Ah, brownies. Along with cheesecake and pecan pie, brownies are surely one of America’s most ingenious culinary inventions. I was drawn to this recipe thanks to the intriguing soft cheese layer running through the middle of them – chocolate and cheese is definitely a match made in heaven!
I followed the recipe pretty faithfully, for a change! I used the last of my Valrhona cocoa in the cake and some bog standard cocoa in the frosting. For the cheese layer, I used a tub of light Philadelphia. I failed to take any photos of the mix because I was eager to get it in the oven, but it was fairly standard for a brownie mix – the key, as always, is not to stir it too much.
The brownies had to be left to cool for a bit before slapping the icing on, which I somehow managed to do with great self-restraint. I made the frosting a bit too early and it had solidified by the time I came to ice the brownies, but I just slightly heated it up again to loosen the icing.
All in all, these are some rather delectable brownies – extremely chocolatey, just the right texture and some nice contrasting flavours with the pecans and cheese. Definitely a winner in my book!
From a chocolate baking book from Next of all places, called Oh So… Guilty: Indulgent Chocolate Treats:
- 200g/7oz low fat soft cheese
- 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 85g/3oz butter, plus extra for greasing
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 100g/3.5oz self-raising flour, sifted
- 50g/1.75oz pecan nuts, chopped, plus extra to decorate
For the frosting:
- 55g/2oz butter
- 1 tbsp milk
- 75g/2.75oz icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a 20cm/8in square cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
2. Beat together the soft cheese, vanilla extract and 5 tsp of thhe caster sugar until smooth, and set aside.
3. Beat together the eggs and the remaining caster sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Place the butter and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the butter melts and the mixture combines, then stir it into the egg mixture.
5. Fold in the flour and pecans and stir until just combined – do not overmix.
6. Pour half of the mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Carefully spread the cheese mixture over it, then top with the remaining cake mix.
7. Bake in the oven for 40-45 mins and let cool in the tin.
8. Make the frosting by melting the butter in a small pan with the milk. Stir in the icing sugar and cocoa.
9. Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies and decorate with pecan nuts. Let the frosting set, then cut into squares.