Today is the first day of school! If you haven’t gone back already, you will probably be heading back soon, so today’s recipe is a great one to file away for your first day.
I don’t know about you, but I think my kiddos could always use a little pick me up on the first day. And to be honest, I could too.
Don’t get me wrong, once the day starts and everyone is back into the routine it is usually a great day – a day full or reconnecting with old friends, meeting new people, setting goals for the new year, and getting excited about new opportunities. By the time we all reconvene in the kitchen around 8 o’clock at night everyone is smiling and laughing and talking over one another trying to share about their day. Like most things in life, the anticipation is so much worse than the thing itself.
But, no matter how many times we’ve done this, those anxious mornings don’t seem to go away. In the old days, back when the kids were small, I always celebrated back to school with a special breakfast – something a little sweeter than we’d normally enjoy, a fun playlist and some simple decorations. But now we are on different schedules and some of us leave way too early for that. Never mind the fact that no-one in my house is a breakfast eater anymore.
So one simple way I’ve tried to ease the transition on the first day of school is by packing a special lunch for my children. I pack their lunches everyday – one child has food allergies, another is a vegetarian and my third is just a health eater who doesn’t like school lunch options – so making lunch on the first day isn’t unusual.
But I do try to be sure there is something special in their lunch boxes on the first day, and these cream cheese blondies are the perfect sweet treat. They are quick and was to make – basically a cookie bar with a swirl of cream cheese filling, they pack well and they aren’t too messy (like my fudge brownies definitely tend to be).
I start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and lining a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl I mix together the melted butter and brown sugar. Then I beat in two eggs and some vanilla and beat until well combined. In a separate bowl I combine the whole wheat pastry flour, salt and baking powder and then I add the dry ingredients to my butter mixture, blending just until combined.
In a small bowl I mix together my softened cream cheese and sugar, then I add in one egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
I spread 2/3 of the batter into the bottom of my prepared pan. Then I drop spoonfuls of cream cheese filling on top and top that layer with the remaining batter. I use a knife to swirl the layers together and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the blondies are lightly browned.
Then I allow them to cool a bit and cut into bars. They are delicious on the day you make them, but will keep well in a covered contained for 3 days or in the fridge (we like them in the fridge) for up to five.
Let me know if you give these a try and if they are a hit with your back to school friends.