Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TWD: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies


I had the kind of mixed feelings about this week's TWD recipe, Espresso Cheesecake Brownies, that I have about almost every chocolate pick. On one hand, they involve espresso, cheesecake, and brownies, so they pretty much sounded like heaven in a pan to me. On the other hand, my husband does not eat chocolate-y things, and my kids do not eat espresso-y or cheesecake-y things, which left me as the sole Eater of the Brownies in my house. Which would be fine if I wasn't paying Weight Watchers International cash money to help me shed the last of my baby/enthusiastic new baker weight (my baby just turned two, and I'm not a new baker anymore). So as I was reading the recipe, my eyes saw notes in the recipe such as "Makes 16 brownies," but my brain interpreted them as "Makes all 15 of those pounds you just lost come back." Still, at the end of the day, c'mon -- they're Espresso Cheesecake Brownies!!!!! -- ain't no way I wasn't gonna make them.

The day I made these, I got a call from the school nurse about 20 minutes into the school day. "This is Nurse Monica. J is in here and says he has a tummy ache. Would you like to talk to him?" Well, since the child he sits next to in class has the swine flu, hell no, I don't want to talk to him! I want to do what any hysterical mother would do and check him out of school immediately so I could rush him to the pediatrician's office with the other hysterical mothers and their maybe sick, maybe not children. But we had a little time before our appointment, so I mixed up the brownie component of this recipe while my son dressed up as a ninja, which was my first clue that he probably did not have the swine flu (he didn't).


The brownie mixture was thick but pourable, sort of like magma (not "liquid hot magma," Mike Myers fans, just "magma") when I left it to go to the pediatrician's, but when I got back a couple of hours later, it was significantly thicker. I don't know if that long rest time affected the final outcome. But in the interest of full disclosure: I let the brownie mixture sit out for two hours when Dorie did not tell me to do that.

The cheesecake portion of this was easy. I used light cream cheese and sour cream, because I always use light cream cheese and sour cream, and therefore they taste normal to me.

Because of the thickness of my brownie batter after the long rest time, it was no longer pourable, and in fact, was pretty darn hard to spread in the bottom of the pan at all. I used a 9" round pan because I did not have a 9" square pan (I'm pretty sure that 9" square pans and 9" round pans have different capacities, but they are close enough for me). The cheesecake layer was pourable and spread nicely. My "swirling" of brownie batter into cheesecake batter was pretty pitiful, possibly because my brownie batter was so thick, and possibly because I'm just not cut out to be a swirler. I pretty much violated every one of Dorie's swirl-related warnings. Take care not to plunge knife into brownie layer? Oops. Swirl sparingly? Oops.

Despite all that, these baked up really well. I had to bake mine for 35 minutes before the cheesecake was set. Cool and refrigerate, and many hours later, you have . . . one delicious brownie! The brownie portion of mine was a little dry, but that may be because I let the batter sit out for so long. I think the brownie part tended towards "cakey" as opposed to "fudgy," which complements the creamy cheesecake nicely, although in general I prefer a fudgy brownie. Or maybe they were supposed to be fudgy and I just messed up -- always a solid possibility here. The espresso cheesecake part was to die for. These went straight to my freezer, where I've been doling them out to myself 1 oz at a time. They are actually great frozen, and the brownie doesn't seem quite as dry when it's frozen. They are not the easiest things to share because they need to be kept refrigerated, and because they bring out the Greedy Brownie Hoarder in me, but I may try to share the love soon if I can bear to part with them.

This wonderful brownie was chosen by Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell. Thanks for the great pick, Melissa!

48 comments:

natalia said...

Cathy ! I'm glad the ninja boy is ok ! And we probably did something wrong together even many miles afar ! I enjoy fudgy more than cakey brownies too but I'm afraid it wouldn't have carried the cheesecake (so good!) weight !!

mike said...

Well, they LOOK great! And it's ok to make something that only you enjoy! (once in awhile) - I loved the cream cheese/mocha-flavored part - the BEST part, in my opinion. Glad everyone is OK health-wise!!!

Cristine said...

Your brownies look great!

Cakelaw said...

LOL - here you were having a heart attack and your boy dresses up as a ninja! Glad to hear he is OK. I found the brownies rich and dense, but what I thought was fudgy could merely be the cheesecake itself - hmmm...

Audrey said...

I love the idea that you can freeze these (I always wonder about sour creamy/cream cheesey stuff in the freezer...because I would def. be a Greedy Brownie Hoarder and dole these out to myself one at a time. ONE at a time. Really. (They look wonderful.)

(Ps glad J is ok.)

dharmagirl said...

magma! (love that description!). i too found the brownie layer rather dry, but the cheesecake layer...mmmmmmm. i'm glad your ninja son does not have swine flu:)

Jessica said...

I think that Dudley would still dress up like a Ninja if he could as Ninjas are the subject of many jokes with him. I'm glad to read that the swine flu skipped your house this time! The brownies look gorgeous. I agree with you that these are a hard thing to give away because of the refrigeration factor. I bet that they're very tasty as a frozen treat.

spike. said...

portion control is not a skill of mine-these would not have lasted in my freezer long enough to be actually frozen. Glad you enjoyed!

Di said...

I don't think you messed up--my brownie layer was cakey and dry, too. I think they just need more chocolate. That fixes everything, right? =) The cheesecake part was really good, though.

Clivia said...

You can freeze brownies and dole them out one at a time? Who knew! Glad you enjoyed - and are still enjoying - them.

Peggy said...

Cathy what fabulous photos! I want to know where MY brownie is. . I could really use one this morning!! :) Aren't you sharing?

Jennifer said...

Your brownies are just STUNNING! Beautiful job, Cathy!!!!!

Mary Ann said...

ha ha ha! I love the magma comment- that is actually a really great way to describe the brownie batter. I can't stop laughing!
They look really tasty, Cathy. I bet they taste better frozen.
And I really have no comment about the baby weight after baby #3. My baby is almost 3 and well, no comment :)

Flourchild said...

Im Glad your boy does not have swine flu=)..You were a trooper making these brownies even if the majority of the house didn't like the ingredients. Im glad I made them but Im telling you all of these fattening treats are really getting bad.

Erin said...

Love the magma comments; that's a common line in our house! Your brownies are beautiful. They actually look like fudge :)

myfamousrecipe said...

My brownie base was dry, too. Nothing a little hot fudge couldn't fix! I totally understand the danger of having too many brownies around, especially if you're the primary (or sole) eater. I definitely need to amp up my "bake and release" program, but then the dessert is so good....

pinkstripes said...

I'm glad your son doesn't have swine flu. Glad you liked the brownies. They look great. I should have tried them frozen.

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm sure your baby weight woes can be cured with these beauties! And I'm glad your little ninja doesn't not have swine flu!

SiHaN said...

haha. sometimes you just have to break the rules huh? well, yours still came out looking great!

Jacque said...

They sure look good!

Good luck with WW :)

Karen said...

Glad the ninja didn't have swine flu. Everyone is sick right now.:( I didn't do a very good job of swirling either becasue my batter was thick..but it was think from the beginning...not sure why. Frozen sounds great for these!

Jules Someone said...

My brownie seemed a bit dry as well. And I suck at swirling. Glad the ninja is healthy! Oh, and I almost always use light sour cream and cream cheese. Especially in cooking.

Katrina said...

I always love your stories and how you got things made! I thought the brownie was a little dry, well, a lot dry. I made them three times. I'm glad I tried them. I think I'd rather just have some cheesecake and some brownie, kind of like I decided with the chipster topped brownies. Give me a cookie and a brownie. That works. ;) I think yours look great--more fudgy than mine!Glad there's no swine flu at your house.

Lauryn said...

So glad you enjoyed these! I loved these brownies as well! And mine were really cakey too, but the cream cheese layer made the whole thing incredible! Glad to hear your little boy isn't sick!

bakingwiththeboys said...

Loved the part about the pan size. I am not sure if my square pan is 8 or 9 inches but i am pretty sure I won't be measuring it. I just ignore that part and move on. Good for you with the willpower. I have to strategically plan my weeks around these Dorie fests. We don't need Viagra, we need calorie free brownies.

Megan said...

Oh hail - great Eater of the Brownie. I'm just so glad I wasn't the only one not thrilled with these. My brownies were dry too - I thought I had overbaked them.

Well, I probably did, but that's another story.

SUGAR B said...

I love the thick layers of your brownie! Awesome!

I haven't tried mine yet and there have been some mixed reviews re: the sour cream topping and the dryness of the brownie. Oh well! We shall see!

Maria said...

I am not a huge cheesecake fan but I do love brownies, maybe the mix of the two would be ok:)

chocolatechic said...

So glad your sweet Ninja boy doesn't have the pig flu.

Your brownies look wonderful.

Amber Marie said...

Brownies look great! Glad it wasn't the swine flu! Much scarier than a ninja.

Barbara Bakes said...

I can relate to a Greedy Brownie Hoarder. Frozen brownies sound great too!

vibi said...

LOL Mike Myers fans... I'm once again rolling on the floor laughing! LOL

I now will have to try those frozen... it will bug me to find out until I do! LOL

Very well done and very well written as usual, Cathy!

Teanna said...

I will forever call these "No Swine Flu Ninja Cheesecake brownies!" I am so glad that everything turned out alright! And the brownies look perfect!

Kayte said...

Well, they look lovely and I just love the idea of you freezing them and doling them out one ounce at a time! What willpower! I am happy to hear J is fine.

Madam Chow said...

Good idea to freeze them. And I have the same issues with my husband, but they revolve around coffee, not chocolate!

Sweet as Coco said...

Thank goodness for being swine flu free! I agree, the brownie portion was a bit dry, and my brownie batter thickened up a lot while I was making the cheesecake part so...I think thats just the way it was!

Pamela said...

Well, I'm glad that J is okay! I liked the espresso cheesecake part of this recipe very much. The rest of these just left the house tonight. Even though they're not my favorite, I was having trouble ignoring them!

The Food Librarian said...

Great looking swine-flu free brownies. Oops. I think I mixed a few things up.

isa said...

Love your post - so glad your boy doesn’t have the swine flu! Your brownies are very pretty!

Bridgett said...

I would have to quickly shove these out of the house or I would just eat each and every slice! Love the flavors here!

The Whimsical Cupcake said...

i had mixed feelings aw well but your's look delish!

Melissa said...

My brownie portion was a little dry too, and I didn't let it sit out for long. It seems to be a common complaint. Next time we'll have to try a different brownie recipe with it. Yours look fabulous though, Cathy!

Leslie said...

Way to go on losing 15! I have no baby weight to blame but joining TWD and Barefoot Bloggers has been (almost) as bad. I haven't made these yet but now I know they are cakier, I may swap out the brownie part. My answer to anything brownie is "Tribute to Katharine Hepburn."

Liz said...

Hee hee, I think we're birds of a feather, because I always put the treats I want to "hide" from myself in the freezer. This usually just means I end up eating frozen cookies or brownies (or this week, fudge) nonstop, but maybe it's progress?

Andrea said...

Cathy, your brownies look great! I'm surprised your kids didn't want to try any of these, oh-well. I bet they make a nice little freezer treat for you.

I really missed your fun posts this summer, I have a bunch of catching up to do. I just saw your post with Caroline's Madeline party photos, how precious. She is such a cutie. My youngest turned two in May, isn't this such a fun age ? (when they are not in meltdown mode that is :) )

TeaLady said...

Beautiful brownies.

Glad your son is Okay.

Tracey said...

Your brownies are perfect! How the heck did you end up with that nice, thick brownie base? Mine was so thin and sad. I thought they were ok but definitely not my favorite brownie recipe.

Way to go on the weight loss! I lost about 30 lbs with WW last year but then I stopped following the plan, kept baking and proceeded to gain at least half of it back. *sigh*

jillbert said...

They look really good; I don't think the brownie batter suffered.

Do you calculate the WW points for your baking? I think all that math burns off some calories! I can't do it. Not because the math is too hard, but because it makes me cry when I see the result.

 
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