The addition of a layer of cream cheese goodness raises the bar on this brownie recipe. Then when you frost it with a creamy chocolate frosting, you know you’re in dessert heaven.
We attended a Stone Soup Supper Sunday evening and I volunteered to bring a dessert (naturally). Anytime I get to be up to my elbows playing in chocolate is a fun day, right? Stone Soup Suppers are a great tradition in our church and various members host them each winter. I’ll chat more about them soon with a recipe for Stone Soup. But for today I must share a new brownie recipe I discovered in the brand new Betty Crocker Cookbook. I topped the brownies with my own chocolate frosting recipe which I’ll share below.
There were 13 people at the dinner and I was glad I had a big pan of brownies because they were not shy in their appreciation. Success! But the brownies were so rich I was able to cut them into 32 bars, so we had plenty. The recipe says to cut them into 48 pieces, but I thought they would be too small.First a tip – the recipe calls for 4 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate blocks. I had only three, so I substituted 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of butter for the missing block. This is a standard substitution, so feel free to tuck it away and use it.
Cream Cheese Brownies
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Filling
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened. (I used 1/3 less fat, which worked well.)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Ingredients for Brownie Layers
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
• Grease bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.
• In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool for five minutes.
• While the chocolate is cooling, make the filling layer. In a medium mixing bowl, beat all the ingredients for the cream cheese layer until smooth. Set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, beat the chocolate mixture, sugar, vanilla and eggs for a minute.
• Beat in the flour and salt and mix just until incorporated – a minute or so.
• Stir in the nuts.
• Spread 1 ¾ cup of the chocolate batter in the baking pan and spread it evenly, reaching all the corners.
• Spoon the cream cheese filling over the bottom layer and smooth that out.
• Drop the remaining brownie batter randomly over the cream cheese layer.
• Carefully spread the top layer, using short strokes, to cover the cream cheese layer.
• The top may not look perfect, but do the best you can to cover it without mixing the layers together.
• Bake 45 – 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
• Cool at least 2 hours before frosting and cutting.
Nana Clare’s Chocolate Frosting
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TBS vanilla (I’m not shy about flavor)
2-3 TBS milk
2 ½ – 3 cups powdered sugar
• Use a mixer to blend the butter and cocoa.
• Add vanilla, salt and milk and then gradually add the sugar.
• If the frosting is too thick, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time.
• If the frosting is too thin, add more sugar, ¼ cup at a time.
This will yield a dark, rich chocolate frosting that will easily frost a layer cake, as well as a flat cake. If there is more frosting than you care to use, put some in a container in the fridge and spread on crackers for a great little treat.
The consistency of this frosting will remain soft and creamy, unlike a boiled frosting. It makes the cream cheese brownies seem that much more decadent as you lick it off your fingers.