but I expect the flavor would be even less pronounced. (I also had the idea that Kahlúa in lieu of Guinness would be an excellent flavor pairing, and this may be my next brownie adventure.)

If you need an easy but delicious St. Paddy’s Day dessert, this could be the recipe for you. And if you’re looking for a crazier and more kapowy Guinness experience, then Irish Car Bomb Sundaes might be right up your alley.

Guinness & Baileys Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Makes one 8×8 pan

Ingredients

1 bottle Guinness beer

1 box Ghirardelli brownie mix (I use Triple Chocolate)
1/3 cup vegetable oil¹
1 egg

8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Baileys liqueur

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, simmer Guinness until reduced to 1/3 cup¹. Pour into a medium bowl and let cool about 10 minutes or until ready to use (this is a great step to do ahead of time while you’re cooking something else on the stove).
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a square pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Add oil and egg and mix until well combined. Stir in brownie mix until just combined.
  4. Reserve about 1/2 cup of brownie mix, and spread remainder into prepared pan.
  5. In a small bowl and using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy.
  6. Beat in egg and sugar until well combined, then beat in Baileys until just combined.
  7. Spread evenly atop brownie mix.
  8. With reserved mix, add spoonfuls on to the cream cheese mixture, then use a table knife to swirl in a pattern.
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until brownies are still slightly wiggly but not watery.
  10. Allow to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes, then lift parchment paper to remove and cool completely.
  11. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares, wiping knife between each cut for clean slices.

Notes

¹ Or however much water/oil your brownie specific mix calls for.

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Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

 [Welcome to Frozen Friday! In honor of National Ice Cream Month, I am sharing a new ice cream recipe each Friday morning. In case you missed them, be sure to check out the previous recipes, s’mores and mimosa!]
 
Is it just me, or is July flying by? I feel like May was only a few weeks ago and here it is with August right around the corner. Insane. At least until I take the weather into account. Montana has been met with somewhat of a heatwave this week, and I’m super grateful we don’t get much humidity along with it.
 

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

With hot weather comes extra cravings for cold treats, so hopefully you’re ready for a new flavor. The world is full of cheesecake ice creams, usually strawberry, and today we’ll had one more to the mix. I chose blueberry due to the abundance in my freezer, but you could definitely substitute blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, or whatever your favorite is.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

The ice cream itself is a mild cheesecake flavor made more interesting with the addition of cardamom. Although I actually really love the flavor of cardamom, it rarely occurs to me to use it outside of my Christmas krumkake-making sessions with my family. It’s a wonderful spice with a bit more intrigue than cinnamon, and is ready to up the ante in your baking adventures. A few years ago I discovered cardamom cream cheese frosting, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a pleasantly spiced and cream cheesy ice cream to add to your repertoire, and is excellent on its own. The blueberry sauce swirl not only adds wonderful flavor, but a gorgeous color as well. You can stir it in as much or as little as you like, depending on whether you prefer it streaky or entirely purple.

Although cheesecake ice cream often contains a Graham cracker crust component, I opted not to add one. Personally it adds a level of sweetness I am not looking for, and it alters the texture as well. If you’re missing it, however, you can certainly crumble your favorite Graham cracker crust into the ice cream, or use it as a topping.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

I’ve included recipes for both cardamom cheesecake ice cream and a blueberry sauce below. If you’re in a bind, you can substitute canned blueberry pie filling, but I promise this sauce is quite simple to make, just remember to allow for chilling time. You likely will not have any leftover sauce, so make an extra batch (with extra cornstarch! see note) if that saddens you. Not a fan of cardamom? Substitute cinnamon or nutmeg, or leave it out entirely. If you’re looking to pump up the cream cheese flavor, you can try adding extra cream cheese to the base, or you can add a tablespoon or two of dry Cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a lovely recipe for these hot summer days, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup egg substitute

1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp ground cardamom1

1-2 Tbsp dry Cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix (optional)2

Directions

  1. Warm cream cheese in the microwave until easily stirred (if it isn’t already), about 30 seconds.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until mixture is smooth.
  3. (If you don’t have a blender, use a hand mixer. Alternatively, mix cream cheese and sugar first, then slowly whisk in liquids until completely combined and smooth. Whisk in vanilla and cardamom.)
  4. Cover bowl (or keep it lidded in the blender container) and store in the refrigerator until completely chilled, or overnight.
  5. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight. Or, follow Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe below.
  6. Top with crushed Graham crackers or Graham cracker crust for extra flair and crunch.

Notes

1 I used 1.5 tsp, but I think I’ll use 2 next time because I like a pretty strong flavor. If you don’t like cardamom, you can leave it out or substitute cinnamon or nutmeg, adjusting quantities to your preference.

I did not add this, but if you want it super cream cheese tasting, this is the easiest way to pump up the flavor.

Blueberry Sauce3

Borrowed from My Baking Addiction
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water

1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine blueberries, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a low boil.
  2. Mix cornstarch and 1 Tbsp cold water until completely combined. Slowly stream into the blueberries, stirring constantly but gently, and simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and zest, mashing blueberries a little.
  4. Serve on your favorite French toast, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or mix in to Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (below).
  5. Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat slightly as necessary.

Notes

This is the same recipe I use for topping waffles and Overnight French Toast, but with less cornstarch for a thinner sauce, which keeps it smoother when frozen in the ice cream. If you want to make it as a topping, use 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 recipe cheesecake ice cream, chilled but not churned (or *just* churned)
1 recipe of thin blueberry sauce, chilled

Directions

  1. If you haven’t churned the ice cream already, place a freezer-safe bowl in the freezer.
  2. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  3. Remove bowl from freezer, and drizzle some blueberry sauce on the bottom.
  4. Gently spread about one cup of ice cream into the bowl, and top with another drizzle of blueberry sauce. Avoid stirring if you don’t want your ice cream to be completely blue/purple. Repeat with remaining ice cream and sauce. If desired, gently swirl with a table knife.
  5. Return bowl to freezer for about 3 hours, or until ice cream is firm.
  6. Serve solo or topped with extra sauce and crushed Graham crackers (or crust.)

Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Most of the time I start my days with a bowl of cinnamon-raisin oatmeal or a plate of veggie scrambled eggs. Particularly when M is out of town, I rarely put in the effort to treat myself to pancakes or similar, although I do occasionally have Belgian waffles for dinner. (Waffles are suitable for every meal, and also dessert.)

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

However, after an incredibly windy 10-mile run last Saturday, I decided to treat myself to something I hadn’t made in a long time: stuffed French toast. French toast is actually one of my favorite breakfasts but I rarely make it for no real reason other than I enjoy having leftover waffle batter for the next few days. Nonetheless, with some delightful potato buttermilk bread sitting on the counter and a dollop of cream cheese in the fridge, it seemed the perfect day for a more decadent confection.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

With melty cream cheese and my favorite jam in every bite, a thin spread of butter and a dusting of powdered sugar is all that’s needed to top this delightful creation. Even better, it’s no more difficult than regular French toast since basically you are just making cream cheese and jam sandwiches for your first step. It’s important to make sure your bread gets good and soaked with the egg mixture to ensure it results in a soft but golden brown bread to wrap those sweet insides.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

Fry on medium-low to make sure the cream cheese and jam gets nice and warm before the outside is overdone. The extra minutes of cooking is well worth the finished experience, I promise. If you’re looking for an extra rich option, top with a drizzle of maple syrup or homemade whipped cream, but just a little butter and powdered sugar is definitely my favorite.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a great option for Sunday brunch (or Tuesday brunch, or any brunch, or dinner, I don’t judge), and sure to please your Valentine. Don’t have a Valentine? Be your own Valentine and please yourself with an amazing breakfast. Your morning cup of coffee is a perfect addition; a side of bacon and/or eggs balances the sweet with some salty protein.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

I’ve printed the recipe as a serving for one so you can make it as is or easily scale it up as needed to feed the whole family. It’s best hot off the griddle but if you’re cooking for more people than fits in one batch, you should be able to keep them warm in the oven so you can all eat together.

Whip up a batch of stuffed French toast this weekend for a special treat, then enlist those recipients to clean up your kitchen. It’s really the least they can do.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients per serving

2 slices bread (I like to use buttermilk)
1-2 Tbsp cream cheese, softened1
1-2 Tbsp Raspberry Rhubarb jam1

1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat griddle or frying pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Spread cream cheese on one slice of bread, and jam on the other. Place cream cheese slice (spread sides together) on the jam slice to form a sandwich.
  3. In a shallow bowl large enough to fit your bread, whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended.
  4. Place your bread into the egg mixture for 1-2 minutes each side, until bread looks soaked through. (If you’re just making one serving, it should soak up almost all the liquid.)
  5. Fry until golden brown, 2-4 minutes per side. (I like to put a lid on the frying pan to help keep the heat in, but it’s not strictly necessary.)
  6. Serve immediately topped with butter and powdered sugar, or a drizzle of maple syrup for an extra decadent treat.

Notes

You can use basically any jam or sauce, this one is just my favorite. As for the amounts, I like two tablespoons of each for a decadent filling, but you can certainly use less if you prefer a less rich breakfast. If your cream cheese is hard to spread, soften it in the microwave in ten-second intervals. It’s going to be heated anyway so if you slightly over-melt it that’s no big deal.

Cardamom Carrot Cupcakes

Hello all you fine people, hope your October is going splendidly. I have finished two of three half marathons for the month (in Victoria, BC and Chattanooga, TN) and am currently spending the week in Iowa for work before heading to Oregon for my final race. Quite the trip seeing several friends and doing all the races, but I’m sure I’ll be glad to be home next week.

Cardamom Carrot Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

In any case, I’ve gone back to my usual sugary treats and have a lovely cupcake recipe for you today. During the month of September I gave up foods with added sugar (which was awful and I’ll probably never do that again) and so the first weekend of October I went a little crazy with the baking and made pumpkin bread, these cupcakes, and a surprise bonus post for next week. (Spoiler: it involves pumpkin.) I used new mini loaf pans for the pumpkin bread and they worked fantastically. (These pans, if you’re curious.)

Cardamom Carrot Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

I’d been wanting to make these cupcakes for awhile now, but carrot always feels like fall to me so I put it off all summer long. Although the original recipe is not spiced, I used spices from another Cupcake Project recipe I’d made several years ago. I’d enjoyed the latter recipe greatly but with the multitude of flavors going on it was just a bit overwhelming for me. When she posted her “spring” version earlier this year, it seemed much more my speed.

Cardamom Carrot Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

A light carrot and honey flavor enhanced with a few fall spices makes for a wonderful and somewhat unique flavor. The texture of the cupcake is fantastic and they rose perfectly for me which is always a nice surprise. Also, I tried out these cupcake liners I bought at Costco earlier this year and they are AMAZING. They unwrap from the cupcake with absolutely zero sticking which I was extremely excited about. Cannot recommend them enough.

Cardamom Carrot Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

In any case, if you’re looking for a fall treat that is maybe a little different from the norm, these are the cupcakes for you. I decided to pair them with the frosting from the original recipe because it is incredible and a totally different flavor from the usual maple and cinnamon of the season.

Cardamom Carrot Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

I hope you enjoy the concoction or use the recipes to create your own. And also check back next week for a fun Halloween idea.

Cardamom Carrot Cupcakes

Adapted from Cupcake Project
Makes about 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp

2 eggs

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 18 cupcake wells with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Mix in honey and butter (yes, by hand) until completely combined.
  4. Stir in eggs one at a time, then add lemon juice.
  5. Fold in carrots and crystallized ginger.
  6. Fill each cupcake well with about 1/4 cup of batter, and bake 20 minutes. Tops should spring back when pressed gently.
  7. Let cool completely, then frost as desired.

Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

Borrowed from Cupcake Project
Frosts 14-20 cupcakes

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. This will take a couple of minutes.
  2. Gently stir in powdered sugar one cup at a time, adding more or less if you prefer a stiffer or looser frosting, respectively.
  3. Beat in cardamom and vanilla until completely combined and mixture is fluffy again, about 30 seconds.
  4. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes and enjoy.