Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recipe: Guest Post || Melissa Oholendt

True confessions. I occasionally dream about Top Chef but maybe not in the way you think would be normal... It's Top Chef meets Hunger Games. My name is drawn from the lottery and guess what? I don't even make it past the cornucopia.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! (Didn't see that one coming, did you?)

So, hi. My name is Melissa. I am a photographer. Not a chef. (Thankfully.) In fact, if we're being honest, my cooking skills rank somewhere between "Can Boil Water for Noodles" and "Did a Bomb Go Off in this Kitchen?!". It's not that I don't want to be a great cook because trust me, one Food Network episode of Giada at Home and I'm suddenly the most proficient Italian cook you've ever met. I CAN COOK A MEAN AL DENTE NOODLE, OK? But anything beyond your basic culinary skills proves to be...challenging.

Thankfully, I have maybe the most amazing Valentine EVER. My husband, who after nearly 8 years of cooking disasters, kitchen meltdowns and too many smoke alarms to count, has taken on the lion-share of the cooking responsibilities (the other share is carried by Chipotle on Hennepin - God bless them) and has learned that keeping me out of the kitchen is generally better for everyone. But every once in a while - and typically after a day of editing photos to the background noise of my friends Giada, Ina & Paula - I get in the I CAN COOK ALL THINGS mentality.

Cue Valentines Day and this Marbled Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies pin. Done. It was over. The kitchen was going to SEE MY SKILLZ and like it (maybe?).

And you guys. I did it. I took that brownie-cheesecake of amazingness recipe and I rocked it's world.
Two things to note before you attempt this at home (because you are totally going to, right?). One. They are pretty darn delicious on their own but paired with a raspberry reduction sauce (this is my favorite) and fresh whipped cream? I promise you will cry it's so good. Second. Just a general advisement to use care when working with the red food coloring. By the time I wiped down the counters (and let's be honest, my clothes too), my hands looked as if they had taken a soak in a red food-coloring bath.
Enough words from me. Heres' the recipe stolen borrowed from The Novice Chef.
Oh, and to the dear, sweet Twentyapolis readers...Happy Valentine's Day from this girl to you. Promise I won't try to cook you anything.

Red Velvet Layer:
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
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
2 teaspoons white vinegar
Cheesecake Layer:
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 18 jelly roll pan with butter or spray with Baker's Joy.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla extract, red food coloring, and white vinegar.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients, until completely combined. The batter will be a really thick, almost moldable texture...but don't worry, that's what you want. Remove 3/4 cup of the batter and place it in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk (into the 3/4 cup of batter you just took out). Set aside the 3/4 cup batter.
Pour the remaining batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Using a spatula, smooth out the batter to reach all the edges.
Now, in your stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until combined and there are no lumps. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the red velvet layer and smooth mixture till it reaches all the edges.
Drop spoonfuls of the remaining red velvet batter (that you mixed with milk) onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Drag the tip of a knife through the red velvet and the cheesecake layers to create swirls.
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating half way through, or just until the center is set and it no longer jiggles. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. Use a medium sized heart cookie cutter to create the perfect Valentine's Day treat!

|| Photos are property of Melissa Oholendt. Do not use or distribute. ||

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