Aida and I are back home this weekend spending time with family, picking strawberries, making jam and enjoying some Rochester Eats.
But last weekend we drove around windows down, enjoying the warm weather and beautiful back roads around our house. These guys were so adorable, I couldn’t help pulling over and snapping a few photos. I also made these chocolate cream cheese brownies, which completely redeemed every crappy cream cheese brownie recipe I’ve attempted in the past.
The secret seems to be in the cream cheese application. Instead of trying to dollop the cream cheese in uneven globs (which inevitably sink to the bottom and become little grease pools), it is spread out in as an even layer, and additional brownie batter is added on top to create the swirl. Genius.
Cream Cheese BrowniesAdapted, just slightly, from Cooks Illustrated Makes 16, 2-inch Brownies I used Hershey’s unsweetened baking bar, which was the winner in a Cooks Illustrated taste test against eight other brands, and it preformed much better than my old stand-by. Cream Cheese Filling
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour Brownie Batter
2/3 cup (3 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cream cheese filling, microwave cream cheese until soft, about 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk in sour cream, sugar, and flour. Set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Make foil sling for 8-inch square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so each is 8 inches wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan. Grease foil. Hint – if you put a small dab of grease on the bottom of the pan, and then between the two layers of foil, it keeps them from moving around as much when you grease the foil.
For the brownie batter whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl and set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Add melted chocolate mixture and whisk until incorporated; set bowl used to melt the chocolate aside – you’ll need this later. Add flour mixture and fold to combine. Transfer 1/2 cup batter to bowl used to melt chocolate. Spread remaining batter in prepared pan. Spread cream cheese filling evenly over batter.
Microwave bowl of reserved batter until warm and pourable, 10 to 20 seconds. Using spoon, dollop softened batter over cream cheese filling, 6 to 8 dollops. Using knife, swirl batter through cream cheese filling, making marbled pattern, 10 to 12 strokes, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges.
Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 1 hour.
Using foil overhang, lift brownies out of pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
I stored leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge. We actually liked them cold out of the fridge too.