Something strange happened the other day – I found myself on the couch, with remote in hand and absolute silence. I have to admit I had a mild rush of panic wondering what to do with myself as the notion of holding the remote, let alone having the house entirely to myself is definitely out of the ordinary.
Flicking through the channels tentatively, excitement growing that I could had the freedom to choose to watch something other than Top Gear or Science of Stupid or Nickelodeon channel, I settled on a Rachel Allen baking programme – although you probably guessed it would be something like that.
She was creating Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies and although intrigued, I was a little apprehensive as I always prefer my brownies to be chocolate, chocolate and only chocolate…but I just had to try them. The first taste was unusual as you definitely get the cheesecake flavour coming through, but as I always tell my son: Try, Try and Try Again – so by the third piece I was convinced that these not only work, they are absolutely 100% truly and delectably delicious. With it being so hot over the past few weeks I stored them in the fridge which any hardcore brownie loyalist would probably cringe at, but it enhanced the flavour combinations even more. The typical brownie gooey stodginess wasn’t sacrificed at all so I can happily announce my conversion. Not meaning I won’t be making my Best Chocolate Brownie again, cos I definitely will, it’s just nice to have a favourite alternative.
100 g butter
100 g dark chocolate
125 g castor sugar
75 g self-raising flour
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
100 g dark chocolate (in addition to the above)
200 g cream cheese
2 egg yolks
75 g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced) and butter and line a standard 20 cm square brownie baking tin with baking paper.
- If not using chocolate chips or buttons, chop the chocolate into smaller pieces.
- Place the butter and first 100 g of chocolate into a saucepan and melt over a low heat. Stir to combine until just smooth and remove from the heat. Beat in the sugar and a pinch of salt*, followed by the beaten egg yolks**.
- Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, add the chocolate chips and stir in. Tip the batter into the prepared tin and spread out using a spatula.
- In a clean bowl, beat all the ingredients for the cheesecake mixture together until smooth. Dot heaped teaspoonfuls of this mixture across the top of the brownie batter in the tin, then using a skewer or a knife, gently swirl the two mixtures together, right across the tin and up to the edges.
- Bake for between 30 – 35 minutes, but I’d advise to start checking from about 28 minutes, depending on your oven as you still want the centre to be a little wobbly and a skewer inserted to check should come out with a little mixture stuck to it.
- Remove it from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack in the tin (about 25 – 30 minutes). Removing from the tin too early will cause it to crack and crumble. The wobbly centre will set slightly as it cools but retains the combined squidginess of a brownie and a cheesecake.
- Once cool, remove from the tin and paper, but into 16 squares and serve.
*If you’re using unsalted butter, add the pinch of salt. If using salted butter, leave out the pinch of salt or it will be too salty.
**Place the egg whites into a sealable freezer bag, label with quantity of egg whites and freeze – great for making pavlovas or meringues.