Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

Last week was rough.  It was one of those terrible, awful work weeks where nothing goes right and by 10am  you find yourself asking “can I just go home now?”.  Thankfully, the weekend came and through baking, reading, and plenty of these, my spirits were restored.

Enter Monday, and what looks to be a repeat of last week.  Grrr.  I’m hoping that by staring at these gorgeously chocolatey brownies, I’ll be given the strength to make it through (just need to get to Wednesday, short work week!)

These brownies start off with a smooth and sweet cream cheese filling.

Then dark and rich unsweetened chocolate.

And seedless raspberry jam, which gets sandwiched between the brownie layers AND in the brownie batter!

Definitely need sugar to sweeten up the chocolate.

A small amount of flour, for brownies which are more chewy than they are cakey.

Spread and layer.  Love the swirls, too bad they don’t show up in the finished product.

But who cares about swirls when you get chocolate overload like this.

I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese brownies.  But, since Cook’s Illustrated’s recipes are so stellar, I wanted to challenge them and see if their take on a cream cheese brownie could sway my opinion.  Boy, did they ever.  These brownies have a more-than-subtle raspberry flavor, without it overpowering the chocolate. The cream cheese layer has a super smooth texture, and isn’t cloyingly sweet.  I served these for dessert after a family dinner, with vanilla ice cream – solid.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies – Cook’s Illustrated, Entertaining – Summer 2011

  • Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Brownies
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350°.  Line an 8″ square baking pan with foil, allowing excess to hang over pan edges.  Grease foil.

Process cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla in food processor until smooth.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl.  Microwave butter and chocolate in large bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 min.  Whisk in 1/4 cup jam and let cool slightly.  Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla to chocolate mixture, stirring until combined.  Whisk in flour mixture until incorporated.

Microwave remaining 1/4 cup jam until warm, about 30 sec., stir until smooth.  Scrape half of batter into prepared pan.  Dollop filling over batter and spread into an even layer.  Dollop warm jam over filling and, using tip of knife, swirl jam through filling.  Spread remaining batter evenly over filling.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few dry crumbs attached, 50 – 60 min.  Cool in pan on wire rack for at least 2 hrs.  Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan and cut into 1 1/2″ squares.

Yield – 25 (I cut mine larger, into 2″ squares, yielding 16)

– Try to be as accurate as possible when dividing the brownie batter in half.  I used a bit too much on the bottom layer, causing me to have to scrimp and spread carefully on my top layer.  (breaking out the scale next time)

– I used a small, off-set spatula for the spreading.  Much better control than a rubber scraper.

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