Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Oreo Cheesecakes + Cheesecake-Marbled Brownies

Happy Halloween! Did anyone dress up and/or go trick-or-treating? I actually did neither. The last two weeks have been really hectic because I was part of the backstage crew for a musical that my university was putting on. Today was the last showing and I am so glad I will no longer be stuck in the theatre until 11 p.m. every night. Since duties of the backstage crew include taking scenery and props off, it would be quite inappropriate to be wearing a costume. I guess you could say my costume was the stage as we were wearing all black to be invisible during scene changes.

I still wanted to celebrate Halloween so of course I turned to baking! I didn't have enough time to go for something more fancy like vampire cupcakes or bat-shaped cookies so I thought these mini cheesecakes would be easier. Theoretically, they probably are, but when you are me and you don't think ahead, it gets ugly. I really should have creamed the cream cheese and sugar together before adding the other ingredients, but I just dumped everything into the bowl and the batter did not end up creamy, but rather lumpy with pieces of cream cheese floating around. The only way to avoid this in the future is to use Philadelphia cream cheese. There is something about the way they make it that creams a lot better than any other brands. At least they still taste alright, never mind the appearance. But with Oreos and cream cheese in the mix, how could these taste bad?

Halloween Oreo Cheesecakes
Halloween Oreo Cheesecakes

Okay, the second picture above is not as ugly as the others. Now, of course, the tiny percentage of me that is the perfectionist wanted to make this again, but I decided against it. I didn't like that the Oreo crumbs dirtied up the batter or that the Oreo crust got soggy and lost a bit of its crunch. There were also no more Halloween-themed Oreos left at the store. Madness! I've made cheesecake brownies before and wanted to make them again because everybody loves brownies. Then I remembered that I still had food coloring in the pantry, so instead of adding pumpkin to make the cheesecake batter orange, I used orange dye. I'm not sure how I feel about the brownie recipe though. Is it the way I made it or is it supposed to turn out grainy? I'm gonna stick with the cheesecake part though. That part was yummy.


So here are two Halloween recipes for you today. Next year, I definitely want to give the eyeball truffles or the brain cupcakes a shot.

Halloween Oreo Cheesecakes
From Baking Bites

- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 8-oz packages plain cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chopped Oreo cookies (Halloween colors)
- 16 whole Oreo cookies (Halloween colors)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, cream cheese, eggs, milk and vanilla extract until very smooth. Blend in flour. Stir in chopped Oreo cookies.
3. Place 1 Oreo in the bottom of each muffin cup. Top with approx. 1/4 cup cheesecake batter.
4. Bake for 16 to 19 minutes, until cheesecakes are set. Cool in pan.
5. Chill cheesecakes before serving for at least 2 hours.

Halloween Cheesecake-Marbled Brownies
From Smitten Kitchen

For the brownies:
- 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the cheesecake:
- 8 oz cream cheese, well softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Orange food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8-inch (or 9-inch) square baking pan.
2. To make the brownie batter, heat the butter and chocolate in a double boiler (or in a glass bowl over a pot filled with water) over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.
3. For the cheesecake batter, whisk together cheesecake ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.
4. Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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