5 weeks ago
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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!