The Leprechaun’s Zucchini Brownies

Like many kids, mine struggle with green food phobia. It’s super frustrating and something that I hope they grow out of very soon, but for now I’m reduced to trickery to get them to eat their greens. My daughter is a holiday fanatic (doesn’t matter what holiday, so long as we are decorating for it and having a treat or two), and so I thought I’d take advantage of the most green holiday of the year to sneak some veggies into this particular treat: zucchini brownies. It worked!! The kids must have assumed that the specks of zucchini were some sort of leprechaun dust or something. I didn’t ask. They ate them up.
The Leprechaun’s Zucchini Brownies
1 13×9 pan of brownies
For the brownies
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
For the icing (not so healthy)
1/2 cup of butter
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp half and half
Mix together the wet ingredients first – the eggs, sugar, vanilla and apple sauce. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Then gently mix in the shredded zucchini and the chocolate chips.
Spread batter in a greased 9×12 dish and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Using a circle cutter, cut brownies into circles and set aside.
Start on your icing. Blend butter with powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then stir in your vanilla and half and half until smooth.
Top brownie circles with icing and green sprinkles. Enjoy!


Easy Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Easy Chocolate Cheesecake // Beckham + BelleMy family does Christmas Eve right with a spread of hor’douvres, desserts, and drinks. We don’t do a meal and since I generally prefer all day grazing, this is a perfect setup in my mind. Last year I contributed a cheesecake to the spread. Cheesecake is one of my Dad’s favorite desserts (he actually claims that the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake I made him earlier this year is now more specifically, his favorite dessert). I’ve always loved baking but making cheesecakes has become a new baking favorite of mine. They’re also fairly easy to make though can sometimes require a bit of a time commitment and almost always pre-planning. Anyway I figured making a cheesecake for Christmas Eve wasn’t really a bad tradition to start and actually a great one, so this was officially my 2nd annual Christmas Eve cheesecake.
Easy Chocolate Cheesecake // Beckham + Belle


recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan


Crust – 
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 T. sugar
4 T unsalted butter, melted

Filling – 
3, 8 oz. packages reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6 oz. dark chocolate, melted
Additional dark chocolate, shaved, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease a 9in springform pan.

Crust – 
In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, sugar and butter together until moist.
Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press along the bottom and up the sides of the pan (approx. 1.5 inches up the side if possible). Freeze the crust for approx. 10 minutes.
Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

Filling – 
In a large food processor or blender, add the cream cheese and sugar. Blend until white and smooth, approx. 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt and pulse approx. 6 times, scraping down the sides in between to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and pulse a couple more time until blended.
Scrape the filling into the cooled crust.
Fill a large pan (I use a roasting pan) with approx. 2 inches of water and place on the bottom rack in the oven (optional). This helps keep the oven heat moist and helps prevent the cheesecake from cracking while baking.
Bake the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven for approx. 40-45 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack. Once cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for at least 8 hours or ideally, overnight, before serving.
Garnish with shaved chocolate (optional).

The cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen, wrapped well, for up to two months. Defrost in the refrigerator before serving.

Easy Chocolate Cheesecake // Beckham + Belle



Honeycrisp Apple Fritters

honeycrisp apple fritters

About once every weekend, I announce “I need to bake something. What sounds good?” to my family. There’s rarely a shortage of suggestions and for the past month or so, my husband has been repeatedly requesting apple fritters. I would briefly consider his suggestion, but then dismiss it because it just seemed like too much work. Until this weekend. The poor guy had been sick all week and finally got his appetite back. So when he asked for apple fritters for the 5th time, I complied. Read More

Pumpkin Pie Streusel Coffee Cake

Happy First (Unofficial) Day of Fall! Even though it’s still blazing hot in the South, at this time of year my inner Northerner reminds me  that it’s time to start embracing the autumn season. And, for me (and countless others), baking is a big part of the season. Pumpkins, apples … you know the drill.

My grandma used to make delicious pumpkin muffins. There would be these pockets of pumpkin in them, that didn’t tasty bread-y like a muffin, but instead tasted like little dollops of pumpkin pie baked right into the muffin. They were amazing and she was well known for that recipe. I’ve had in on my mind for a while to try to recreate that unique texture and thought I’d give it a whirl in a coffee cake. While it’s not exactly like her muffins, it’s definitely reminiscent and definitely delicious. I hope you love it!

Pumpkin Pie Streusel Coffee Cake


For the cake
3 eggs

1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
7.5 oz. (1/2 can) pumpkin
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

For the pumpkin pie “dollops”
7.5 oz. (1/2 can) of pumpkin
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

For the crumb topping
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start with the crumb topping. Soften butter and mix in sugars and spice. Add flour and mix until crumbly. Set aside in fridge or freezer so it slightly hardens prior to baking.

Next, make the cake batter. Beat the sour cream and eggs.

Then add pumpkin to the sour cream mixture. Mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl.


Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Now, move onto the pumpkin “dollops”. Beat eggs, sugar and pumpkin in another bowl.

Pour cake batter into a prepared 9 or 10 inch cake pan.
Drop spoonfuls of your pumpkin mixture on top of the cake batter.


Gently spread pumpkin around. You do not want to incorporate it into the cake batter too much, just spread it out over the cake.


Finally, sprinkle crumb topping over the top.


 Bake for about 45 minutes, checking for done-ness with a toothpick.
Serve warm. So good!!

Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake Cups

Since I’ve been back to work the past couple weeks, I think my husband and I have had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner every night with the exception of a couple takeout nights. Clearly I haven’t quite figured out this full-time job/wife/mama-of-three life. I’m sure my family hopes I figure it out soon so we can go back to good meals and relaxing nights… (Does the latter exist with three kids?!)
Anyway, luckily I can never get sick of peanut butter. I really don’t think I could. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the right pb, j, and bread is probably one of my favorite foods. (Should I feel embarrassed that I just admitted that?) Peanut butter is good with a lot of things but next to jelly, chocolate is peanut butter’s best friend. Peanut butter, chocolate brownies, and cheesecake teamed up to make these handsome, rustic little guys. I love how simple these are, both to make and in their appearance. I took a shot at in the dark at 9 p.m. the other night by making these into cups instead of going for a full on cheesecake. I wanted to make my mom a little treat for her birthday, but considering I didn’t find time until 9 p.m. I thought I’d give the muffin tin a shot and cut down on the cook time. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of proud of myself for successfully creating these little cups. They’re unbelievably good. This is a no-fuss cheesecake recipe that is for the keeps.
Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake Cups
Yield: A dozen cups
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15-20 min
1 box brownie mix + called for ingredients
2, 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz. milk chocolate
1/3 c. 2% milk
2 T butter
peanut butter cups, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a regular sized muffin tin.
Make brownie batter according to package directions. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of the brownie batter into each muffin cup.
In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating in each as added. Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Spoon approximately 1/3 c. of the cream cheese mixture into each of the cups (spoon directly on top of the brownie batter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheesecakes are set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for approximately 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate ganache for topping. In a double broiler over low heat, combine chocolate, milk, and butter. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture becomes smooth. Remove from heat.
Once the cheesecakes have cooled, spoon a couple tablespoons over each cup. Finish with chopped peanut butter cups.