Every year I attend Maynardville Theatre to see Shakespear under the stars. This year’s performance was A Comedy of Errors. It was a modern adaptation which was pulled off beautifully. My favorite part of these evenings is not only the play but also the picnics that occur before and during the evening. As much as I love the picnic culture, here in South Africa, this year we chose to dine nearby and only do the dessert picnic during the 20 minute intermission.
Champagne, berries and cream cheese brownies were on this picnic menu. I have always loved the combination of chocolate and berries. Since brownies are so easy to transport and I had an excess of cream cheese in my fridge, the extra swirl to my favorite brownie recipe was a natural combination. I did get some inspiration from Smitten Kitchen and Huffington post but the final recipe ended up being my brownies with an addition of David Levowitz’s cream cheese swirl. The outcome is worth that extra work of creaming the cheese and cleaning the bowls!
Before arriving at this luscious finished product, I thought I should share a few pictorial shots of what it took to achieve the perfectly decadent, gooey, chocolaty brownie.
There is no doubt that I had to use a lot of bowls. One was for the cheese swirl, which was easy as long as you soften the cream cheese ahead of time.
Using top quality ingredients is also a must. For this recipe, I used lindt chocolate that I melted using real butter. None of that fake stuff here.
Being precise is also very important so I often use a scale to measure my ingredients, especially when baking.
Once the chocolate and butter is melted and cooled, I add it to the egg and sugar mixture. Finally, I carefully fold in the flour and coco, being sure not to over mix. I use a spatula rather than an electric mixer for this final step.
Once the brownie dough is ready, I spread it into a glass baking dish, which has been well greased, and pour the cream cheese mixture on top.
At this point, the artist in you can be unleashed to produce beautiful swirls with a knife, which is almost an artists’ palette!
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes et voila….a treat for the discerning chocolatier.
- 8oz pkg cream cheese
- 1 egg
- ⅓C sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Brownie batter:
- 5oz(155 gm) Bittersweet chocolate
- 10tbs (155 gm)Butter, cut up in pieces
- ⅔C (100gm) All purpose flour
- ⅓C (15gm) Cocoa powder
- ¾tsp Salt
- 1 ¼ C (300gm)Sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Mix cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until well blended.
- Melt butter and chocolate together in a bain-Marie or over low heat.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla until well combined.
- Add chocolate mixture then gently fold in flour mixture until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over chocolate. With a small knife, swirl around cream cheese mixture.
- Gently tap pan on the counter to release air bubbles.
- Bake until shiny and toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies come out with a few crumbs come out on toothpick.
- Let cool before removing brownies from pan.
Location: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.