Thursday, January 01, 2009

Using What I've Got... Espresso Brownies with Cream-cheese Swirls

Just because my equipment is non-functional doesn't mean that I have to follow suit. I am in awe of my amazing little toaster oven... it's really picking up the slack for it's big-sister and is helping me get through my baking-addiction.

It's the start of a new year and I couldn't feel any less energized to ring it in. I decided to surprise the family this New Year's morning (which, by the time everyone woke up was actually 11am) by baking them a fresh batch of Espresso Brownies! But being that coffee tastes so much better when cream is added I decided to add in an amazing cream-cheese swirl topping.

Espresso Brownies with Cream-cheese Swirls

Ingredients for Brownies:
1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate (6 squares)
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
2 1⁄2 tbsp. instant espresso coffee powder
1 tbsp finely ground coffee grinds (optional, but adds a nice texture)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Cream-cheese Swirls:
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp all purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 8x8-inch square baking pan.
2. In medium saucepan, over low heat, melt butter and chocolate, stir until smooth. Remove from heat, stir in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla and coffee grinds if using.
3. Add eggs and salt, blend well.
4. Gradually stir in flour, mix until smooth. Spread batter evenly into pan.
5. Make cream-cheese mixture by creaming together the cream-cheese, butter and sugar. Add in beaten egg and mix in flour until well incorporated.
6. Make swirls: drop dollops of cream-cheese mixture by the tablespoon onto the brownie batter in a random design of "dots". Use the tip of a sharp knife to run through the various cream-cheese dots and swirl the batters together.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool thoroughly in pan on wire rack, cut into squares.

These brownies were amazing! Much better than the boxed kind (although I do love Betty Crockers brownies :O) The cream-cheese swirls were not overpowering in flavor, but did add that wonderful subtle creaminess to contrast the rich dark-chocolate flavor of the brownie batter. The addition of finely ground coffee beans was also very intriguing; they added a slightly gritty texture to the bars that lingered on after you swallowed the rich brownie. I've always been a fan of the chocolate covered coffee beans... I just love the grit, I don't know why?! I will definitely be making these brownies again, I might even have to make a double batch because my sisters loved them so much.


Steph said...

I wish I could get my toaster oven to bake properly. The temperature is way off! I don't like brownies, but I love the cream cheese swirl.

Jude said...

What a nice thing to do for your family :)

Camille said...

Wow! I'm impressed! I don't think I would even attempt a boxed brownie mix in the toaster oven. Here you are baking from scratch! These look rich and delicious. Still have my fingers crossed you get that new oven sooner than later :)

Palidor said...

Are you still oven-less?

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Olivia said...

Great Brownies. Tks for sharing the recipe.