Momofuku Malt Cake

Momofuku Malt CakeSometimes you just need something ridiculous for dessert. When that happens, you need to turn to Momofuku.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

I’ve always been a pretty good student. Well, that may actually be a slight understatement. I am. such. a. nerd. I mean, I have a PhD in molecular biology for God’s sake. I learned pretty early on that schoolwork was something I just got. Trigonometry? No worries. Advanced American History? Check. In high school, I was in Science Olympiad AND History Bowl. In college, I only stopped calculus when they somehow worked in a 4th dimension (that insanity does NOT make sense). But for everyone, there’s something. There’s some achilles heel. For me, it wasn’t organic chemistry or P-chem (yes it was. P-chem is not okay); it was spelling.

Now, please keep in mind that I WRITE FOR A LIVING (I’m a medical writer), but spelling man, it’s rough. Alphabetical order made me cry in 3rd grade–no, really, I cried AND my teacher sent a note home to tell my parents I’d had a rough day. I still to this day remember how I WANTED alphabetical order to work and still contend that there was logic behind my method. Know what I still can’t spell? Rabbit. Is there 1 “b” and 2 “t”s, or the other way around? I before E, I will never get you right. Also, pumpkin. There should be no “p” in the middle of that word. Pumkin. So much cuter. Totally wrong.

Luckily, the inability to spell the name of food does not preclude me from eating it. Now don’t freak out, I know what you’re thinking − pumpkin and chocolate? Who does that? Well, I do and you should too, because…it’s way way better than I thought it was going to be.

Sometimes I doubt myself. Sometimes, when Im slapping things together in the kitchen, I’m giggling at how ridiculous I am. This will never work, Cali. What a waste of chocolate…and pumpkin. But more often than not, it does. Although a good 20 years after figuring out I was a bona fide nerd, I’ve now learned that baking skills, I have; it’s still spelling skills that I do not.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

Inspired by Smitten Kitchen. Brownie recipe here.

2 sticks butter, melted
1 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
3 lg eggs
1 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c walnuts (optional; I always leave them out)

Pumpkin Cheesecake
6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 c canned pumpkin
1 egg
1/4 t cinnamon
pinch salt

  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x13″ pan

Make the brownie layer:

  • In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugars and cocoa powder
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and mix to combine
  • Stir in the vanilla and mix well

Make the cheesecake layer:

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy
  • Add the sugar and beat until combined
  • Add the pumpkin and vanilla and beat until combined
  • Add the egg, cinnamon, and salt and beat until smooth

Assemble and bake the brownies:

  • Pour the brownie batter into the bottom of the pan and smooth with a knife or spatula
  • Dollop the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the top of the brownies; the majority of the brownies will be covered
  • Using a knife, swirl the brownies and cheesecake together so that some of the brownie shows through
  • Bake ~35-40 min or until the cheesecake in the middle of the pan is just set; a toothpick inserted into the middle will still have crumbs

Rocky Mountain Bars

Oh, Rocky Mountain Bars, I have such fond, fond memories of you. You were the best part of a birthday, when you came to school with me to share with the class. You know, back in the stone ages when that sort of thing was allowed and no one was worried about food allergies or food poisoning; back when the world was fun. Your fudgy texture, your crispy bottoms, your puffy marshmallows-just heaven to an eight year old.

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Guinness and Chocolate Ice Cream

We sprung forward this weekend and lost a precious hour of sleep. It’s been in the 60’s the last couple of days. The crocuses are up and the trees are budding…and I’m sneezing…a lot. If this doesn’t mean that spring is actually, really, officially here, Mother Nature and I are going to have a serious talk. In honor of this momentous occasion (and that glorious upcoming “holiday”), I made ice cream. Guinness-chocolate ice cream to be exact.

Erin go bragh!

The Best Chocolate Mousse

I can’t say I’m particularly choosy with my affections; there are lots of things that I love. All the Holidays fall into this category, as do half of the seasons. I love food (all of it), I love wine (most of it), I love my friends, I love my cats ( and dogs too), I love my family. I love thunderstorms and blue skies and snow. I love the ocean and I love the mountains. I love New Orleans and Chicago and New York and San Francisco (I do not love L.A.). I love peanut butter and chocolate and anything that combines the two. I love birds. I love sushi. I love the smell of bergamot. I thought I didn’t like blueberries, but slowly I’ve come to love those too. I love bright nail polish and tall boots and hoop earrings (always have, always will). I love short skirts. I love about 1000 tv shows, some worthy, some not (it’s a weakness). I love books and I love my magazines, even though I barely have enough time to read them each month. I love a dinner party. I LOVE a themed dinner party. And I LOVE a Oscars themed dinner party.

And the Oscar goes to…

Chocolate-Walnut Banana Cake

For me, banana bread and banana cake just do not get old. For starters, banana bread batter is, hands-down, the best batter to eat straight from a bowl. It’s just sweet and fragrant and usually tastes strongly of butter, even though there’s rarely much butter in it. The bananas give it a thick, sticky, smooth mouth feel that cannot be beat and ensure that the final product is always moist. Second, it’s just so easy! You can keep over-ripe bananas in your freezer and bust them out any time that you just feel like baking. Plus, fruit means it’s good for you, amIright?

Cake ahead