I really don't make brownies very often, which is probably a good thing because I love eating them. The best brownie recipe (okay I think actually the only brownie recipe that didn't come out of a box) that I've used was one from a high school cooking class. I'm not sure where that recipe went though. Anyway I came across this recipe for fudgy brownies in an issue of Everyday Food that had a modification option for cream cheese brownies. Cream cheese anything, and I'm sold. The other great thing about this recipe is the use of actual chocolate and cocoa powder, instead of just cocoa powder (which I'm not a big fan of).
I'm undecided as to what my favourite kind of brownie is - traditional fudgy and kind of gooey like this one, or really dense but more similar to a dry cake-y ganache (if that even makes sense, I'm thinking of the brownies at Terra Breads mmmm). The brownies that I made fall under the fudgy and kind of gooey, and they're definitely good but I wouldn't make the cream cheese variation of this recipe again. The cream cheese mixture was poured a bit in the middle and then on top, but it all seemed to float to the top. Everyone agreed that it wasn't worth it to put the cream cheese mixture into the brownies - it just didn't add that extra something special that I thought it would. For me, it didn't taste enough of cream cheese, but some people thought it did. It also bothered me that it browned so much on the top (it didn't look like this in the photo provided in the magazine but then that food isn't always edible or fully cooked). I'll still be keeping my eyes open for another cream cheese brownie recipe though. I want to try David Lebovitz's dulce de leche brownies next!
Super Fudgy Brownies (with Cream Cheese option)
Adapted from the May 2007 issue of Everyday Food
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Line bottom and two sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two sides. Set pan aside. In a small bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; remove bowl from pan. Add sugar; mix to combine. Add eggs, and mix to combine. Add flour mixture; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Using paper overhang, lift brownies out of pan; transfer to a rack to cool completely (still on paper). On a cutting board, using a dampened serrated knife, cut into 16 squares. Store in the refrigerator.
Cream Cheese Variation
4 ounce bar cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Before transferring the batter to the pan at the end of step 2 in the basic recipe, prepare cream cheese mixture: whisk 4 ounces room-temperature bar cream cheese with 2 tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter. Whisk in 1/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg, and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Alternately spoon chocolate batter and cream cheese mixture into pan; with the tip of a paring knife, swirl to marble.