I’ve just started reading Morton N. Cohen’s edition of Lewis Carroll’s collected letters and the pitter-patter of rain outside seems bent on creating the perfect England-esque backdrop for my rambles into this bizarre British author’s mind. I’ve reached a sort of rut as far as my dissertation writing is concerned, so after rereading what I had written so far, I’m taking a step back this week and trying to focus on gathering as many clues as I can around the creation of the Alice stories. It’s kind of like playing a game of Clue, only you’re the only one playing and the clues appear in pell-mell fashion, willy-nilly and wherever they please. I never imagined that the whirlwind after the World Food Champs would take so long to calm down, but things are mostly settled now and (as odd as it sounds) thankfully I can get back to my research with minimal interruptions during the holiday break. My inner homebody is beyond pleased at this quiet change.
As I sift through Carroll’s letters from Oxford (where he served as a Mathematical Lecturer until 1881), I can’t help but fall in love with the author and his writing all over again. On Saturday, my British friend and I went on a long amble to the beach, where we strolled along the pier listening to live music and padded our way across the sand, far down the shore. I listened, fascinated, as he described his college at Cambridge and the lifelong groundkeepers who maintain the landscape and the ancient architecture that has seen so many developments yet stayed essentially the same since the 1300s. As we rolled up our jeans and waded into the Pacific, I found myself marveling at the fact that a place as many oceans and centuries away as 19th-century England could feel so close at the same time.
And then, of course, the ocean decided to be a rather “naughty” interruption on these reveling reflections and soaked us right through. But life’s a beach and I’m still feeling the inspiration afterglow!
Speaking of inspiration (and probably the worst possible segue imaginable, but I’m spending my brain points today on actual research yay), have I introduced you to these Golden Oreo-Stuffed Snickerdoodle Blondie Cheesecake Bars? Oh, I think you’d remember if I had!
I made these gorgeous bars last week for my students and our final class’s potluck. Talk about an easy potluck dessert with max wow potential! The tangy, creamy cheesecake blends perfectly into the cinnamon-filled, chewy snickerdoodle base. The Golden Oreos are a must in this recipe–they give it that familiar sweet punch of flavor that nobody can resist. Not that you’d even dream of doing so, right?
You can make these in a 9×13-inch baking pan if you’d like, but I made them in a 9×9 and love the thickness that results. Highly recommended if you have a holiday party coming up and just need to show the office who’s a baking boss!
Hope you’re all having an amazing week–happy holidays!
For the snickerdoodle blondie base:
- 3/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 20 Golden Oreos
For the cheesecake:
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 6 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the blondie base:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars. Mix in eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.
- Add flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in gently until just incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, then remove pan from oven. Top blondie base with 16 Golden Oreos (distributed evenly throughout the pan in 4 rows of 5). Meanwhile, prepare your cheesecake filling.
For the cheesecake:
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain. Blend in milk, then mix in eggs one at a time until they are just incorporated. Stir in yogrt, vanilla, and flour until mixture is completely smooth.
- Pour cheesecake batter on top of cooled blondie/Oreos base. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until cheesecake is mostly set (it should jiggle only slightly when the pan is shaken).
- Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before cutting into squares and serving!