Sunday, January 22, 2012

Really Rich Brownies

Last week I saw an episode of America's Test Kitchen that featured a brownie tasting on the streets of Boston.  About half of the public testers preferred the made-from-scratch brownies because of their intense chocolate flavor, but the others liked the from-a-mix brownies better because of the chewy texture.  That really surprised me.  The recipe I use produces brownies that aren't particularly chewy, but I've never served them to anyone who didn't prefer them to the box mixes.

This is another of my mother's recipes, original source lost in the mists of time.

Cream Cheese Brownies

4 oz sweet chocolate
3 Tblsp + 2Tblsp butter
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 c + 3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1Tblsp + 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp + 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate and 3 Tblsp butter over very low heat or in a microwave; stir, set aside to cool.

Cream the cream cheese with the rest of the butter.  Gradually add 1/4 cup of the sugar, creaming until fluffy.  Blend in one egg, 1 Tblsp flour, and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla.  Set aside.

Beat the remaining two eggs until light-colored.  Slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar; beat until thickened.  Add the baking powder, the rest of the flour, and the salt.  Blend in the cooled chocolate mixture, the rest of the vanilla, the almond extract, and the nuts if you are using them.

Grease an 8"x8" or 9"x9" baking pan.  Spread half of the chocolate mixture in the pan.  Top with the cream cheese mixture.  Spoon the rest of the chocolate batter over the top.  Zigzag a knife through the batter to marbelize it.  Bake for 35-40 minutes and cool before cutting into squares and serving.

"If you want cakey, eat chocolate cake. Brownies should be dense and moist and fudgy." ~Houghton Mifflin

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