One of the many requests I received the other day was for a really good homemade brownie recipe. I love brownies...they are just yummy!! So today, I thought I'd offer up 2 versions...a simple but delicious Brownie and a Marble Cheesecake Brownie version. I'm also going to add on a recipe for a REALLY good Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting that works extremely well on almost any brownie (not to mention other sweets...haha).
Brownies come in many forms...cake-like, fudgy...even "blond". While I admit that "blondies" are similar to brownies, they are technically a different type of dessert, which is why I'm not including a recipe for those today. Certainly...if someone out there would like a recipe for them, I'll be happy to find one, but for this session, I thought concentrating on our gooey chocolate friends would be best.
First thing...we need to discuss quality of chocolate. That is what "makes" the brownie, after all. Sure...you can cut corners on cost, but all that gets you is sub-par ingredients for the same calories. Why waste money on something that doesn't taste as good? So, for these recipes, I HIGHLY recommend using a quality chocolate...Baker's or Ghirardelli are excellent choices. Believe me, you will appreciate it when you take that first bite!!
4 1oz squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional...pecans or walnuts are the best choices)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13x9 pan, set aside.
In a large bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, using 30 second intervals and whisking, until completely melted and blended. Add both sugars, mixing well. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a second bowl, then gradually stir into chocolate mixture until completely blended. Add nuts (if using), and stir together.
Pour into the 13x9 pan, and bake for up to 25 minutes (start checking on them around 18 minutes...since ovens vary, they could finish quicker). A toothpick that comes out almost completely clean when inserted in the center means they are done. Remove; allow to cool for 15 minutes. Cut using a wet knife. Makes approximately 12 brownies.
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons light cream or half-n-half
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons cocoa powder
In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter and honey. Add salt and blend. Add 2 tablespoons cream, and blend well. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until all used up. Add the vanilla and cocoa powder, mixing thoroughly (you may add the additional cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is the right consistency...you want it spreadable, but thick). Makes enough frosting for 2 9inch layer cakes. Refridgerate leftovers.
1 8oz package cream cheese (regular or low-fat, but not fat-free), room temp
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 large eggs, room temp
2 large egg yolks, room temp
1 tablespoon PLUS 1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
6oz (about 3/4 cup) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (chopped) or chocolate chips
3oz (about 1/4 cup) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack to lower 1/3 of the oven. Grease AND flour a 9 inch square baking pan; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar until well blended (about 4 minutes with a hand mixer). Scrape sides of bowl often. Add 1 whole egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine both types of chocolate and the butter, and melt in your microwave, using 30 second intervals and whisking, until completely melted and smoothly blended. Add the remaining sugar and mix with a hand mixer for 2 minutes (4-5 if doing by hand), until mixture is very smooth and silky. Add remaining eggs, egg yolks, and remaining vanilla, blending until thoroughly mixed. With a wooden spoon or a spatula, blend in the flour, baking powder and salt...do NOT use mixer for this, it will go everywhere. Stir until well mixed.
Spread 3/4 the chocolate batter in your prepared pan as evenly as you can. Using a spatula, spread the cream cheese mixture across the top of the batter, covering as much as you can. Spoon the remaining chocolate batter in dollops all over the cream cheese mixture. To create the swirl effect, use a sharp knife and slice through each dollop of chocolate batter WITHOUT lifting the knife out, creating a psychedelic pattern of twists and turns. Try not to let the knife scratch the bottom of the pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes. Cut the brownies into squares while they're still in the pan. Carefully remove them with an offset spatula. Serve immediately, or let cool completely before covering with plastic wrap for storage at room temperature. They will stay fresh for up to 4 days. The brownies can be tightly wrapped in wax paper, sealed in a freezer-safe bag, and frozen for up to 3 months; allow them to thaw at room temperature before serving. Makes 12-16 brownies.
Brownies can be soooo yummy, and these recipes prove it!! ENJOY!!!