Friday, September 9, 2016

Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies

I work in a library, but an academic library so while we offer lots of books to read, we don’t really have too many cookbooks. I read a lot, and I’ve discovered that e-books are great as I don’t have to carry around a lot of books. When I was browsing the public library’s site recently, I came across a couple of baking books that sounded interesting. I checked them out and I was able to save a couple of recipes.

This particular cookbook from Fat Witch Brownies has recipes, all for a 9” square pan. That usually isn’t quite enough for me to take to work, but we’re still on break and there aren’t too many people working in the library. It was the perfect opportunity to give these a try. These call for hazelnuts, which I love, but if you don’t have those you could use almonds or some other nuts. Make sure your hazelnuts are fresh, they can go stale or even get a little rancid.

This recipe has quite a few steps, so it makes a few extra dishes to clean. I swear I used like 4 spatulas. The original recipe called for finely chopped nuts in the filling and coarsely chopped nut in the brownie. My mini food chopper just does one thing, so I just used “chopped” nuts. When spreading the top layer of brownie batter on the bars, it doesn’t need to be neat and tidy. The batter is quite thick, but since you just swirl everything together, it works out fine in the end. These brownies are really fabulous, but I love hazelnuts so how could you go wrong?

Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup chopped hazelnuts

½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
5 tablespoons butter
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9” square pan.

Make the filling: in a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium until smooth. Add the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix again on medium to combine. Stir in the hazelnuts. Refrigerate the mixture while you make the brownie batter.

Make the brownie batter: in a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. In a large mixer bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium until combined. Add the cooled chocolate/butter mixture and mix on medium until incorporated. Add the flour and salt and stir on low just until combined. Stir in the hazelnuts.

Spread half of the brownie batter in the prepared pan. It will barely cover the bottom of the pan. Spread the chilled cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Carefully spread the remaining brownie batter on top of the cream cheese mixture. With a butter knife, swirl the layers together, creating a marbled effect.

Bake for 32-34 minutes, until a thin knife inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Fat Witch Brownies by Patricia Helding

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