This week, to quote LL, "you had me at cream cheese". And while we're at it, LL, get ready to slap yo mama, 'cause this one is worth it. You may even slap her twice. Or heck, just slap all the kids and anyone else in range. It's that good.
This is another super rich recipe, next week I've got something else in store that is much lighter and perfect for the summer (still tweaking a couple of things in it, so it has to wait another week).
Time for a confession; this was the first time I've made this. Typically I stick with tried and true recipes, but this little beauty comes from a trusted source (thanks Jen B!), and I've been eyeing it for a while. I had narrowed down this STS to four things and had Aaron pick just by title. Bless him for picking this. Because of his good judgement, I spared him the slap and just slapped myself!
Cream Cheese Brownies
This is an amazingly fudgy (fudgey?) brownie and a cheesecake all married up together. And trust me, they live very happily ever after. Oh boy, do they ever.
Dear heaven, hang on, I need to go take another bite.
(honey, I'm sorry if the keyboard is sticky and chocolatey now)
First I'm going to give you the recipe in it's originally given form, then if you want to read a tad bit further I'll tell you the few minor things I will tweak next time I make this. They are mostly a convenience thing, and won't detract from the amazing taste of this. I promise.
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325. (make sure rack is in the center)
Ready a 9x9 baking pan by lining with foil across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan. Set aside.
In stainless steel (heatproof) bowl placed over pan of simmering water (or use a double boiler), melt the butter and chocolate (I used cocoa powder-see end of post).
Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (with wooden spoon-or plastic spoon in my kitchen) after each addition. Stir in the flour and salt and beat with spoon until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan (about one minute).
Remove 1/2 cup of the brownie batter and set aside. Place the remainder of the brownie batter evenly into prepared pan.
Using a food processor or hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, and egg and beat until creamy and smooth.
Spread the cream cheese filling over the brownie layer. Spoon small dollops of the reserved brownie batter evenly on top of the cream cheese filling.
Then with a table knife or wooden skewer, swirl the two batters without mixing them.
(All right-so I mixed them a bit much-and used a bit much batter on top, but it still worked!)
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25min, or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the edges of the brownies are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven ad place on a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate the brownies until they are firm enough to cut into squares (at least 2 hours). Once chilled, remove the brownies from the pan by lifting with the ends of the foil and transfer to a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into 16 squares. It is a good idea to have a damp cloth nearby to wipe the knife between cuts. These can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
(if you don't refrigerate them as long, they are gooey like this. Mmmm....gooey.......)
**My Little Tweaking**
-if you don't have unsweetened chocolate, you can use 3 Tbsp baking cocoa + 1 Tbsp water for each ounce of chocolate
-ALWAYS double vanilla in a recipe. any recipe. Always. Trust me. Just do.
-Pre-baking the brownie layer before topping it with the cream cheese layer provides a nice foundation. Only bake for it for about 5 min though.
-I'm sure there is a great reason to only put foil up two sides of the pan, but I had some seepage under the foil making it harder to remove, so next time I will foil the whole pan.
Also, I may double the cream cheese layer next time I make these. Just to give it a little more height and swirling effect. Although that just might cause me to water at the mouth for days, which would make my floor slippery, and you know how accident prone my #5 is, so.....apparently I'll need to invest in some bibs for myself before I do that.