Oct 22, 2009

Cream Cheese Brownies

I had high hopes for these little guys from the moment I saw them.  Brownies? I like brownies! Cheesecake? I like cheesecake! And I’ve never made either from scratch. In fact, I didn’t even know that brownies existed outside of Betty’s boxed powder world until not too long ago. Thanks, Grandma.

Not a lot to say about the steps. Although one thing that gets to me about baking in general is that there are always so many little ingredients that require measuring. And their own mixing bowls. And specific instructions. Like “gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level with a knife”. The fact that it has to be that precise in order to taste right scares me. And of course you have to add each ingredient separately. And gradually. Which, in my case, means while holding a speeding mixer in one hand and steadying the bowl with my elbow. And then, you beat or mix or whip just until it makes a very specific consistency. And don't overdo it, or you'll ruin it. Bah!

But ironically, it’s all those little steps that make baking the rewarding challenge it is. Since you’re not just clumsily dumping everything into the bowl, it creates a kind of allure. It’s the same deal with eating sushi, or crab legs. You have to sacrifice something in order for it to be great. (Although in my opinion, sushi can never be great, because what you’re sacrificing is all of your poor little taste buds.)





Anyways, I whipped up the brownie batter and spread it into the pan, let Luke have a heyday on the spoons, then whipped up the topping and poured it on top. Baked it. When it came out I thought I’d messed something up because there wasn’t as clear of a black/white layering like in the cookbook photos. Those darned photos. But after it cooled and I sliced it up, I found those beautiful layers on the inside.


And they are delicious. I highly recommend. But a note: I was expecting brownies the way I like brownies, which are gooey and fudgy and basically just plain under baked. But these came out more like cake. I’m sure I could have taken them out earlier, but I was scared I’d ruin the topping, which wasn’t set until the end. Maybe next time I’ll risk it for the love of fudge. Either way, it tastes like a layer of chocolate cake topped with a layer of cheesecake. And who can say no to that.

I dressed them up with red raspberries, which, in my opinion, should definitely be included in the recipe. So much better. Raspberries already go so great with chocolate and cheesecake, so putting all three together created very delicious results. And they’re light! As long as you don’t cheat and have seconds. Oops!


Cream Cheese Brownies
Yield: 36 Servings


Cooking spray
1/2  cup  butter, softened
1 1/2  cups  sugar
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
2  large egg whites
1  large egg
2/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa
1/2  cup  fat-free milk
1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour (6 3/4 ounces)
1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
1/4  teaspoon  salt

1  (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1  tablespoon  cornstarch
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1  (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1  large egg

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

To prepare batter, place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg whites and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa and fat-free milk; beat well (mixture will appear curdled). Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir with a whisk. Add to cocoa mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

To prepare topping, place cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add cornstarch and remaining ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Nutritional Information

Nutrition Info: Calories: 131 (29% from fat), Fat: 4.2g (sat 2.5g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.2g), Protein: 3.2g, Carbohydrate: 20.7g, Fiber: 0.7g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Iron: 0.6mg, Sodium: 88mg, Calcium: 51mg. Source: Cooking Light Complete Cookbook, 2008.


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