23 September 2007

Raspberry Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Last time I promised more care package concoctions, and I was not kidding, though even I was not expecting that they might come so soon. I don't bake brownies very often, I've got a killer brownie recipe I keep in reserve, but I only make them on rare occaision or by request. However, ever since I saw this photo of swirly cream cheese brownies, I've wanted to make them. Some people get songs stuck in their head, I get images of beautiful baked goods that won't leave my prefrontal cortex until I actually make them. Which is precisely what I did this week.

I added raspberry jam to the cream cheese swirl, resulting in a pink accent both fruity tart and tangy. Also, I picked up some dark cocoa powder, and the resulting batter and brownie were so chocolatey black it was almost shocking, as well as delicious. As much as I love my standby brownie recipe, there's a case to be made here for an all-cocoa brownie (this recipe's base), and I love how it is dark and fudgy without being underbaked.

If you like baking brownies, or are just looking for more inspiration, there's a monthly blogging event called Browniebabe, and I recommend you check it out. Of course, for all sorts of mail-able sweets and treats, you can stay tuned here for the next care package...

Raspberry Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

for brownie batter:
8 tbl (4 oz) unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
for swirl:
4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbl sugar
1 egg white
1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)
1/2 cup raspberry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8" square baking pan or line with parchment paper.
2. For cream cheese batter: Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar, egg white, and lemon until light and creamy. Set aside.
3. For brownie: Place butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter is just melted. Add the cocoa and sugar and heat, stirring, until everything is combined, smooth, and warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
4. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the pan.
5. Dollop about one third of the cream cheese mixture over the batter. Stir the raspberry jam into the remaining cream cheese mixture, then dollop that over the batter in blobs. Use a toothpick or knife to swirl the cream cheese/raspberry mix through the brownie batter.
6. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter (not completely dry), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.


Brilynn said...

Wow! Those are gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Ooooo Mercedes, you've out done yourself. I too have an awesome tried and true fudgey brownie recipe, but it maybe have to be augmented with sweet tart raspberry cream cheese swirls. Hmmm, what about orange marmalade for a another twist. Oh the places we could go with this fun idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

Krizia said...

Dear Mercedes,

Everytime you post, I ask myself, "Who does she make all this for?" I live w/ one apartment mate. She always eats out or buys takeout, whereas I cook all my meals. However, it's hard for me to make certain things when there's no one else to share it with. I can't make brownies and expect myself to eat it all in a week, for example. I think that people in my classes might find it a bit sketchy if I brought in some who-knows-where-they've-been brownies for them. So, if I may ask, who gets to share in all that ice cream and brownies and whatnot? These look delightful by the way. I just finished baking a banana cake myself :)

Happy Autumn,

Anonymous said...

My mouth literally dropped open when I saw the pic of those brownies! The molasses ginger cookies look great too. Thanks for the recipes!

Elmi said...

Ok, these have my name :) Prepare package and send it to me ;)!

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Why don't I make brownies more often? They are so good, and this recipe is fabulous. The raspberry cream cheese must be delicious. This time of year makes me want to bake like no other. From now until Christmas, it's absolute flour-dusted mania in our house.

Mercedes said...

Brilynn- thanks! I credit that dark cocoa powder for the appearance.

Bri- thank you. I agree, the jam possibilities are endless, the orange is a good idea since it pairs so nicely with chocolate. I was also thinking black currant jam or damson plum jam would be good.

There are so many ways to answer this question. As noted in the post, many of my concoctions go off in the mail, often to a boyfriend away at school, or to family members and friends.
Also, I often make half-recipes if it's something larger that I don't want sitting around the house.
Also, People often stop by our house or I might have a friend over in the afternoon and it's good to have something on hand to offer them.
When I was in university, my friends always loved it when I brought in things, and no one was ever skeptical.
It makes me sad, I often feel our society is so stratified and people are so caught up in their own routines, that having someone over for an afternoon slice of cake, or bringing a real homemade treat (none of those storebought cakes with hydrogenated frosting) is increasingly rare.
So next time, I hope you're able to share your banana cake with friends or classmates!

musical chef, elmi- thanks!

elmi- you better be careful, i have been known to bake and mail at only the slightest suggestion :-)

Amanda- Yes, I don't bake brownies very often either, probably because they are so irresistably good! I'm glad you said that about the desire to bake this time of year, you've validated my own sudden urge to make every floury-buttery confection in my kitchen notebook!

Fiber said...

I'm not a huge baker, but I immediately had to print this recipe out to give it a try. Beautiful pictures.

Krizia said...

Thank you for answering my question! I decided to send 3/4 of my cake to a friend and 2 acquaintances. They did appreciate it! And perhaps I turned two acquaintances into friends? :) We'll see.

Now I must solve the problem of my vegetables and herbs going bad. It's so hard to eat a bunch of celery after only needing a stalk or two for soup!

Anonymous said...

How gorgeous! I love how the dark cocoa powder made the brownies almost black. They contrast perfectly with the raspberry cream cheese! Nice job!

Jerry said...

Oh my goodness! Raspberry----cream cheese----BROWNIES! :faint: