I had been so good.
I was making healthier options for our treats and feeling pretty proud about it.
Well, yesterday, things took a turn for the bad.
Really, really, really bad. (As in 2 1/2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar, bad.)
Sometimes, though, it feels so good to be bad.
Black and White Brownie Cheesecake Squares, adapted slightly from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
nonstick cooking spray
2 c plus 2 T all-purpose flour
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t vanilla extract
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Increase speed to medium; beat until incorporated. (The batter will resemble a very thick dough.)
Reserve 1 cup of dough; cover, and refrigerate. Press remaining dough into bottom of prepared dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, 22-25 minutes (don’t overbake or this brownie layer will be too hard and crumbly). Let cool in dish on a wire rack.
Mix cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread over cooled base; crumble reserved dough on top. Bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack. Cut into squares. Squares will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
How can something with those ingredient not taste like heaven in a square?!?
So, yeah, they turned out amazing – though there were a couple of times where I wasn’t too sure…
First off, I wasn’t expecting the brownie dough to be so thick. It threw me off a tad. Secondly, my cream cheese mixture turned out really lumpy (and I had actually let me cream cheese soften for about an hour) – but no worries, it turned out great in the end.
My biggest issue was that when we went to cut into the brownies, ready to enjoy them with some decaf afternoon coffee, the brownie wasn’t even close to cooked through. When I did my first bake, I probably should’ve left it in for a bit longer (but I was worried about it getting overdone and dried out). So, for a quick fix, I actually put it back in the oven and baked it for another 5-10 minutes. They were still soft, but we kinda liked it that way.
Overall, I can’t say enough about these brownies. They are pretty darn close to the perfect dessert – cream cheese and chocolate together…yes, please! And the ratio is spot on. The brownies are quite chocolate-y without being overly sweet, and the cream cheese topping added just the right amount of a creamy tangy taste. We liked them a little warm and gooey, but you can serve them however you like. Everyone in the family loved them. (I know, you’re surprised.)
You will thank me on Monday.