I was super-bummed when I found out that the 'cookie of the month' feature in Martha Stewart Living magazine was discontinued! I find something so appealing about the idea of a 'cookie of the month.' Though mad at Martha for taking away one of my favorite things, I was somewhat relieved that there would still be a dessert on the last page each month, even if it wasn't a cookie. I had some cream cheese in the fridge, so I decided to give this month's "Last Course" recipe a try.
You need: flour, cocoa powder (Martha says to use 'dutch-process' but I used 'natural-process' because I do what I want), baking soda, salt, unsalted butter (softened), sugar, eggs, vanilla, cream cheese, and confectioner's sugar.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and butter a 9X13 pan. I also lined the pan with foil for easy lift-out-ness. Cream 2 1/2 sticks of butter and 2 cups sugar.
Once the butter and sugar are creamed together, add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until smooth.
On top of the wet ingredients, add 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix it up on top, and then beat together with wet mixture. (Martha says to combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl first, and then add them to the wet ingredients. Again, I do what I want. And I don't like doing dishes, so I just added it on top. The bars still tasted good, so there.)
Look at this beautiful batter!!
Take out 1 cup of dough, cover, and refrigerate for later.
Press the remaining dough into the bottom of your pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (I cheated and only refrigerated for 25!), then bake about 25 minutes.
Let your base cool on a wire rack, still in the pan.
Once your bottom layer is cool, mix together 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, one egg, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Do you notice how my lighting changes in each picture? That's because these bars took FOREVER to make. The sun was like "well, I'd love to stick around, but it's time for bed! Sorry, Carson - your pictures are going to suck." And I was like, "Blah. These are taking forever."
Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled base.
Remember that cup of batter you reserved? Crumble it over the top. For about two seconds, I thought it would be cute to cookie-cut the little batter clumps into hearts and put them on top in a pattern. Then I remembered that it was already about seventy days after I had started to make the recipe and they were never going to be done. So I just crumbled.
Bake until filling is set, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack, and then refrigerate. These bars are not that good warm, but they are super-delish right out of the fridge. Do you agree, Dusty Springfield Jr?
"Yup! They sure smell yummy, mom! Can I be on your blog?!!"
These bars were delicious, but the mix, refrigerate, bake, cool, mix, bake, refrigerate process took way longer than I would prefer. I do feel less angry about the loss of 'cookie of the month' now.