I'm A Brownie And I Had A Breakdown So I Made Brownies. Let Me Break It Down.

OH FRIED BUTTER have I been depressed lately. It all started... well, actually, I'm not exactly sure where or when it started. I do remember that I had a silent, pretty solid cry when I realized there was a random (completely removable) stain on a dress I was planning to wear to work. I still can't completely explain to you what had happened, because I'm not sure. But I am sure that IT SUCKED.

So, what's it all about, man? Well, I hate not having any idea of where I'm going. I have a degree I don't use and am not sure I'll ever get the chance to use, and that upsets me. What's next? Who knows. I sure as hell don't, and that scares me to no end.  I know I shouldn't complain since I have a good job and am surrounded by good people. But how do I not compare myself to all the other people my age--and even younger-- who already know exactly what they want? So many of them have got it all figured out, and I'm stuck feeling, well, a little stuck.

To be a little more specific while still being annoyingly vague, about a year and a half ago I completed a graduate program that I'd hoped would lead me in a direction I was very prepared to commit to for the long haul. Then, thanks to budgetary constraints and various other pretty lame occurrences, the dream died and I felt like a massive failure. Sometimes I still feel a little dizzy just thinking about what went down, but I fortunately no longer beat myself up over all of circumstances that were out of my control. I always told myself I'd try again, though, and I have yet to make good on that promise.

Now, I know what you're saying, and I might be saying the same thing to myself if I were you: "Shibow, those are some CHAMPAGNE problems!" And you're right, they are. Like I said, I'm very blessed in many ways-- more ways than I'll ever be able to spell out in this post without boring you into a vegetative state-- but I'm also Sad Shibow, dammit. I get to be SAD sometimes! So, to everyone I've neglected, ignored, cried in front of, elbowed in the face (yup) recently, this is why, and I really do apologize.

I needed comfort food, and that meant that I needed seriously fudgy brownies. Now, my very first post on this blog was about brownies. It was also about how a maniac kicked me in the behind. I'm pretty sure this is an appropriate time to try out another brownie recipe. Let's try Fudgy Cream Cheese Cocoa Brownies.

Cream Cheese Cocoa Brownies (makes 16 large or 25 smaller brownies, maybe even more smaller brownies if you're spatially challenged like I am)

For the chocolate part

1/2 cup of melted butter or vegetable oil

1 cup of granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

6 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

3/4 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

For the cream cheese part

5 ounces of cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese, softened

5 tablespoons of powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar until combined fully. Beat in each egg one at a time, then stir in your vanilla. Next, add the remaining dry ingredients in (Yes, if you choose to make these regular brownies and not add the cream cheese portion, you'll have one-bowl brownies. Lazies rejoice!) and mix until fully combined. The mixture will be a little bit grainy at this point. Spread it evenly into a 8x8 square pan.

Now, in a smaller bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar together until mixed. You might need to break out the mixer for this. Spoon big dollops of this onto your chocolate mixture...

...and then do a better job of swirling these two together than I did. Send into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into it comes out with a few crumbs still stuck onto it. Let these cool completely before cutting into brownie squares.

I think if I had been a little more patient with these, they would have turned out better. I'm mad at myself for not making the swirls prettier and more obvious, but I guess I should leave the fancy stuff to the real artists :(. While these were pretty yummy, and satisfied my need for something chocolaty, I still prefer the first ones I made. These were a little more cakey, which some people prefer, while the pure cocoa brownies were much richer. Since I'm not quite out of this slump yet, I think I'll revisit those, and then keep revisiting them until this funk passes. It's a tough life, this life.