I'm a strong woman, a goofball, and a giggly, positive person, because of her. I know how to take care of myself, bake, work my ass off, and craft up a storm because I came from this wonderful woman. She has a green thumb that I am overtly jealous of, and she's the one who gave me my passion for art, and for cats.
So when Dan told me this week that we were going down to Dayton at the crack of dawn this morning so he could help mulch for his mom, I was ready to make plans to spend some much needed time with mama bear.
Now that I'm out of college, it's nice to not feel rushed visiting home for the weekend. We used to plan a trip home, (and a 4 hour drive), and my mom, would drive all that way, to road trip with me back to Centerville Friday night. I don't know how she didn't go crazy. It's not a very thrilling drive passing cows and corn fields. When she'd get there, I'd toss my overnight bag into the back seat, hop in the car, and we'd chat all the way home, catching up on class, friends, and how my brother was doing back home. Once we got there, it would be a jammed pack weekend with food, exploring, and snuggling with the cat, until we'd wake up early Sunday morning, and we'd drive back up to send me off to class that week. It never felt like enough time to spend with her.
Now that I've graduated, living only an hour away is such a treat. And I'm fine with the road trips. Especially for Mother's Day.
So Dan and I went flower-picking, and I decided to whip up both of our moms something delicious, because they both deserve it, are very big supporters of my baking, and are totally fine with surprise sweets.
My other mom; Dan's mom, is a very excitable woman. I love that about her. She's always happy to see us and so filled with love. And when she woke up and saw us chatting with her husband sitting around the kitchen counter at 7AM, she was overjoyed and wrapped us in hugs. Once we showed her her gifts, she just about exploded.
And when I drove over to my parents house, knocking on the door numerous times hoping everyone wasn't still in bed, the door opened, and there was mom in her pj's. I don't think she realized I was going to be that early. Whoops. The cat circling around her feet, half asleep, we tip toed inside, making sure to not wake my bear of a brother, made coffee, snuggled up on the big red couch, and snacked on these knockout brownies. Breakfast brownies? Best decision of the weekend by far.
Especially if you've never made brownie cheesecake bars before...totally worth it though. I'm always scared that because my cream cheese layer is lumpy, it'll ruin everything. No matter how hard I try, my Kitchen Aid whisk just can't break up the bar. (Which is also due to my impatience waiting for it to soften.) So I'll warn you guys to leave your cream cheese out as much as you can stand. But since we're without AC, (pray for us), I couldn't leave it out too long and run the risk of funky dairy products sitting out...
Thankfully, the lumps cause no problems, and honestly, just give it a little added texture. By the time you go to eat them, it's the last thing you think about.
And Oreo's guys. Need I say more?
So I hope you guys can try this recipe, (and hopefully pass it your mom's way). Do you cook for them, or surprise them with anything special? I'd love to hear about how you celebrate your mothers in the comments below!
Until next time friends!
Oreo Cheesecake Brownies
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (which you can make yourself, using this recipe).
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick unsalted butter)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (Hershey's is always a good choice!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 Oreo's crushed (for brownie batter)
14 Oreo's crushed (for topping)
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Spray 1 9x9 inch pan (or a springform pan for easier removal) and set aside
1. In standing mixer, or in a bowl, using your handheld mixer, blend cream cheese on high, until smooth and starts to stick to the sides of the bowl.
2. Scrape down cream cheese with spatula, add sugar, and mix on medium speed, then add egg and vanilla extract. Beat just until combined, or until you see the lumps blend out. Pour out into small bowl and set aside. Clean bowl, and return to mixer for brownie layer.
3. For brownie base, melt stick of butter on low heat and cool for 3-5 minutes (or 10 if you're more patient than I am). While cooling, add sugars to your mixing bowl, as well as cocoa powder. Pour in butter gradually, mixing on medium to high speed, adding eggs and vanilla. Add baking powder, as well as flour, sift if desired, then the 5 crushed Oreo's.
4. In your pan, pour brownie mixture and spread evenly to all corners. Add cheesecake topping and spread evenly overtop. Sprinkle remaining crushed Oreo's on top, then bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick can be cleanly removed. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight and enjoy chilled!