As some of you may know, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately cutting checks for copays, watching soap operas in waiting rooms and just generally being poked and prodded. And for those of you that don’t, I’ll just say that Zach and I are facing something that while not life-threatening, is nothing short of major. I bring it up here only as a warning or perhaps a preemptive apology if my posts over the coming months don’t arrive as regularly and the recipes skew more towards the simple.
The truth is, in the midst of all of our recent good fortune with the new home, etc., life has thrown us a bit of a curveball. Suddenly weekends spent debating paint colors, bickering on what to buy first (sofa?! area rugs!?) and anxieties over a lousy week at work seem so foolish. But maybe that’s the point of these “time outs.” They force us to step outside of ourselves and acknowledge that it’s all so much bigger than the petty day-to-day which is a lesson served well to a 20-something often too focused on the short-term, on what’s cool, fun and sounds impressive.
Though it weighs on my mind more than I like to admit, I’m thankful for the outpouring of kind words and support from family, friends and even strangers. And while I may at times arrive to this space late, I promise to continue to return because coming here feels comfortable and normal when so much else defies that definition.
So for today, chin up and some chocolate – always a mood improver. This is a recipe adapted from my mom’s old law wives cookbook. Yes, they had a cookbook that all the wives of soon-to-be lawyers contributed to which between you and me, seems a bit Stepford-esque. Nonetheless, much like the WV Junior League cookbook there are some appealing recipes in there. For these brownies, I increased the cream cheese amount significantly from the original recipe as I felt it was a bit lacking as written. These brownies are gooey and rich without being too sugary sweet so don’t be concerned if you have to exceed the suggested baking time to get them done in the center.
Cream Cheese Brownies
4 oz German sweet chocolate, chopped (Baker’s brand is easy to find)
5 Tb unsalted butter, softened
8 0z cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 1 Tb all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a double boiler, over low heat, melt the chocolate and 3 Tb of the butter together. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. In a mixer, cream together the remaining 2 Tb butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the sugar and mix well. Add in 1 egg, 1 Tb of flour and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla until blended. Set mixture aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the 2 remaining eggs until fluffy and light in color. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat until thickened. Fold in the baking powder, salt and remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Blend in the cooled chocolate mixture, almond extract and remaining 1 tsp of vanilla. Add in chopped walnuts, if using.
4. Measure out 1 cup of the chocolate mixture and set aside. Pour remaining chocolate batter into a greased 9 inch square baking pan. Pour the cheese mixture gently over the top. Using the reserved 1 cup of chocolate batter, drop spoonfuls on top of the cheese mixture and swirl the batters together with a knife to marble.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Note, these will be fudgy in texture even when cooled. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, cut into squares, and serve.