Strawberry Cream Cheese Brownies -Easy, everyday fudge brownies become worthy of a black tie affair when topped with cheesecake and strawberry jam. Strawberry Cream Cheese Brownies make any occasion special.
Friends…I just have to know one thing…do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, how do you celebrate? Valentine’s Day is a source of much discussion in my house, so I really do want to know.
The Sons and I have been having torrid debates over our Valentine’s Day menu. My boys are all about a reason to celebrate! They get especially nutty about Valentine’s Day–insisting on decorating the entire house with red and pink construction paper hearts or heart shaped candy in jars–they want everything to look just so. It’s really quite sweet. Besides, it’s the only time my house can be decked out in pink, girly-looking things without my catching some serious flack from the men-folk. I do my part by I busting out the china, setting the table with a Valentine themed tablecloth, and using real cloth napkins.
Decorations aside, my boys are also pretty particular about the type of food that we eat on Valentine’s Day. As in, they want everything they eat all day to be in the shape of a heart. At first I thought this was just their little way of ensuring that they eat copious amounts of conversation hearts, but no! They literally want heart-shaped food.
I wish I were kidding. As a girl that never celebrated the holiday prior to having children, worrying about the the shape of food I serve is quite a stretch. However, I’m willing to set aside the usual “Eat it or Starve” meal time rule for a day and cater to their request because doing so makes them so dang happy that I can’t refuse.
Last year, we ate heart shaped raspberry scones and pink smoothies for breakfast, soy butter and “red” jam sandwiches cut into the shape of hearts for lunch, and a big ol’ heart shaped meatloaf for dinner. Fancy.
(Yes, I seriously molded meat into the shape of a heart because my children politely asked for it.)
This year I want Valentine’s Day to be a more casual affair, so I’m scaling back a bit. Sure, we’ll decorate in the usual fashion, and the cupid table cloth will likely make an appearance, but I’m forgoing any meat sculpting endeavors. Any resemblance to a heart on the part of our food will likely be an accident–with the exception of dessert.
While I was able to convince the Sons that a more laid back approach could still be celebratory, they insisted on an extra special dessert to mark the occasion. So Friends, go ahead and be casual on Valentine’s Day. You have my full permission!
Go ahead and wear your favorite pair of jean or yoga pants, because Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies are getting so dolled up for Valentine’s Day that after one bite, you can’t help but feel fancy, too.
Sons #3 and #4 were the driving force behind this recipe’s development. They decided which flavors to add to “regular” brownies to dress them up a bit. They also insisted on doing most of the work, which is a lot of fun to watch. Messy, but fun nonetheless.
They were kind enough to allow me to help with the layering/marbling part of the process. Oh, and I insisted on doing the whole put-it-in-the-oven part too. Call me crazy, but I’m a stickler about keeping eager little fingers away from a searingly hot oven.
After the strawberry cream cheese brownies were baked, cooled, then chilled, the Sons had a blast helping to cut the brownies into fun heart shapes. Although, truth be told, I think they had more fun sampling the scraps left behind.
As if that weren’t enough entertainment, Sons #3 informed me that he was going to do the food styling for this post!
He wanted to style food photos for my blog?! Sure I like to have him help out in the kitchen, but styling my photos for all the world to see? This kid was starting to jazz my mojo.
Then he explained that since I always work so hard, he wanted to do everything for the post for me so that I could have a break. How can I argue with that kind of sweetness? So, in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, the strawberry cream cheese brownies, fashioned as balloons, was totally Son #3’s idea.
He offered up a gift of love that is even sweeter than the strawberry cream cheese brownies.