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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

The storm is coming

November 14, 2011

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was chilly on Saturday, and there's been no snow, but the few leaves left are blowing around in the wind and it's only a matter of time before everything is covered in white. Deep, cold, sparkling snow. Crispy, crunchy, piled up snow. One reason I live here, and one reason I'll never leave.

I talked with my gas-station-lady friend Laurie this morning and she is dreading what she calls "the onslaught." "I don't know how I'm going to survive," she says. Laurie hates winter, and I sure don't judge her for that. I mean, I'm no fan of the drizzle and mud of spring. Everyone is entitled to feelings about the seasons, but that's part of the glory of living where I live. There ARE seasons, and if the one we're in is not your cup of tea, your tea is soon on its way. Much more preferable than a place where every day is the same.

The thing about winter in Minnesota? It helps clarify the meaning of warmth, of comfort. How would we get what it is to come in and peel off layers, warm up by the fire or a hot stove, sip from mugs filled with liquid chocolate or spiced tea, eat bowls of cheesy wild rice soup and plates of steaming chicken noodle hotdish, entwine our legs with someone we love all wrapped in blankets on a big ol' couch, snuggle into a bed piled high with quilts and drift off? Because of winter, we smell wood burning for months. We burn more calories, and have whole days, stretches of days, unable to leave our homes for the snow. We can bake all we want, and play board games, and sit up late watching what the moon does to that snow piled up to our window sills.

The storm is coming, sure. And along with it a thousand ways you're bound to feel good. Just wait and see.

Here's a recipe from my daughter away at college, something she's been craving, and there's a reason for that. These bars are perfect for the holiday, and decadent, and a fine way to bring a smile to the face of someone you love. Good comfort food, too, for the record.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

Red Velvet:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 T red food coloring
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour

Cream Cheese:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 8 x 8 inch pan.

Brownie layer: Add melted butter to a large bowl and add sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, mixing after each addition. Whisk the eggs into the cocoa mix. Mix in the flour. Pour the batter into the pan, saving 1/3 to 1/4 cup of the batter for the cream cheese layer.

Cream cheese layer: blend together cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Spread the cream cheese on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Put the remaining cocoa batter over the cream cheese layer. Using the tip of a knife, swirl through the cream cheese mixture to create a pattern. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool before cutting, and store in the fridge.

Enjoy!

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