Bridge Night Squares | squares

cream cheese brownies

Am I alone in feeling like bridge parties and bridge nights should come back? Let me just make a case… you get together regularly with friends to play cards, you have a cocktail, eat some little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, eat some delicious squares and have coffee. Where is the downside to that?

OK, so the only drawback to the whole scenario might be the actual bridge part, but let’s say you substitute any card game instead. Poker, Hearts, Euchre or if you’re from Nova Scotia you could play Forty Fives aka Auction.

A lot of my Mom’s cookbook (which I’ve written about before here) is dedicated to squares. Those lovely, tasty little bites that we were never allowed to sample other than the edges that she cut off so as to have a prettier presentation for bridge night. I have fond memories of Mrs. Bishop’s Squares, Honeymoon Squares and Pineapple Orange Squares but the granddaddy, the most favourite of all squares were these Cream Cheese Brownies with Maraschino cherries.

I think there’s a reason why book clubs have become so popular – they have replaced the card party. Right here I’m starting a social movement to bring back the card party.

You can find out a whole lot about a person by how they handle a rough game of cribbage.

Cream Cheese Brownies

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup Maraschino cherries chopped

Beat cheese and egg well. Blend in sugar and flour. Stir in cherries. Set aside.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Beat the eggs well, add the sugar, flour and salt. Melt the butter and mix in the cocoa. Add to batter and stir. Spread about 2/3 of this mixture in an 8 x 8 inch pan. Carefully spread the cheese mixture on top. Cover with the rest of the chocolate mixture note the cheese mixture will not be completely covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.


Outrageous Brownies | Outrageous Brownies


stack of brownies

I’m not sure if I should thank the Barefoot Contessa or curse her. These outrageous brownies have wrecked my virtuous light day/clean eating/cutting back intentions more often than I’d like to admit. I say I’m making them for my son who has the proverbial hollow leg but … seriously who’s not going to eat these if they’re around? They truly live up to the Outrageous Brownie name she gave them in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Unbelievably rich, moist, dense and really, really chocolaty. This recipe is a massive pan of brownies so be forewarned.

Before you make them let me just say, you’re welcome… and I’m sorry.

Outrageous Brownies (adapted from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

  • 1 lb of unsalted butter
  • 1 lb plus 12 ozs semisweet chocolate chips (divided)
  • 6 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1 inch baking sheet. Melt the butter together with 1 lb of chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together one cup of flour, the baking powder and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the 12 ozs of chocolate chips in a  medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 35 minutes till a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake! Allow to cool and cut into squares.

I have four of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and every recipe that I’ve tried is just amazing. A lot of my favourites come from this book and the curried couscous from the same book is a cottage staple.

outrageous brownies