Sweet, Creamy and Tart: A Holy Trinity

A few weeks back I was on the lookout for a new dessert to bring to our office holiday luncheon. When my schedule changed, my contribution was depressingly reduced to two dozen cookies picked up at a nearby grocery store bakery. While the peppermint and red velvet cookies were a hit at work, they weren’t homemade. And when given the chance to bake for others, I leap at the chance.

The opportunity to make the following brownie recipe (courtesy of my aunt) thankfully resurfaced last week when Omaha, as I’ve mentioned before, was hit with a historic blizzard. Something like 12 inches of snow found its way on streets, lawns, roofs and, perhaps most frustrating, driveways. My driveway is hilly and long and a pain in the you-know-what to shovel. Matt and I tried to do it ourselves (OK, Matt made a grander attempt than I, but I digress), yet the white stuff proved too much.

That’s when our neighbor, Phil, stepped in. While away at a family party last week, Phil used his industrial-sized snow blower to completely clear our massive driveway. What a delight to arrive home to! To thank Phil for his kindness, I prepared these all-too-easy brownies. They are a simple dessert that’s equal parts sweet, creamy and tart. Best of all, when ornately arranged, they’re as pretty as they are delicious and a great way to say “thank you.”

Raspberry Brownies
Recipe courtesy of Diann Vannier

Prepare one family-size brownie mix, baking in a 9×13 pan for 15 minutes.

When the brownies have completely cooked, beat 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with a 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Spread the mixture over the crust, starting with a very thin layer to even out the crumbs, following with the remainder.

Top the cream cheese-powdered sugar mixture with a can of raspberry pie filling, and sprinkle sliced almonds on top.

It’s best to serve these delectable brownies after they’ve chilled in the refrigerator for an hour or two, thereby allowing the cream cheese and pie filling to set up.

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