Friday, May 13, 2011

Cheesecake brownies

I wanted to thank you all for reminding me of the great things that come along with living in a university town. Examples. Most university towns are home to some of the greatest ethnic eats! It must have something to do with the wide variety of backgrounds of the people living and working at the university. While walking down State street you will pass Ethiopian, Laotian, Greek, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian, Afghanistani, Mexican and five ice cream shops. Just to name a few. And yes, ice cream is its own genre of food.



They also have the best options for grocery shopping. To go along with the traditional mega grocery store, you can find the wholesaler, the food co-ops (yes, plural), the employee owned warehouse store, the organic grocery and Trader Joes. Love it. There are also multiple Asian and Indian markets. My favorite places to go and buy random food products, often with non-English labels. Just remember your cash, the international markets rarely take credit.

There are also the great events that take place through the year. There is “Kites on Ice” in the winter, Arboretum tours in the spring and Hippie Christmas in the summer. Hippie Christmas you ask? Well, I’m sure that it happens in every university town, right around move-in time. In Madison, hippie Christmas is always the week of August 15th.

The vast majority of leases end at noon on August 14th and you move into your new apartment as soon as you can get keys on the 15th. The night of August 14th, it is very likely that you will find people either a. partying all night, or b. sleeping on their front lawns guarding their stuff. The streets are piled high with some of the funkiest couches you have ever seen and each year I wonder how there can be more 1970’s couches. Do old couches come to Madison to die? Not only do you find couches, but you also find beds, shelves and other furniture, cookware, clothes and the list goes on and on.


Those not afraid of picking through piles on the side of the road view this stuff as gold. The Madison hippies love August 15th. When I moved from one apartment to another in the summer of my first year I put a bunch of stuff at the curb on top of an already huge pile. When I came out twenty minutes later to deposit more hippie gold, my bookshelves were already gone. Way to pounce hippies, I hope your books enjoyed their new home.

Cheesecake brownies
Adapted from Fat Witch Brownies

8 tbsp butter
1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
2 tbsp sugar
1 ¼ cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
¼ tsp salt

Grease a 12-cup muffin pan and heat the oven to 350 °F. Melt butter and chocolate chips in a small pan over low heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Mix cream cheese and 1 tbsp sugar until combined. Add 1 egg and beat until blended.

Combine 1 ¼ cup sugar and 3 eggs (one at a time) in a large bowl, beat until smooth and yellow. Add vanilla and chocolate/butter mixture. Stir until combined. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined. You don’t want any streaks of flour.

Add ¼ cup batter to each muffin cup. Add 1-2tbsp cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter followed by 1-2 tbsp more brownie batter on the top.

Bake for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just crumbs attached. Remove from the muffin tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. Eat warm with ice cream!
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