Friday, February 29, 2008

Vanilla Cheesecake Stuffed Brownies

I wanted an easy recipe today after messing up the bread yesterday and having so much trouble with the blackberry bars the day before. I also wanted a fairly quick recipe -- no yeast with multiple risings -- since I have to be at work early. I thought about a couple of cake recipes, but I didn't have my cake carrier at home, which left those out. Cookies were a possibility, but I didn't want to have get up several times to switch out cookies -- just more work than I felt like dealing with.

The two biggest possibilities were scones or bar cookies. None of my scone recipes looked that tempting to me, so I flipped through the bar cookie section of my Passion for Baking book and settled on these. Easy, fairly quick, pretty basic and I haven't made something like this in a while.

I was quite frankly disappointed in this recipe. I'm pretty picky about my brownies -- insisting on deep, dark, fudgy chocolate -- none of that cakey brownie crap. The picture for these looked fudgy, but they are actually almost cakey. I also wanted more cheesecake to come through. What I envisioned for this recipe was super rich and dark brownies contrasted with the tangy bite of cheesecake. Both flavors equal and competing for your attention. Instead, I got a fairly cakey brownie without enough chocolate flavor, topped with a thin layer of cheesecake that didn't taste like much at all.

I was a bit suspicious of the brownie recipe in the Goldman book when I realized she wanted you to use semisweet chocolate chips and a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder for the chocolate but I decided to give it a chance anyway. I ended up using Sharfen-berger 60% cocoa bars chopped upped and Hershey's Special Dark cocoa, but even that wasn't enough chocolate flavor.

My most successful brownie recipes have come from Dorie Greenspan -- I have pretty much loved all of the recipes in the book Baking from My Home To Yours, so I think next time I try this type of recipe, I will use her Espresso Cheesecake Brownie recipe instead since it's one of the few brownie recipes from the book that I have yet to make.

Cheesecake Topping:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter
7 ounces semisweet chocolate chip, or a bar chopped up
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray an 11x7 inch pan with nonstick spray and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

For Cheesecake Topping: in a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar, then add egg, vanilla and flour and mix till smooth. Set aside.

For Brownies: melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler on top of the stove (or in a microwave) and let cool slightly. Whisk in sugar, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Fold in flour, cocoa, soda and salt to make a smooth batter.

Pour batter into pan and place on prepared baking sheet. Add Cheesecake Topping in dollops on top of brownie batter. Using a butter knife, make deep swirls so that you get a contrast of batter.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until brownies seem just set. It is tricky to test these, but if they are just set to the touch and cheesecake part is not wet, then they are done. Cool in pan 1 hour, then refrigerate before cutting. These brownies are best kept refrigerated and are good served or or warmed a bit. They also freeze well.


bjs said...

sorry i didn't get kudos to you at work... i think i mentioned to someone that they were mini-cheesecakes... didn't even know that they were called cheesecakes when i ate them,. for tha tmn aididn't know what they were browines

Anonymous said...

you & i have always been on the same brownie page--DOWN WITH CAKEY BROWNIES!!! DOWN WITH CAKEY BROWNIES!!! and i agree with you about these, too. i ate mine, but i thought the topping diluted the brownie taste without being interesting enough on its own to be worth diluting the brownie taste. if someone were to bake them again and bring them in, i'd eat another one, but you've made better brownies than this before.