Today was one of those days where I felt like baking; this doesn't happen often. Bakers are scientists, and I'm definitely not a scientist. But there are some days when making a pan of brownies for an office staff, just feels good.
I look at my Mondays as my pay it forward days---I like to do things for others on most days, but Mondays seem to be the day when I do something specific, not just the everyday kindness of letting someone go ahead of me in line at the supermarket, or helping someone heft a heavy bag into the overhead bin on a flight.
Today the recipients were my Physical Therapy office; everyone there is so kind, caring and have helped me with significant problems over the past few years. I'm very grateful, and rather than take them all out to dinner, I made a pan of the World's Greatest Brownies. You may think your brownies are the Worlds' best, but I have news for you--these are definitely the best!
World's Greatest Cream Cheese Brownies
Makes 24 two-inch squares
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
In a food processor combine the ingredients and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and set aside while making the brownie batter.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of a 13-by-9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine the butter, sugar, and eggs in the same food processor, and process until smooth. Add the cocoa and pulse on and off 3 to 4 times. Add the flour, and pulse until the white disappears. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan.
Spread the cream cheese filling over the chocolate batter.
Spread the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer.
Bake the brownies for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with some crumbs adhering to it.
When the brownies come out of the oven, prepare the frosting.
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
6-ounces semi-sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
In a saucepan, heat together the sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove the pan from the heat, and add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
Spread the frosting over the warm brownies.
Cut the brownies while they are still warm. If you let the brownies cool, and then cut them, the cream cheese filling will solidify and will not cut evenly.
The brownies will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days, or freeze well for up to 6 weeks.
I used Scharffenberger unsweetened cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate for the brownies; definitely a splurge, but well worth it for the amazing flavor.
I hope you enjoyed your day and I'll be back tomorrow with more.