Monday, November 8, 2010

Cream Cheese Brownies

This is my current favorite recipe...and it has held its position since the last year or so. Its somewhere between fudgey and cakey with lots of chocolate bits, so it seems to be well liked by everyone. It can be made pretty quickly too since you don't need to soften the butter. It usually takes me about 30 mins or less to prep and mix and 30-35 mins to bake.

For the chocolate part:
4 oz semi sweet chocolate (4x1 oz Baker's Semi Sweet chocolate squares)
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (salted)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate chips)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp instant coffee (optional)

For the cream cheese part:
8 oz or 1 block of cream cheese softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 deg.

Put the chocolate squares and butter in a saucepan and melt on lowest flame. I'm supposed to chop the chocolate but I've been lazy of late and I dump it all in and compensate by some more frequent stirring so it doesn't burn. Make sure it doesn't get too hot.

Meanwhile beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy (about 3-4 minutes). Note: Its best for eggs to be at room temp for baking anything. I usually take the eggs out of the fridge and submerge them in a bowl of  warm water for a couple of minutes since I'm always baking at short notice.

Once the egg sugar mixture is light and creamy, add the vanilla, salt and instant coffee powder and stir. Coffee seems to enhance or deepen the chocolate flavor but the brownies come out good even without it.
Now add the butter and chocolate mixture while stirring (to avoid cooking the eggs)

Fold in the flour with a spatula but don't over do it, just 15 strokes should be enough. Add the chocolate chips (reserve a few to sprinkle on top) and fold a few times. Stir or fold just enough so no streaks or lumps of flour can be seen. Too much mixing will result in a tougher brownie. In fact, I do everything by hand once I begin adding flour.

Another note about flour: Measure flour by spooning it into a cup and leveling off. Dragging a cup through flour will pack it with too much flour resulting in a denser brownie. Also I sift flour by dumping the cup into a big strainer over my mixing bowl..its much faster. Nowadays, I find that just whisking the flour also aerates it enough so I don't need to sift unless I'm making a light airy cake.

Line a 13x9 pan with a long piece of aluminium foil leaving some extra overhang over 2 sides to use as handles later and spray well with Pam. Dump the chocolate mixture into it spreading it to reach the sides.

Now blend the cream cheese and sugar well until relatively smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and blend at medium speed just enough to incorporate the egg. Stir a few times with the spatula so any cream cheese along the sides of the bowl mixes in.

Plop giant spoonfuls into the chocolate mixture and then drag the end of a butter knife through the white and dark patches to swirl and marble the mixture. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate chips over the top for a nice contrast.

Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes or so. Check at about 30 mins. A toothpick poked in the center and pulled out should have sticky crumbs on it..but should not look like batter (underdone) and should not pull out clean (overdone). I always err on the underdone side since it will continue to cook for a few minutes as it cools.

After about 10-20 mins of cooling, pull the brownie slab out with the aluminium foil overhang. Cut with a serrated knife into small squares.

Variations: You can skip the cream cheese part and they still yield some awesome chocolate brownies. Add chopped walnuts for some crunch or mint chips for a chocolate-mint version.

I'll update this post with pictures later. I forgot to take any pics this time!

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment