Chocolate Explosion Cheesecake Bars

Bad news, guys: I’m about to leave all of you for the next two or three weeks. I’m off to Thailand to soak up some sun (it’s winter here in Wellington) and eat some awesome food and just generally chill out. So no baking for the next wee while. Much as I love making sweet treats every week, I would be lying if I said I was going to so much as think about baking something while I was away. I take my relaxation seriously.

iced

As such, I figured I better leave you with something pretty special. Cheesecake, in fact. Chocolatey, chocolatey cheesecake. There’s a chocolate crust, a chocolate-hazelnut middle, and a dark chocolate ganache top. It’s a bit of a project, but worth every minute. Unfortunately, I really dropped the ball on the photography here – it’s been a busy week, and the minute I had this cut up into bars I was leaving the house to go feed them to people. I’m still beating myself up about that. If I’d realized just how delicious these would turn out, I would have taken a bunch of photos and just been late to work.

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Nutella Cookies & How Not to Behave in a Bar

These were an experiment. I mean, I’ve made something similar before, but that was years ago and they were good but not anything I’d felt the need to repeat. But this week I had a bunch of Nutella lying around that was about to go off, and I figured it was time to try again.

halved

And these are great. So great, in fact, that a big group of drunken idiots stole one of the boxes I’d brought in for my coworkers. I feel like this goes without saying, but if there is a box of cookies behind the bar, and you did not bring them in with you, they are not yours to eat. You’re having a nice night out. You can buy some dessert. Your bartenders are having a very busy night and you’ve robbed them of their sugar fix. A sugar fix that I spent my whole morning putting together for them. (Also, those people definitely did not get any more drinks that night, so there’s that.)

aerial

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Chocolate Hazelnut Blondies

The problem with travelling is that your friends are constantly leaving you for other destinations. There’s no way around it, and you can’t resent anyone for it, but saying goodbye never really gets any easier. I’ve had two goodbyes in the past week, though luckily for me I’ll be seeing both of those people again pretty soon. And one of them was nice enough to leave behind a big jar of off-brand Nutella, which inspired these blondies. Thanks, Aidan!

gettingstartedLook at all that chocolate hazelnut goodness.

I love making blondies. They’re dead simple in the best possible way: butter, brown sugar, vanilla, egg, flour, and whatever goodies you feel like throwing in. This time I went with lots and lots of hazelnut chocolate (I swear Whittaker’s isn’t paying me to advertise – I wish – but I did use their hazelnut slab here and it was perfect). And of course, Nutella.

blondie

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