My family and I are very close. It’s been tough as we’ve all grown up and gotten jobs, moved out, moved back in, gotten married, had kids, etc. We all stick pretty close to each other though and I love it. It’s been so hard to keep in touch with everyone as often as we used to, no matter how hard we try. Life gets in the way, you know?
We started up a fun habit several months ago as a way for us to all see each other at least once a month, if not more. We pick a restaurant, a date, and we all meet up and have a family dinner together. Some months have been more fun than others, depending on the restaurant choice. But, either way, I am trying different cuisines and hanging out with the fam so it’s great no matter what. Next month is sushi!! 🍣🍣🍣
We recently tried out this ‘authentic’ Asian noodle place in town and I was (highly) disappointed. What a huge bummer. We chose this restaurant as a way to celebrate my sister Emma’s birthday. Emma is obsessed with Asian culture and food and anime and people and etc. She has taken a couple of Chinese courses in college to learn the language and is actually learning Japanese with her hubby from a friend of hers. It’s really fun to hear her speak in Japanese, she’s really taking to the language. Emma, along with my other two sisters, is INCREDIBLY talented when it comes to art and you can really see her passion for Asia in the way she draws. She’s absolutely incredible.
Speaking of incredible…
Look at this beautiful boy…
I just can’t get enough of those faces. ❤❤❤
Along with Asian culture, Emma is also obsessed with chocolate. So I KNEW I would have to create something with chocolate in it for her birthday. These brownies were then made.
They were super duper yummy. I took them with me to the restaurant and after we finished our (disappointing) meals, we scarfed down quite a bit of them. (P.S. There were about 15 of us there in total because my family is rather large…we just didn’t exactly get pictures of everyone…Oops)
After tasting them, I realized I’m going to have to explore this recipe with many other flavors. Blondies, funfetti cake, german chocolate with coconut, carrot cake, red velvet, dark chocolate, maybe turn the cheesecake mixture into chocolate instead, or even cinnamon…the list goes on and on. I cannot wait to try other flavors with this recipe, it was delicious! And Emma took the rest of them home with her. Happy Birthday, little sis ♥
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coffee extract
1/4 tsp Maple extract
2 egg whites, 2 whole eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
8 oz cream cheese
2 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave until completely melted.
- Add the sugar, extracts, and eggs to the butter and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt and add the espresso powder.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix only until combined – do not over-mix.
- In another bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg whites, sugar, and vanilla together until combined.
- Pour half of your brownie batter into your prepared pan and smooth into a level layer. Scoop half of the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie layer and use a butter knife to swirl the mixture in with the brownie batter.
- Pour the remaining brownie batter on top and level it into an even layer and top with the remaining cream cheese mixture, finishing the top with a swirl pattern.
- Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. Do not overcook! Let the brownies stay a little fudgey.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and devouring