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The new year started on a bad foot – from a baker’s perspective. My sleek new scale, one of last year’s Groupon deals, let me down, just when our monthly ABC challenge was due.
The stores were closed on New Year, no new batteries could breathe life into the scale, and I did my best to fight early withdrawal symptoms with Maggie Stiefvater’s “Raven Boys”, and my daughter Valerie’s Death-by-Chocolate-Cookies.
I used half of the recipe, a large pan full is a bit too much just for us two.
Warned by fellow bakers that the brownies were too sweet, I reduced the sugar in both batters, and cut down on the salt, too.
I also exchanged some white flour with whole wheat.
Coffee enhances chocolate flavor (and vice versa), so I added this optional ingredient.
And a bit of orange flavor would give some pizzazz to the vanilla cheesecake batter.
CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE BROWNIES
adapted from King Arthur Flour
(16 small pieces)
113 g unsalted butter (1 stick)
175 g sugar
53 g cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
7 g vanilla extract
30 g all-purpose flour
30 g whole wheat pastry flour
170 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
226 g cream cheese (1 package), at room temperature
50 g sugar
28 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 – 1 tsp. orange zest
28 g heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°F/175ºC. Line an 8″ x 8″ baking pan crosswise with 2 stripes of parchment paper (8″ wide), and long enough to hang over the sides.
|Cook butter/sugar mixture until smooth and shiny|
For the brownie batter: In a medium saucepan, melt butter, then stir in sugar, cooking until mixture is smooth and shiny. Remove from heat, and stir in cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla.
|Stir flour last into the chocolate mixture|
Whisk eggs in the (slightly cooled) mixture, then flour, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
|The cheesecake batter can do with a little orange pizzazz|
For the cheesecake batter: Beat cream cheese until no lumps remain. Mix in sugar, flour, and orange zest, then vanilla extract, cream, and egg, until combined. Set aside.
Fold chocolate chips into the brownie batter. (It should have cooled a bit, so that the chocolate will not completely dissolve.)
|Pour half of the chocolate batter in the pan|
Spoon half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan, then top with cream cheese batter.
|Spoon cream cheese batter over chocolate bottom layer|
Dollop remaining brownie batter onto cream cheese. Using a fork, swirl the two upper layers into a marble pattern. (My marbling could do with a little improvement.)
|My marbling could improve a bit|
Bake brownies for about 45 minutes, rotating pan after half the baking time (for even browning,) until a tester comes out clean (if it doesn’t hit a chocolate chip), and the edges are set, but the middle still feels springy to the touch.
Using the parchment paper overhang as handles, lift cake out of the pan and set on a wire rack to cool.
|My brownies were a little bit too long in the oven|
The brownies were nice and moist, fudgy and very chocolate-y, with a hint of orange. Since they are so rich, I recommend cutting them in fairly small pieces. We liked them best warm, with vanilla ice cream and a few chopped pecans.
Wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool room, the brownies keep for at least 3 days. You can also freeze them.