Friday, April 7, 2017

Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies

Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies - made March 26, 2017 from The Fearless Baker by Emily Luchetti
I need to rename these Mocha Cheesecake Bars because that’s what they are. Calling them cream cheese brownies implies there’s cream cheese swirling through the brownie like a supporting cast member. Instead, there’s enough cream cheese batter to warrant top billing and it’s more like a cheesecake with a bit of brownie along for the ride.

If you’re a cheesecake lover, that’s good news. If you’re like me and don’t care for cheesecake, it’s a bit of an “oops” moment. Although I did suspect that’s how it would turn out given the amount of cream cheese I saw in the recipe before I started making it. But I had bought that Costco pack of cream cheese because I needed 8 ounces for the coconut cake recipe and I had to figure out something else to do with the remaining 40 ounces that the pack came with. Honestly, that’s how I end up trying most of the recipes I make; I have too much of an ingredient and I need to use it up somehow.
As cheesecake brownies go, this one was fairly decent, especially if you’re a coffee or mocha lover. I still can’t get into cheesecake so this wouldn’t make my top 10 brownie list but it’s rich and decadent if you’re a cheesecake lover. I didn’t do a very good job of swirling the two batters together so mine came out more like a brownie layer on the bottom, a cheesecake layer on top and a swirly pattern overlay attempt. If you want more of a true swirl, rather than spreading into separate layers and then swirling, I would drop alternate dollops of each batter into the pan then run a knife through the dollops to make big swirls.

You can see bits of cream cheese that didn’t fully incorporate into the cheesecake layer because the cheesecake mixture was too liquid to blend them all in. Plus my cream cheese was probably too cool and I couldn’t get it more uniform without beating the batter too much. When it comes to cheesecake, you don’t want to overbeat the batter or you’ll aerate it and you won’t get that dense cheesecake texture. I don’t bake cheesecake-y things enough to get good at it so my amateur status is apparent in this brownie/cheesecake bar. Fortunately, it tastes better than it looks.
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
large pinch of kosher salt

Coffee-Cream Cheese Layer
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" square baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Brownie: Melt the chocolate and butter in the top half of a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Stir and scrape sides of bowl until mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside and let cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in the melted chocolate then the flour and salt; mix until well blended. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  4. Cream Cheese Layer: In another bowl, mix the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and stir until combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Stir in the instant coffee and vanilla until combined.
  5. Using the rubber spatula, spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the chocolate layer, then run a table knife through the cream cheese to swirl it into large white ribbons throughout the brownie batter.
  6. Bake, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

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