Cream Cheese Brownies
For the first time since moving into our new house, I finally had a chance to do some “just because” cooking. It only took nearly a month and a half, but better late than never, right?!
These brownies were inspired by an excursion into Georgetown with my mom and my sister two weekends ago. We were wedding dress shopping at J. Crew, which might have been fun had they not only had one sample size of each dress. Their “sample size” was a size eight. News flash, J.Crew: the average American female is like a size 10 or maybe even a 12. Afterwards, we headed over to Dean & Deluca to browse the yummy goodies, and the three of us shared a cream cheese brownie. If you already feel demoralized for not being a size eight, why not eat a brownie? It’s not like it’ll make matters worse.
The cream cheese brownie we shared was awesome. There was an equal ratio of cream cheese to brownie, and I could only eat maybe 3 bites, it was so rich (although maybe the fact that I’m not a size 8 was still hanging over my head). I decided to make my own cream cheese brownies, and these do not disappoint (Cook’s Illustrated recipes are usually reliable). Although I wish there was more cream cheese.
Athena was wondering what I could possibly be doing if I wasn’t petting her. She knows perfectly well that she’s not supposed to put her paws on the table, but she sometimes choses to ignore our instructions. You should know that I made her get down right after I snapped this photo.
I’m currently in Ghana for work (again), so hopefully I’ll make my way through some archived recipes and photos while I’m here. In the meantime, if you’d like to participate in my first giveaway, click here!
Cream Cheese Brownies
From Cook’s Illustrated
The original baking time on this recipe was 50-60 minutes, and when I checked the brownies at 40 minutes they were perfectly done. If I’d waited to check them at 50 minutes they would have been overdone (and gross). My oven temperature was spot-on, so you might want to start checking the brownies around 35 minutes. Also, I didn’t really read the directions when it came to layering the brownies, so my finished product wasn’t as pretty as it could have been…. next time I’ll follow the instructions!
|2/3||cup (3 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour|
|1/2||teaspoon baking powder|
|1/4||teaspoon table salt|
|4||ounces bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate|
|2||ounces unsweetened chocolate|
|8||tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter|
|1||cup (7 ounces) sugar|
|2||teaspoons vanilla extract|
|Cream Cheese Filling|
|8||ounces cream cheese , room temperature|
|1/4||cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar|
|1/2||teaspoon vanilla extract|
FOR THE BROWNIE BASE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray, and, fit an 8-by-16-inch sheet of aluminum foil in bottom of pan. (Foil overhangs both sides of the pan; use as handles to remove baked brownies from pan.) Coat foil with cooking spray.
In a medium heat-proof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, melt chocolate and butter in microwave oven.) Remove melted chocolate mixture from heat; whisk in 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla; then whisk in 3 eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue whisking until mixture is completely smooth. Add dry ingredients; whisk until just incorporated.
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FILLING: In a small bowl, beat cream cheese with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and egg yolk until of even consistency.
Pour half the brownie batter into prepared pan. Drop half the cream cheese mixture, by spoonfuls, over batter. Repeat layering and swirling with remaining brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Use blade of a table knife or a spoon handle to gently swirl batter and cream cheese filling, creating a marbled effect.
Bake until edges of brownies have puffed slightly, center feels not quite firm when touched lightly, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into center comes out with several moist, fudgy crumbs adhering to it, 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool brownies in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use foil sling handles to lift brownies from pan. Place brownies on wire rack; allow them to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. (To hasten cooling, place brownies in the freezer for about 1 1/2 hours.) Cut into squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve.)