Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cheesecake Brownies

When someone calls a dessert 'sinful', this is what they mean.

It means that you take two desserts that are sufficiently rich and indulgent in their own right and you go ahead and put them together anyway. What you end up with is something that may feel like a bit too much but you also can't seem to get enough.

These cheesecake brownies manage to pack a ridiculous amount of deliciousness in just one 2-inch square. The recipe is from David Lebovitz's blog, one of my favourites. He's the guy to go to if you need dessert advice or inspiration.

His recipe called for swirling the cream cheese mixture into the brownies but I decided to spread it evenly on top of the brownie batter. The result is a dense fudgy brownie topped with a rich creamy cheesecake layer.

You can also use your favourite brownie mix to make these. I baked mine in an 8-inch square pan, but if you make yours in a larger pan you can still use the same quantities for the cheesecake topping, you'll just end up with a thinner cheesecake layer. And you'll have to adjust the baking time.

David mentioned that these brownies could be frozen. That's a good idea, I thought, better to freeze some of them for later.

Yeah, right.

They didn't stay in the freezer for even a day.

Cheesecake Brownies

adapted from David Lebovitz

Brownie layer:
3 oz unsalted butter*
4 oz dark chocolate
⅔ cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

Cheesecake layer:
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
⅓ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

(*If you use salted butter then omit the salt from the recipe.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C (350⁰F).
  2. Add the butter and chocolate to a large glass bowl and place the bowl on a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the butter and chocolate have melted, then set the mixture aside to cool.
  3. When the butter-chocolate mixture has cooled, stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the beaten eggs and stir until well combined.
  5. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl, add the salt and coffee and mix well.
  6. Grease a sheet of foil and press it into an 8-inch square baking pan. Spread the brownie mixture evenly in the baking pan.
  7. For the cheesecake layer: Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie mixture, spread evenly and smooth the top.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow the brownies to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or overnight before slicing. Remove the brownies from the pan by lifting the foil out. Gently peel the foil away and then cut them into squares.
Makes 16 brownies.

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