Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cheesecake Brownies

This week our office held a bake sale for a very good cause. Though I am not taking part in the athletic events and training given to the big life change Mihai and I are about to experience, I was happy to at least help out by making something for the bake sale. From everything I've seen of bake sales, they are not the place to whip out anything too exotic, so I decided to go with a classic American staple: the brownie. But, in order to satisfy my need to try out new things, I finally attempted this cheesecake brownie recipe I've had starred in Reader since 2007.

The results of this experiment were mixed, I would say. On the one hand, these brownies sold out, so they must have looked appealing. On the other hand, I would make one or both of the following changes next time around: 1) mix the cheesecake batter with the brownie batter more thoroughly, and 2) try out a different brownie batter. Mihai and I both agreed (we had a small piece each before giving the rest of the pan to the sale) that the brownie batter was a bit dry. However, the cheesecake portion of the brownie was deliciously moist - so perhaps mixing the two together more would be sufficient. But it's also possible that the brownie batter really needs some chocolate chips/chunks in it (not just cocoa) to make it be as rich as I personally like my brownies to be.

All this said, this recipe is still good enough to be posted here - it just might need some tweaking to be a truly successful one.

Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from La Tartine Gourmande

For the brownie batter:
⅔ cups cocoa
1 stick unsalted butter, diced
¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
⅔ cups all-purpose flour

For the cheesecake batter:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg yolk
⅓ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Mix all the cheesecake batter ingredients together to obtain a smooth creamy texture. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper.

3. To prepare the chocolate batter, start by melting the cocoa and butter in the microwave. Let cool slightly.

4. Beat together the eggs and sugar with a pinch of salt until light and pale in color.

5. Fold in the chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture first, then the flour. Do not overmix.

6. Pour the chocolate batter into the pan. Add the cheesecake batter on top and make a swirly design in it using a fork or knife. (See notes above - don't be afraid to intermix the batters more than in my pictures.)

7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares.