So, Valentine’s Day is almost over and I hope that all of you out there had a better go at it than I did. The Husband and I came home disgustingly grouchy from a long, stressful day at work. Our puppy was being super naughty tonight, biting the hell out of everything, like her dirty pee pad and my arms. Then our washing machine decided to quit this bitch because it literally exploded. Water was pouring out of every crack ‘n crevice (how is that even possible?!). So, while the Husband took Abby out for a walk, I emptied the washer of all the suds, took the ten towels we used to sop up all the liquid, and hand washed them in the tub. Women back in the day must’ve been crazy strong – wet towels are heavy, yo. I can’t imagine taking my load of laundry down to the river bank, scrubbing it on that wooden washer/wringer thing-y and then hauling it all back to my homestead to hang before churning my butter and milking the cows. My puny, weak hands could barely wring out the towels and my back was killing me from leaning over the edge of the tub. Yes, I know, these are first world, 21st century problems.
Thank God I have the most magical, scrumptious, downright sexy brownies in the fridge.
All I want to say is: you need to make these brownies. As in, right now. Drop what you’re doing, run into the kitchen, and I can only hope that you have all these ingredients at hand. No? Then get your butt moving to the grocery store.
Maybe this beauty shot can provide some motivation. I’ve always wanted to make cheesecake swirled brownies. It’s been on my must-bake list for years. I don’t know why I never made them before but I now know what I’ve been missing. If you love dense, moist, decadent bites of rich, deep chocolatey goodness, layered with cheesecake and Oreo cookie crumbs for a fascinating, scintillating blend of flavours and textures, then this is the recipe for you.
This month’s Chocolate Party is featuring chocolate on chocolate, in honour of Valentine’s Day. This is the day when it’s pretty much a requirement to revere this glorious confection. Even if you don’t have a special someone to bake these for, bake them for yourself. You’re special and you deserve them. At least that’s what I tell myself when I shame-eat several of these at a time in the corners of dark rooms where no one can watch me and judge.
If you want to join the Chocolate Party, check out this post from our fabulous host, Roxana of Roxana’s Home Baking, for details. Feel free to link up to the party but make sure it’s a new post featuring chocolate and the month’s ingredient.
These brownies are ridiculously easy. I didn’t have to use my stand mixer. Just three bowls and some good ol’ fashioned man power (or in my case, wimpy arms a-flailing).
I made mine in a muffin tin but you can easily make these in bar form by using a square baking pan. If you use a pan, line it with parchment paper and butter/grease it for easier release.
Oreo Crumb Layer (from the Oreo Crumb box)
1 1/2 cups of Oreo crumbs
1/4 cup butter
Melt the butter in the microwave and pour over the Oreo crumbs. Mix together until all the crumbs are moist. Press the crumbs into your muffin tin or baking pan. No need to pre-bake these – you can bake the entire thing together at once.
Brownie Layer (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate and it worked fine)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 packet of Starbucks VIA instant coffee (optional)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or crushed chocolate chip cookies (I went with the latter – both are optional but highly recommended!)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the chocolate and butter together. You can do this with a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave.
After the chocolate and butter are melted and have cooled for few minutes, whisk in the sugar, eggs, vanilla, cocoa, instant coffee and salt.
Next, whisk in the flour until just combined.
I crushed about ten chocolate chip cookies and added that to my brownie batter. I used President’s Choice The Decadent CCC. I hardly ever eat mass produced cookies anymore but if these babies are around, I’m gobbling them up because they are delicious!
Cheesecake topping (from Smitten Kitchen)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla
Whisk together all the ingredients. Make sure there are no lumps of cream cheese. You can either use a mixer to do this or just make sure the cream cheese has softened to room temperature to ensure it whisks evenly.
Scoop the brownie batter into the muffin tins or pour into your baking pan. Dollop the cream cream on top and using a knife, swirl the cream cheese through the batter to make lovely designs on top.
Because my batter was so thick, especially with the big chunks of chocolate chip cookie, it was really hard to swirl. Thus, I did what comes naturally to me – I cheated. I spread the cream cheese all over the top, placed some of my spare brownie batter onto the tip of the knife and swirled that into the cream cheese. It was the only way I could get that contrast in colour between the two batters.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. You want wet crumbs to cling to your cake tester, otherwise your brownies have overbaked. Remove the brownies from the oven and allow to come to room temperature. Store in the fridge.
I’ve been eating these things every day. I just can’t stop myself, they’re punch-myself-in-my-own-face good.
Make sure to click on the linky button below to check out everyone’s amazing Chocolate Party contributions.