2014 in review

Happy New Year! I can’t believe the year is almost over. It’s been one wild ride, one of which I was happy to share with you. Check out my year in review below, which couldn’t have been possible without YOU! Thank you so much for visiting and enjoying my stories, and photos. I love posting my favorite foods, and hope to continue for as long as I can.

Here’s hoping 2015 is as successful as this year!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas 2014 Recap

Hey all! Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday full of warmth, happiness, and family. You probably noticed my absence all of last week. I took an unintentional blogging/baking break, by way of a stomach virus. I spent all of last week feeling absolutely terrible and nauseous at the sight of food. Not what you wanted to hear following Christmas wishes but it’s true! I had two more #CookieCraziness recipes planned, including one with a new gadget my plans were quickly brought down. I’m feeling much better, and have been slowly regaining my appetite for delicious things again. I’m glad too because as a food lover, not eating is blasphemous.

Christmas Tree

Anyway, let me tell you a bit about my holiday. In my house, we celebrate the 24th, not the 25th. It must be some Dominican tradition but that’s just always how it’s been. Back in the day, we used to have a full house but now it’s just us four plus our neighbors. I actually prefer it this way because there isn’t much pressure to be super social, and I can have more leftovers.

Besides the fact that there’s really only eight of us (plus/minus 1), my mom always cooks a lot. To be honest, Christmas Eve is basically a repetition of Thanksgiving in terms of food, except that the main protein changes. Instead of turkey, we have pork (or pernil for the Latin@ folks). I actually prefer the pernil to turkey but for tradition’s sake on Thanksgiving, we roll with it.

Christmas Dinner_1

From L to R: Pastelon, Pastelon de Verenjena, Moro de Gandules, Platanos Maduros, Cassava, Parker House Rolls, Pernil, Potato Salad, Basic Salad, Pastelitos.

On our menu this year:

  • Parker House Rolls: the same we had at Thanksgiving (from Bon Appetit), except that I doubled the recipe because of reasons. Still a winner!
  • Pernil (or pork): Star of the night. What Dominicans traditionally have on the table for Christmas Eve. Pray there’ll be leftovers.
  • Moro de Gandules: Rice with pigeon peas. Another holiday staple at my house. Super simple but delish dish, made with my mom’s secret sofrito (actually, almost everything has this stuff in it).
  • Pastelón: That starchy starch thing that has been at our table the past couple holidays. I still don’t eat it but there it is! (in depth description of it’s innards here and here)
  • Pastelón de Verenjena. Eggplant casserole, which is almost like a lasagna. This is my fave, and is always at the table specifically for me. Layers of tempura fried grafitti eggplant, ground beef, green beans, tomato sauce, and tons of mozzarella.
  • Potato Salad. Another holiday staple. I make the salad every time, this time was no different. (check out it’s ingredients here)
  • Basic green salad. About as basic as it looks/suggests. At the table for almost no reason as barely anyone eats this stuff.
  • Pastelitos or empanadas. “Appetizers” except not really. Two kinds: cheddar cheese, and ground beef mixed with hardboiled eggs.
  • Platanos Maduros. Last minute addition to the table of fried sweet plantains. Can’t no one say no to these.

As you can see, this is basically Thanksgiving part two. No one’s complaining, as basically everyone is all about that pernil (no turkey) (dang, couldn’t help that!). We had our littlest neighbor here, who’s eight and extremely hard to shop for. I don’t know but eight is such a weird age; not a teenager but not exactly a kid. That in between age is hard to gauge what they actually like. Strange, but we got her a password journal (which she LOVED), this super cute DIY jewelry box, and some trinkets from Claire’s. She and my sister decorated it in the kitchen. It was so fun to see her reactions to the gifts. One of the main reasons giving is the best!

Christmas Present_1

After all that, we had dessert. Since I was food adverse last week, I had nothing planned. Nothing, which is super unlike me. I asked my mom, which is moot as she never knows, what she wanted. Got nothing from her so I ran with my sister’s suggestion of making a tiramisu. I rolled with it for three reasons: my sister asked, easy to make, and was on my bucket list anyway. I made it the night before, which was awesome because that freed me up to bake bread the next day.

Christmas Dinner_3

It was super simple to make, and is actually super delicious too. I have to say, for such a simple dessert, it was really good. It’s also not very photogenic, if at all. I used this recipe and have a few suggestions. The main one is to mix the mascarpone with the yolks because this stuff is stiff and will never incorporate with the mix when folding. No one wants a lump of cheese in a supposed smooth dessert. Another is to only soak one side of the lady fingers. These things are literal sponges and they soaked up quite a lot. Do one side and hope there’s still some bite when serving. Finally, add booze to this. Every baker’s secret weapon should be in here. I threw a bit whisky in the cream and in the coffee but it could’ve used more.

All in all, it was actually a pretty nice Christmas Eve. There were a few minor setbacks that could’ve ruined things but others made up for it. If anything, this was a major upgrade from last year, and for that I’m most grateful. I hope everyone’s holiday was as uplifting as mine, and that this last week of the year is an awesome one!

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

To me, it’s not Christmas without gingerbread. It’s probably my favorite holiday cookie. Where people might say sugar, I say gingerbread.

It’s funny because I didn’t grow up with having gingerbread like that, especially for the holidays. Like I mentioned last year, the only time I had anything that even remotely resembled gingerbread was through a famous lady named Little Debbie. Thankfully, not anymore. I feel like though, in this day and age, if I ate one of her gingerbread men I’d probably get the worst headache ever. Processed sugar does that to me sometimes.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies_5

These past couple of years, I’ve made it a point to have a gingerbread something for the holidays. My folks, as usual, are meh about them so my sister and I get to eat most, if not all of the cookies. When I first started baking on theme things, and gingerbread was on the list, I started with this recipe. Allrecipes used to be my holy grail of recipes, and I sometimes go back there for old faves. I even have this very same recipe printed out on an index card, in a feeble attempt at a recipe box! Let me just say, formatting that on Word was a nightmare.

This year, in case you haven’t noticed, the cookie recipes I’ve posted have all been no fuss drop cookies. I swear it was unintentional. I realized this when I looked at my cookie wish list on my whiteboard the other day. I was deciding what to make next when I mentally screamed “WAIT A MINUTE! How come I don’t have cut outs?” I think my subconscious did me a favor by not choosing cut outs. Thanks, brain.

Since these are not cut outs, they are super easy to make. There’s just three things I’d like to point out, though. The original recipe says to use margarine. I’m an all butter household now, and there’s no turning back. Why use margarine when there’s butter available? Unless you have like, dairy problems or something, use the butter. The second thing is, swap out half the sugar for brown sugar. I didn’t this time, because I forgot, but please do. There are molasses in these cookies already but brown sugar is awesome in these sort of things. Dark brown sugar if you can, although either works fine. The last thing I’d note is to refrigerate the dough a little bit. It’s super duper soft, which can be a real pain when trying to shape into uniform balls to dip in sugar before baking. Let them chill out for half an hour or so, then thank yourself for not making cut outs.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies_4

Speaking of sugar, I guess I have one more thing to note. These cookies are rolled in sugar before baking, because why not add a little somethin’ somethin’ extra to these? Well, I upped the ante this year by rolling them in raw sugar. This was the best idea I had since deciding to add twice the amount of chocolate chips in a PB cookie. The crunch on these cookies because of this sugar is unbelievable. I was stunned, as I thought the dough would soak them up. It didn’t and they were fab.

Now, my cookies spread out quite a bit but that’s okay. I want to say that it was partly because of my new sheet pans and silicone liners, but I just don’t know. Either way, the cookies are as fantastic as I remember. Chewy, gingery, and molasses-y; just like a ginger cookie should be. The ginger is subtle but still present, which makes you just want to eat another one. The crunch from the raw sugar adds depth to an otherwise all chew cookie. Since mine spread out something fierce, it also didn’t look too bad if you ate one or five. They weren’t thick so it didn’t count!

Despite the fact that my ginger cookie this year was not in the shape of a little edible man, I still feel like I got in the quintessential holiday cookie. Good thing I can eat them all by myself!

Big Soft Ginger Cookies_3-1

#CookieCraziness recipes thus far:

Big Soft Ginger Cookies – adapted from allrecipes

Makes 36 cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (stick and a half) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar, for rolling

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, ground cinnamon and cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the room temperature butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Remember, you can go as long as you’d like. anywhere from 4-10 minutes; whatever it takes. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well. Then add the molasses and the water until fully incorporated.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mix, making sure it’s well incorporated before adding more. Fold in the last bit of dry ingredients, making sure to not overmix. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. You can definitely skip this step but a chill will make the soft dough a tad more workable.
  4. After chilling the dough, preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. On a plate or in a small bowl, place the 1/4 cup of raw sugar.
  5. Scoop out the dough using a disher, tablespoon, or two small spoons, and place on the raw sugar. Roll the dough ball until completely covered and transfer to the prepped baking sheet.
  6. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for at least five minutes before transferring to rack to cool completely.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • I used maybe more than 1/4 cup to roll the dough balls in. Depends on the size of the dough ball, I guess. 

Christmas Confetti Cookies

If you’ve come to Lucy the Baker for plain old sugar cookies, you’ve come to the wrong place. There are no plain sugar cookies here. Yeah, I’ve got cutouts (dazzled with royal icing and a hint of lemon), brown sugar ones that taste like cinnamon, and I’ve got pinwheels, but no regular old sugar cookie.

The thing is, sugar cookies are my least favorite.

Christmas Confetti Cookie_6

They are so BASIC. Ugh, like so plain with nothing really going on. There is so much potential in a sugar cookie to become something more than what I consider a sugar coated blob of butter. I actually had a bad experience once with a snickerdoodle that tasted just like that. Scarred for life, to be honest. It’s also what I’m trying to avoid, and why you won’t find a snickerdoodle or plain sugar cookie recipe here (for now…. never say never).

Christmas Confetti Cookie_Batter

Now, you might be thinking; “but Lucy, confetti cookies are still plain sugar cookies.” That’s where I’ll stop you. Confetti cookies are sugar cookies on steroids. I mean, it’s sugar on more sugar! I can’t hate on that. Why are confetti cookies different than plain old sugar cookies? They just are.

I’m aware that sprinkles (or jimmies to some folks) don’t taste like much or “add anything” to a recipe but I think they do. They add festiveness (in this case), decoration, and they’re just plain fun. Like, do you even consider a plain sugar cookie to be fun? I don’t think so. Besides, sugar cookies have to be adorned or decorated with something more, whether it’s icing or chocolate, to even become likable. Sprinkles are the best and easiest route, so I went with that.

Christmas Confetti Cookie_Batter2

I saw this recipe on the amazing Joy the Baker‘s site when her newest cookbook, Homemade Decadence, came out. Consequently, it was also the same day her new page layout went live. Her site is bright and colorful (like she is), which matched these cookies. I’m a sucker for anything with sprinkles, so I knew these were going to be in my future for sure. Since December is basically National Cookie Month, I planned them to be a part of my #CookieCraziness.

One of the best parts about this recipe is that you can make the dough a day ahead. I’m not one to make things ahead of time, so I was intrigued into trying it. It made my life so much easier because I basically just preheated the oven, portioned the dough, put them on the sheet and baked them. That’s it! The only sucky part was photographing the making of the dough. It was late and the lighting was off. I felt slightly defeated but I rolled with it, and I think the photos came out okay.

Christmas Confetti Cookie_Batter3

Since I wanted to make the dough ahead, I ran into some poor planning. I completely forgot to take out a stick of butter! You can’t really make anything with cold butter. The solution? Cutting the stick into tiny cubes, and spreading them out on a plate. I’m sure it’d work if you piled the cubes in a bowl but I’m really picky about these things. I spread my tiny cubes out on a plate, and made sure none of the cubes were touching. I came back in like 10 or 15 minutes to room temp, soft butter. This is honestly the best way. The microwave can backfire on you (ahem, melted butter), and putting a stick of butter in my pocket just won’t end well.

Needless to say, these cookies were awesome. I picked the red and green sprinkles for obvious reasons. I also accidentally poured in the whole half cup into the dough, realizing that I only needed to put in half right after I emptied out the measuring cup. I don’t think it harmed the cookie at all! They were crispy, with a little crunch from the sprinkles. Even with all the sprinkles in the cookie, I dipped them in more sprinkles. More the merrier, right?

Christmas Confetti Cookie_Batter4

I hope you now realized that plain sugar cookies are lame, and that confetti cookies are where it’s at. Who would ever decline a fun, festive, and sprinkly cookie over a plain and unadorned one? No one, that’s who. Keep sprinkles in your pantry and dazzle your cookies every once in a while!

Christmas Confetti Cookie_5

Christmas Confetti Cookies – barely adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes 32-36 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup red and green sprinkles

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Don’t be afraid to cream the sugar and butter longer than you think! Ideally anywhere from 3-7 or 10 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Fold in 1/4 cup (or all of them) of sprinkles into the batter. At this point, you can wrap and chill the dough or portion and chill the dough on the baking sheets. Either way, chill it for two hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350F. Take out the chilled dough and portion, if you haven’t already into tablespoon sized dough balls. Drop the dough balls into the remaining 1/4 of sprinkles, and placed on the prepared sheets. Alternatively, if you decided to portion and then chill, roll them in the sprinkles before hitting the fridge.
  5. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until they start to get slightly golden around the edges but are still pale. Cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • My cookies spread out and flattened as they baked. This may have happened for a number of reasons. Either the dough got too warm, or the liners and sheets I used were to blame. For the record, I used standard aluminum half sheets lined with silicone liners. Darker pans and parchment produce a different, darker result. Both are fine but it’s just worth nothing. 
  • I do not have vanilla beans (sigh) so I stuck with extract. Should’ve liqoured them up, to be honest. 
  • We like jimmies here, so I used that. Feel free to use whatever sprinkles you have on hand. 
  • Go check out Joy’s blog if you haven’t already, and then weep at the magic inside her cookbook. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello again! Bet you didn’t think you’d see another post from me this week! As promised, I began ramping up my cookie production this year and will possibly post twice as much this month. It’s a little nerve-wracking but I am up for the challenge!

When planning this month’s #CookieCraziness (isn’t my hashtag for this year’s cookies awesome?), one of the top cookies was a peanut butter one. I LOVE peanut butter, so this was a no brainer. However, plain peanut butter cookies can be boring and monotonous. I’m not into that with my cookies, so chocolate chips were the obvious solution.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies_5

Peanut butter cookies aren’t necessarily a Christmas-y cookie. Like, when I think Christmas cookies, peanut butter ones are the furthest from my mind. Everyone else thinks of chocolate and peppermint everything. I usually go with sugar or gingerbread, which I’ll get to sometime later. I don’t know but I feel like peanut butter doesn’t even have an appropriate season. All the more reason why it belongs (in cookie form) with the holidays.

The main ingredient in these beauties is the peanut butter; the star of the show! Consider using chunky peanut butter in these cookies for added texture and to add on to the PB taste. I’m not about that chunky PB life, though; I love natural and smooth peanut butter. I get the huge jars at Whole Foods all the time because I make granola for my Greek yogurt regularly. Obviously, I need to have tons of the stuff on hand at all times because when I’m not making granola, there are PB&Js to be made (with grape jelly exclusively).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies_2

According to the recipe, there’s supposed to be a double hit (or triple if you opt for chunky) of PB; the second by way of peanut butter chips. I once bought a couple bags of those from the one time they had them at Trader Joe’s. They were so good, I can’t even recall what I made with them. I had chocolate chips leftover from making these, so I used twice as many chocolate chips in this batch.

Now, let me just praise the actual cookie dough for one second. A DREAM to work with. Came together beautifully and handled like a dream. I’ve never seen such clean scoops of cookie dough come out of my mixing bowl. Barely any scraps and no sticking! Speaking of sticking, I used my new silicone mats for my half sheet pans. I had to get a pair because my parchment paper never fits. Can I just tell you how much I love them? I love them. Absolutely adore them. Cookies slid off no problem, they’re easy to clean, and look cute too. SO glad I got them!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies_3

The cookies were INSANE. I found myself eating all of the scraps and several cookies before they even made the plate; they’re THAT good. Very peanut buttery, with the chocolate chips as backup. Think of PB and chocolate as partners in crime, or good cop/bad cop except they’re both the good cops. They just go together! The cookies themselves are soft but sturdy, with a little crunch from the granulated sugar they’re coated in before baking. You can even still see the traditional fork marks from the slight smush they need before going into the oven. They were as dreamy as their own cookie dough. When the cookie dough works, you just know the cookie will too!

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to consider peanut butter cookies as a holiday cookie. They may not scream Christmas but folks will be screaming with joy upon eating them this season. Either way, I think these non-conventional holiday cookies belong on your cookie roster.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies_4

#CookieCraziness posts:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 36 cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Granulated sugar for rolling/sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment (or those nifty silicone liners). Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, place a good amount (maybe a 1/4 cup; separate from the amount needed to make the cookies) of granulated sugar for rolling the cookies later.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg and mix until fully combined. Finally, add the milk and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, a tablespoon, or two teaspoons, drop the dough into the bowl with the granulated sugar. Completely coat the dough ball and transfer to the prepped baking sheet. With a fork, gently press the dough down but do not flatten completely. You can press the cookie with the fork twice, each in a different direction, to get the signature pattern.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges. The cookies may look under done but they are. Let them cool on the pan for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lucy’s Tips

  • I preferred baking them 12 minutes for a sturdier cookie that was still soft and slightly chewy. For a lighter cookie, aim for the lower amount of time. 
  • If you don’t feel like pressing with a fork, any smooth (or not smooth) surface can work. For example, a spoon, shot glass, offset spatula, etc. Just don’t go crazy pressing them down with anything!
  • I got 36 cookies with a #50 disher/scoop. Amounts of cookies vary depending on the size of the scoop/disher/spoon. The bigger the disher/spoon/scoop, the fewer the cookies. 
  • To make these extra festive, consider rolling them in colored sugar!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

It’s December, which can only mean one thing in the food world: COOKIES! Aw yeah, it’s that time of year again. I don’t know what’s more exciting; the cookies or the holidays? Either way, the holidays are upon us.

I decked my halls the day after Thanksgiving for two reasons. I was dying to get into the holiday spirit, and because I feel like my tree(s) are never up long enough. For me, my Christmas spirit lies solely in my Christmas tree. I’m in charge of decorating it by myself every year and it brings me such joy to see it lit up in the corner of my living room.  It’s weird but it doesn’t feel like Christmas without my baby tree all decked out in ornaments and bright lights.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies_4

Anyway, let’s talk cookies. Here on Lucy the Baker, I have a number of cookies up already but this holiday season, I want to up the ante. I’m planning on doubling my cookie production this year, which will hopefully mean more posts. I’m excited, nervous, and hungry!

For starters, here are some red velvet cheesecake brownies. Now, before you even say it, brownies ARE considered a cookie. It’s technically a bar cookie, as opposed to a regular cookie. I don’t know who decided this but I agree with them. Brownies aren’t really a cake, so they must be a cookie. These brownies are special, though. Not only do they have a ridiculous cheesecake layer, but they’re red velvet. That automatically raises the bar, and then some.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies_1

I don’t know if you noticed but I lack red velvet recipes. Sure, I have the lone one up but there’s a reason as to why that is. Like that recipe I posted last year, almost all my red velvet attempts have gone wrong. I don’t know what it is but, I always end up with a messed up red velvet something. My first ever (undocumented) attempt was some red velvet cupcakes, which came out flat and stuck to the pan. The whoopie pies were my second and although the cookie itself came out good, I almost forgot the sugar and messed up the filling to the point of no return. I had better luck this time but I wouldn’t call them a perfect success; typical things like broken and stuck brownies happened.

Either way, these are fabulous. Not only are they red velvet, with its smooth texture and hint of chocolate, but there’s a cheesecake layer. Believe me when I say it is ridiculous. I was amazed. Cheesecake and red velvet go together like chips and dip, to be honest. My favorite part of this entire recipe was the swirling part. It looked absolutely beautiful. The cheesecake batter swirled with red velvet brownie batter, came together in perfect and visually stunning harmony. I don’t know but there’s something about that tangy cream cheese against the lightly chocolatey taste in red velvet. It’s like, magical or something.

So, let’s start the holiday season, and the #CookieCraziness with these brownies!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies_2

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies – barely adapted from The Novice Chef

Makes 36 brownies

Red Velvet Layer:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring (I used Wilton’s No Taste Red)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Cheesecake Layer:

  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F, and lightly grease a half sheet pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, 2 tablespoons of milk, vanilla, food coloring, and white vinegar. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until combined. The batter will be very thick!
  4. Remove 3/4 cup of the thick batter and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Set aside.
  5. Spread the remaining batter into the prepared sheet pan. Make sure to spread it as evenly as possible, and all the way into the corners of the pan.
  6. Time to make the cheesecake layer: in a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Continue to beat until completely incorporated and lump free.
  7. Pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie batter, spreading it out to the corners. Drop spoonfuls of the thinned out brownie batter onto the cheesecake layer. Using a butter knife or small spatula, drag the tip through the cheesecake and red velvet batters to create swirls.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until center is set. Brownies shouldn’t jiggle. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Jessica, at The Novice Chef blog, made these for Valentine’s day and used a heart cookie cutter. Instead, feel free to get festive and use holiday cutters (like a tree or a snowman) instead of cutting into squares. 
  • My brownies took a bit longer than 30 minutes. The center was still jiggly, which scared me but they came out alright. 
  • I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (because YUM), which may have contributed to the burgundy color in these brownies. 
  • I strongly suggest gel food coloring, as the liquid stuff can dilute your batters if you use too much.