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For the past two weeks, my schedule has been subjected to unpredictable changes of plans due to snowstorms followed by cancelled classes/activities. I don’t think I’ve ever modified and re-modified my calendar this often before!

 In spite of a few inconveniences, I really enjoyed getting 2 days off and numerous delays. I also loved how beautiful the college campus looked under the white blanket of snow. I was completely spellbound one night as I was walking around while it was snowing and even forgot how cold I was!

 This is the College of William and Mary covered in snow! ❤

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One of the clubs I recently joined this year called UAID (United Against Inequities in Disease) was organizing a Valentine’s Benefit Concert the week after Valentine’s Day featuring lots of performances by talented students and lots of Valentine’s Day themed desserts. The goal of the event was to raise money to donate to Fan Free Clinic. However, because of the snow storm and the 7 inches of snow that accumulated on the day of the concert, we had to postpone it to later in the semester. Prior to its cancellation, I made two types of desserts in order to help out with the preparations. I chose chocolate desserts in honor of the Valentine’s Day theme and tried to highlight flavors that were most likely going to be crowd-pleasers. (such as cream cheese and Oreo cookies).

 The first dessert I baked was chocolate cupcakes with a vanilla-cinnamon cream cheese frosting decorated with a drizzle of melted chocolate. The flavors in this recipe are quite simple but go very well together! Since there were going to be tons of desserts at the concert, I did not want one single cupcake to taste overwhelmingly sweet. That’s why I chose cream cheese frosting because it was creamier but less sweet than the usual buttercream frosting I tend to use in cupcakes. My favorite part of making this dessert was drizzling the chocolate on top as the finishing touch. It is such a simple way of giving cupcakes a nice decoration and it makes them look twice as alluring!  

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~ Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting ~

 Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:

 1/2 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature

3/4 cups of granulated white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

3/4 cup of milk

4 oz chocolate

 

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

 8 oz of cream cheese at room temperature

1 tbsp of unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1 tsp of vanilla extract

2 tbsp of milk

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together and add in the egg and vanilla extract.

3. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture and add in the milk halfway through.

5. Divide the batter between the liners and bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes.

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6. Let them cool completely before piping on the frosting.

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7. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and unsalted butter and add in the confectioners sugar and ground cinnamon.

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8. Mix in the vanilla extract and add the milk one tbsp at a time, making sure the frosting is thick enough to be piped on but not too thick or too thin.

9. Using a piping bag and star tip, pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes.

10. Melt the chocolate and with a small spoon, drizzle it generously over the cupcakes.

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The second dessert I baked was Oreo cheesecake brownies. The title already gives away all the key ingredients but basically, this dessert has a brownie base covered with a layer of Oreo cookies, a layer of cream cheese batter, and a second layer of Oreo cookies on top. The cream cheese batter is similar to the one used in most cheesecakes and tastes like a sweet, creamy vanilla mousse. The base tastes like a rich, fudgy chocolate brownie which complements the heavenly flavor of the Oreo cookies.

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~ Oreo Cheesecake Brownies ~

 Brownie Ingredients:

 1/2 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 cup of granulated white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup of milk

1-2 bags of mini Oreo cookies (or the standard ones if you prefer)

 

Cheesecake Layer Ingredients:

 8 oz of cream cheese at room temperature

1/3 cup of granulated white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp of vanilla extract

 

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a square pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar and add in the 2 eggs and vanilla extract.

3. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder together and fold the mixture into the butter mixture.

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4. Add in the milk halfway through folding in the flour mixture.

5. In a separate bowl, cream together the cream cheese, the sugar, the egg, and the vanilla extract.

6. Transfer the brownie batter to the square pan and pat it in evenly.

7. Arrange the Oreo cookies all over the top of the brownie batter.

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8. Pour in the cheesecake batter over the cookies.

9. Arrange more Oreo cookies all over the cheesecake batter.

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10. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes and let them cool completely before cutting them. (They are even easier to cut after being refrigerated).

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In spite of the snow day (better described as snow week), the desserts certainly did not go to waste! One of the perks of living in a dorm building is that it’s easy to share everything with friends and hallmates.

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I have not had the chance to make other desserts since then because of upcoming midterms 😦 ( I also happen to be out of flour..) and while I usually bake a lot at home during breaks, this time I will actually be out of the country. However I will certainly have more delicious dessert recipes to post after spring break!

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