I know that this blog is usually about what comes out of one of my studios; fabric, fiber, or glass. But you know what? The kitchen is the best studio of them all. I do like to consider my self a student of kitchen witchery, trying my hand at anything that looks good enough to eat. My favorites are deserts, specifically chocolate based deserts. It has taken me years to perfect “the perfect brownie” recipe. In my world brownies are not cake-like, they do not sit on your plate like bricks, they are not dry and crumbly, and most important of all: they are called BROWNies for a reason! They have to have chocolate! Now, I am not a fan of brownies that have hard bits of chocolate chunks in them, that is what I believe cookies are for. But that is my own little bias, I know this. Brownies should be moist, fudge like (at any temperature), and rich. And I don’t think it should take half the 11×17″ pan of brownies to satisfy the chocolate “goodieness” craving. One brownie should sate your craving and leave you satisfied and contended. Now if you WANT one more, that’s totally up to you.
Now to warn you, if you are looking for a low calorie, gluten free, dairy free alternative; just stare at my pictures… then go make yourself some “no pudge fudge” microwave brownies. Sorry these are not for you.
Okay no more teasing. There are two parts to these brownies, I love the addition of cream cheese. To me, this just makes the entire dish pop.
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray (for the pan only)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature for easy blending
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Guiridelli Dark Chocolate powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla beans soaked in Vodka)
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Take a 11×17″ pan and coat the bottom with the non-stick vegetable oil. Set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 325* F. Cream together the; room temperature butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla extract. Blend thoroughly. Create a well in the center, place the eggs and blend mixture together. Now add the flower over the mixture and fold in until just blended. Your brownie mix will be INCREDIBLY thick. Set aside.
Cream Cheese Layer:
- 8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 16 ounce box powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream together the room temperature cream cheese and the powdered sugar, this is IMPORTANT, this step prevents the mixture from being lumpy. Add the eggs and vanilla, blend until well mixed.
Assemble the brownies:
Take your pre-greased 11×17″ pan and put 2/3 the brownie mix down, you will have to press it to the sides it will be thick. Now place the cream cheese mixture on top, all of it, spread it out almost to the edges of the first layer. Now take the remaining brownie mixture and place spoon fulls on top of the cream cheese mixture, randomly. To get the cool swirly’s, take a thin knife and run it around the layers of brownie, swirling and dragging as you go. You’ll figure it out. Place in the center of oven and bake for 45 min- 1 hour. You will need to test done-ness by inserting a wooden stick into the center and if comes out almost dry you’re done. The cream cheese layer will turn slightly tan-brown.
LET them COOL, I know this is the hard part… but at least let it cool enough, so that you can place your hand on the center of the brownie and leave it there. Other wise when you cut it you will have a mess.
Cut and serve, (trust me your eyes will be bigger than your stomach) and enjoy.
*** If you are not a cream cheese fan, just skip that part and bake the entire brownie portion as is. You will get a flaky top. You can add nuts, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, cherries, what ever suits your fancy. But just know these brownies are moist and fudge like all on their own.***