Blackberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownies

These Blackberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownies are rich and decadent. I first experienced the combination of blackberry and espresso in a latte and was dreaming about how spectacular the flavors would be in brownie form. Adding cheesecake and chocolate to the palate really takes this treat up to gourmet dessert status.

Blackberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownies

These brownies are so moist and fudgey they taste almost as if they were half-baked. Pair them with cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream and, boy, will your taste buds be happy! Any berry would be great in this recipe, but I find the blackberries to be so unique! You’ll also notice a dash of espresso, which really enhances the chocolate flavors overall.

Blackberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownies

Blackberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownie Recipe

Ingredients

  • For Blackberry Sauce:
    • 6 oz. fresh blackberries
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
    • 2 tsp water
  • For Cheesecake:
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp flour
    • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • For Brownies:
    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
    • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 1 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon instant espresso
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup flour

Directions:

Blackberry Sauce:

  1. Heat blackberries and sugar in a pan over medium low heat until the blackberries release their juices.
  2. Combine cornstarch, lemon juice and water together in a separate bowl.
  3. Add cornstarch mixture to pan and stir together. Bring mixture to simmer for a few minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Brownies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Scrape chocolate mixture into a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Stir sugar, vanilla and salt into the cooled chocolate mixture.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time beating until each is just mixed.
  5. Sprinkle flour over the chocolate mixture and stir until blended.

Cheesecake:

  1. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla until well combined.
  2. Add blackberry mixture and combine.
The finishing touches:
  1. Spread 2/3 of the mixture into pan. Dollop blackberry cheesecake mixture over. Then dollop remaining brownie mixture over.
  2. Using a knife, make a swirl pattern with the batter (run knife up and down the pan).
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center is cooked. Test by inserting a knife into the center of the pan. If it comes out clean, the brownies are done.
  4. Allow to cool and serve.
(Recipes modified from Beantown Baker and Kids Baking.) 

Blackberry Cheesecake Fudge BrowniesTo simplify the recipe you could use store-bought brownie mix, although these fudge brownies are to die for! I hope you enjoy these amazing brownies. Let me know what you think!

Love food. Love self. Love life.
Gabriela

Date Night Blog Collaboration with DearSerendipity

Gourmet Gab and Dear Serendipity

My friend from high school, Emily Piskulick, writes a darling fashion blog called DearSerendipity. We collaborated our two passions–food and fashion–to create two date night ideas. One is more casual with a classic jean look and chicken dish. The other is a bit fancy with a pretty dress and gourmet pasta.

Casual Date Night IdeasFor a casual date night, this dinner is easy to prepare and delicious to enjoy. The lemon pepper chicken from Life’s Ambrosia is flavored by a zesty marinade. The spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette is full of colorful veggies. A side of Uncle Ben’s wild rice, or any flavor that you like, will be a nice balance and will only take a few minutes to cook. Store-bought or homemade angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream is a light, no-bake dessert.

Fancy Date NightThis pesto and shrimp pasta tastes as gourmet as it looks. Plus, the leftovers double in flavor the next day. Any roasted vegetable would pair beautifully with the pasta. I chose asparagus, but squash, tomatoes or yellow zucchini also be complementary. The side of bread is an extra touch, but not essential. A giant pizookie (pizza-cookie), like this one from Serious Eats, is fun to share with a date.

Emily has all the details about the outfits on her DearSerendipity post! Check it out and share the link with your friends. You could even pass the link on to your significant other as a hint for a date night ;)

Homemade Pita Chips and Hummus

Happy Academy Awards Sunday! Whether you are heading over to a friend’s house to watch the Red Carpet pre-show or snuggling on the couch waiting for the Best Actress to be announced, homemade pita chips and hummus are the perfect snack.

Remember when I posted about the health benefits of Garbanzo Beans? You can reap the nutrients of these beans through hummus! Here is the recipe that I posted on my other food blog, HERBan Explorer. The hummus recipe is from my boyfriend’s Lebanese family, so it is 100% authentic!

Hummus

Hummus at the store costs around $5! Use that money to buy ingredients and you can make an even bigger homemade batch.

 

You can also make your own homemade pita chips, which I also featured on HERBan Explorer. It only takes a few minutes with a few inexpensive ingredients and you will have the perfect crunchy partner for your creamy dip!

Pita Chips and Hummus

On a different note, I am selling my Nikon Coolpix P80 Camera so I can upgrade to a DSLR. Visit the listing on Craigslist if you are interested! It is a lightweight camera that takes super high quality pictures–perfect for everyday use or special occasions.

The Ultimate Super Bowl Sunday

With a few great dishes and a rocking group of friends and family, you will be the hostess with the mostess this Super Bowl Sunday. I’ve searched the web to find 10 winning recipes that you should add to your menu. Plus, I’ve added some recommendations to make entertaining or party-going effortless.

Gourmet Gab's Super Bowl Tips 2012

These 10 RECIPES are inexpensive, easy and full of flavor. It’s guaranteed that they will impress the crowd.

  1. Nachos | This video shows a simple, gourmet recipe for nachos. Keep in mind that the trick for making ultimate nachos, though, is layering. First put down your chips, then some meat and some toppings, and repeat until all the ingredients are gone.
  2. Avocado Pico de Gallo | In this Gourmet Gab video you’ll see that it only takes a few fresh ingredients to make a great dip.
  3. Chipotle Chicken Chili |  This chicken chili will kick up the intensity of the game.
  4. Don’t-Miss-The-Meat Vegetarian Chili | If you’re watching the game with veggie lovers, try this hearty vegetarian chili.
  5. The Best Chili of Your Life | Your carnivore acquaintances will thank you for making this chili. It’s loaded with 5 pounds of meat!
  6. Tacos in a Bag  |  Let everyone serve themselves! Make a batch of taco meat and set out a buffet of toppings. Everyone grabs an individual bag of Doritos chips and stuffs in what they want.
  7. Sloppy Joes | Don’t be afraid to get a little messy. The deliciousness is worth it.
  8. Giada de Laurentiis’ Caprese Burgers | Burgers get an Italian spin with tomato, mozzarella and basil.
  9. Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee | Sweet and savory make an awesome team.
  10. Caramel Chocolate Popcorn  |  Make a big batch of this no-bake dessert. Leave it out and watch it disappear.
When it comes to entertaining and party-going for the Super Bowl, it’s all about having a fun time and getting into the game.
  • Prepare either parts or a whole dish ahead of time. Mostly all of the recipes above can be prepared well in advance. Plus, flavors often taste richer after they mix and mingle together.
  • Ask friends and family to pitch in with some ingredients, a dish or cash to reimburse you. Team work!
  • Surround yourself with people who will make it a memorable day, not a stressful one. After all, you’re just watching the game, not competing for the trophy!
  • Sport the gear or colors of your favorite team. Who’s it gonna be? Giants or Patriots?
  • Leave a comment below with the dish you’re most excited to make this weekend.

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

If your new years resolution involved either weight loss or improving toward a healthier lifestyle, you should make a batch of fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast this weekend. Pair your juice with toast and peanut butter or a fruit parfait and you will get a jump-start on your healthy day.

Oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. These vitamins and minerals are especially absorbed when drank as juice. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, “Consuming vitamin C supplements does not provide the same protective benefits as drinking a glass of orange juice.”

Last week my boyfriend Alexander and I decided to pick oranges from the trees in his backyard to make our own homemade OJ. We picked about 60 oranges because they were tiny. About 20-30 large, ripe oranges would probably be ideal for making a large batch of juice.

To make fresh squeezed orange juice at home gather anywhere from 10-30 large oranges, depending on how many people you would like to serve. Give each orange a firm roll with your palm to loosen up the juice inside. Then slice horizontally in half.

You can juice with either an electric juicer, which ranges in price from $20 to $200+, or a simple hand juicer. I recommend electric because squeezing all the oranges by hand would take about triple the time.

If you are an orange juice pulp fan, your juice is ready once all the orange are squeezed. But, if you would rather have a smooth consistency, you will need to strain the juice again. A small or large strainer will do the trick. Keep in mind that you will lose about half the amount of juice when you strain the pulp. Set a bowl aside to periodically empty the pulp that gathers in the strainer while pouring.

You should reserve an hour or two to the process, but the freshness and health benefits are well worth it! If you would like to sweeten your juice you can add a teaspoon or two of sugar. 

Aren’t these orange juice glasses so adorable? They came as a surprise in the mail from Alexander!

Now orange you so excited to make fresh squeezed orange juice for yourself? :)

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

My Uncle Terry’s homemade buttermilk pancakes are the best for Christmas morning brunch. You can whip up this simple batter a day in advance and let it “rest” overnight. The aroma of the pancakes will fill your home in the morning. These light, fluffy pancakes are slightly sweet and simply divine. Don’t forget to top them with butter and real maple syrup!

Uncle Terry’s Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  •  2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Mix together buttermilk, melted butter and eggs. Set aside.
  2. Mix dry ingredients–flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Fold in buttermilk mixture.
  3. Pour pancake batter in desired serving size on hot griddle. Brown lightly on one side and flip to the other side to brown. Enjoy!
6 days until Christmas!

Scrabble Mix

Today we’re talking about Scrabble…not the game, but the party mix! My family has been passing this recipe down through the generations. This afternoon I talked to my Great Aunt Carol Joyce who has been making Scrabble for 45 years!

The Original Chex® Party Mix

This is a snack that has a little bit of everything–cereal, nuts, pretzels–and a lot of flavor. Although this may seem a little time-consuming, the recipe makes a big batch so you can munch on it throughout the Christmas season!

Scrabble mix is ideal for holiday entertaining…it’s inexpensive, easy to make and really tasty.

Scrabble Mix

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of salted, mixed nuts
  • 12 oz. box of Corn Chex
  • 10 oz. box of Cherrios
  • 6 1/2 oz. box of Rice Chex
  • 10 oz. of pretzel sticks
  • 2 cups of canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of seasoned salt
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic salt

Directions

  1. Mix cereal, nuts and pretzels in a large roasting pan.
  2. Whisk oil, salts and Worcestershire sauce together.
  3. Pour over cereal mixture and stir.
  4. Bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Let sit for a while until the mix is cooled.

15 days until Christmas!