With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

I am so so excited to share these peanut butter cheesecake swirl brownies with you today!  Not only because they are awesome, but also because they are brought to you not only by myself, but also by the Loveland Center in Venice Florida.

When I heard a few weeks ago that Loveland was participating in The Giving Partner 36 Hour Challenge, an online only fundraising event, I knew I wanted to make something super special to celebrate even though I couldn't be there in person.

At first I thought about making something to integrate their brand new logo, which I happen to really love.

But then I realized, what better way to show how important I think the work done at Loveland is than through my own personal experience with the cause that they serve.

I have a pretty small family.  Small but great.  One of the most wonderful members of my family, let alone one of the greatest people I've ever had the pleasure to know, is my cousin Trisha.

If anyone has the right to complain about the cards they've been dealt in life, it's her.  And yet she never once has.  She has the funny way of putting things into perspective for me and helping me to remember what it's all about.

A prime example would be when one day I was chatting with her about my love of traveling and all the places I'd love to visit one day.  I asked her where she would go if she could travel absolutely anywhere in the world.

After a little thought she looked at me and said, "Mare, I think I'd come to your house and hang out with you."

Trish is, simply put, amazing.  And not to mention one of my favorite people to bake with.

Therefore when I was thinking about what I would make to help celebrate Loveland's participation in the 36 hour challenge, I knew brownies (one of Trish and I's favorite thing to bake together) were the perfect way to praise all that they do.

To quote Loveland themselves,

 "Loveland Center focuses on offering individualized services which empower adults with developmental disabilities to make informed decisions in regard to work, lifestyle and citizenship so that they may become more self-sufficient and interconnected within the community."

I can say first hand that the time I have volunteered there has been well spent.  They do wonderful work.  

The Giving Partner 36 Hour Challenge is an online only fundraising event where every donation received will be automatically doubled. This event begins at 6:00am on Tuesday, March 27th and ends at 6:00pm on Wednesday, March 28th.

Loveland is competing against over 100 local nonprofits for the funding out of $500,000 available.

And there is more than one way for you to help out!

1.) Call and make a donation at (941)-685-0720.
2.) Go to www.givingpartnerchallenge.org, search for Loveland Center and donate in that way.
3.) Like them on Facebook.
4.) Check out their website and learn more about what they do.

I don't put all of my effort behind just any cause, but for me this one is absolutely worth it.  So definitely take a minute and check it all out if you can.

I would also like to take this moment to say thank you to my wonderful mom, who has encouraged me from my youngest days that not only should every person be accepted for exactly who they are, but that they should be positively embraced for it as well.  No matter what.  

If I am half as good a person as I try to be most days, it is because of you.

But for now, Loveland and Trisha, these brownies are for you.


Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Servings: 30-36


For Brownies:
- 14 Tbsp unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
- 6 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup flour

For Peanut Butter Swirl
- 8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Line a 9x13 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with baking spray.  In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate chips and butter and stir until smooth.  Take off of the heat and whisk in sugar, cocoa powder, cream cheese, and eggs until smooth.  Whisk in vanilla and salt until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Stir in flour until equally distributed.

Pour batter into pan and smooth with a spatula.

To make the peanut butter swirl combine peanut butter, cream cheese, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat until creamy (1-2 minutes).  Add vanilla and egg and beat until smooth.

Dot peanut butter swirl all over the brownie batter and with a butter knife swirl up and down as well as back and forth until your desired swirl has been reached.

Bake for 30-33 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Let chill in the refrigerator at LEAST one hour before slicing for the best presentation and smoothest slice.  Store either wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator or in an air tight container at room temperature with parchment paper between each layer.


Recipe adapted from: Annie's Eats

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