I’ve cut up and wrapped the brownies, the bowl has been licked clean, and my waistband has already tightened in anticipation of what’s ahead. I gave blood this morning, so I think I’m entitled to eat my weight in brownie batter.
That would, admittedly, be a lot of brownie batter.
I was speaking to a couple of friends yesterday (as I do most days, lest I wither away and die without meaningful social interaction) and I asked for some recipe requests – because it’s all very well and good me forcing my favourites on you, but what about YOUR feelings? What about what YOU want? This is a two-way street.
A two-way street filled with brownies. It’s a very popular street.*
Anyway, a friend of mine requested some kind of cake, and I wanted to do something a bit different. I can make brownies in my sleep by this point (or I can at least eyeball the ingredients – which I’ve had to do when on holiday and absolutely desperate for a proper chocolate fix, in spite of the lack of kitchen scales), so I decided to make things a bit sexier by mixing up some “cheesecake” and going to town with a skewer. Marbling is actually pretty hard when chunks of chocolate are involved, but I persevered – because there are few things I won’t do for brownies.
An important note about brownie-making is that, in most recipes, there is no added raising agent. As in the recipe below, the air you beat into the eggs at the beginning is the crux of a fudgy, yet well-aerated end product; give your eggs the TLC they deserve.
You can either cut these up and share them out, or eat the whole thing straight out of the pan (with vanilla ice cream) by yourself in front of Netflix, as you gently slip into a sugar coma. I am not here to judge you. I am here to enable you. I am an enabler.
Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Brownies (vegetarian**)
Makes 24 brownies (or 1 really goddamn huge brownie)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
32 x 19cm tray (I use disposable foil ones like these over at Lakeland, because I hate washing up); electric whisk, or a regular whisk if you’re built like Popeye; spatula; large mixing bowl; small mixing bowl; medium, microwave-safe bowl; grease-proof paper for lining your tin if you can be bothered (I couldn’t); a cooling rack.
For the brownie mix:
- 185g unsalted butter
- 185g dark chocolate
- 125g plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 275g caster sugar
- 125g sharing bag Terry’s chocolate orange (or chop up a whole one of those bad boys, you rebel you)
For the cheesecake mix:
- 180g full-fat cream cheese
- 6 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Start off the brownie batter in the largest bowl, cracking in the eggs and adding the sugar. Using a whisk or electric mixer (because not all of us have the upper body strength and raw sex appeal of Chris Hemsworth), beat these together for around 5 minutes or until pale and roughly doubled in size. Finely chop the dark chocolate and cube the butter, and place them together in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second bursts, stirring together until it’s melted – be careful not to burn it, because burnt chocolate smells and tastes nasty.
- Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly while you make the cheesecake mix. Add all the ingredients into your remaining bowl and whisk until combined. The mix will be quite thin, but the egg will ensure you end up with a cohesive end product, so don’t miss it out.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the larger bowl holding the sugar and eggs, and use a rubber spatula (if you have one) to get all the chocolatey goodness from one receptacle to another. What a great word: receptacle. Just lovely. If the chocolate is still quite warm, pour the mixture down the side of the bowl, as this will be cooler, and will reduce the possibility of your eggs getting scrambled***. Carefully stir this in until almost combined, then add your flour and chocolate orange pieces. Fold everything together until combined, making sure not to beat too hard or you could lose all the air you’ve painstakingly whipped into the eggs.
- Line your tin with grease-proof paper, if using, or butter and flour the base and sides of the tin to save getting out the kitchen scissors. Pour the brownie batter into the tin, smoothing it out a little on top, then pour over the cheesecake mix. With a toothpick, skewer, or the back of a knife, swirl and mix the batters gently so that you end up with a sort of marbled effect. This is not an exact science, so feel free to draw a duck, or any other sundry animal.
- Put the brownies into the oven for 25-30 minutes until the cheesecake mixture is starting to colour and there is only the slightest of wobbles in the middle when you give the pan a gentle shake. Leave to cool on a cooling rack (an aptly named piece of equipment) for at least an hour, then transfer to the fridge. Once it’s cooled for a further hour or so, cut it into squares and consume with gusto. You can, of course, ignore all the above instructions and try to cut it when it’s warm, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
And that’s that! My GCSE English teacher is having a fit somewhere right now because I just started a sentence with ‘and’, but I am beholden to no-one.
I hope you enjoy this recipe – please let me know how you get on with it, and whether or not you managed to resist licking the bowl. If you did, it’s very possible you are the next link in our evolution, and I salute your willpower.
*With a weak infrastructure.
**I don’t know how you’d make brownies that weren’t vegetarian, but I’ve been wrong before. Like that one time I asked my partner which side of the body your kidney is on. Turns out you’ve got two kidneys.
***I’m incredibly impatient, so if I’ve never yet managed to scramble my eggs then I’m sure you’ll be fine. You seem sensible.