Bittersweet Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

INGREDIENTS:

Yield: 9 large or 16 smaller brownies

Brownie Layer Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • funsize Snickers (optional)

Cream Cheese Layer Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C and place the rack in the center of the oven. Prepare a 9-inch square baking pan: Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Create a foil sling for the pan by cutting two 16-inch lengths of foil and fold them to widths of 5 inches each. Fit foil pieces into baking dish, one overlapping the other, pushing them into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. This creates a sling that will help you remove the brownies after baking and cooling. Spray foil lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Place a heat-proof stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to create a double-boiler. Place the butter and chocolate in the bowl to melt. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well with a wooden spoon after adding each. Add the flour and salt and continue stirring with the wooden spoon until the batter is glossy, smooth, and pulls away from the side of the bowl (about one minute). Reserve 1/2 cup of brownie batter for topping. Pour the rest of the batter carefully into prepared pan (here, you can stud the batter with rows of funsize Snickers if desired.
  4. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to blend the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and egg and blend just until smooth. Spread this mixture carefully over the brownie layer, and then place dollops of the 1/2 cup reserved brownie batter at even intervals over the top. Use a table knife or wooden skewer to carefully marble the dollops through the cream cheese, careful not to mix the batters.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and are just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack until almost cool. Then, chill the brownies in the refrigerator for about two hours, until they’re firm enough to cut into squares. Once chilled, remove the brownies from the pan by lifting the ends of the foil sling carefully. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 9 or 16 squares as desired, cleaning the knife with a warm, damp cloth between cuts. You can store leftovers in airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.

VERSION 2

INGREDIENTS:

Cheesecake topping:

  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Brownie Layer:

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1-inch. Spray with cooking spray.
  3. Cheesecake topping: In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the sugar and the vanilla until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until well blended. Set aside.
  4. Brownie layer: Put the chocolate, butter, and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat at 75 percent power for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again until melted and smooth, about 30 seconds longer. (Alternatively, put the chocolate, butter, and oil in a small heatproof bowl. Bring a small saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, not touching, the water, and stir occasionally, until melted and smooth.)
  5. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl.
  6. Combine the brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg whites, and vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated and the batter is thick and glossy. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir just until it disappears.
  7. Reserve 1/2 cup brownie batter and set aside. Scrape the remaining brownie batter into the prepared pan. Pour the cheesecake mixture evenly over top. Drop the reserved brownie batter in large dollops over the topping. Draw the handle of a wooden spoon through the two batters to create a swirled effect.
  8. Bake until the top is just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil and peel off the foil. Spray a knife with cooking spray and cut into 2-inch squares.
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