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Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Truly Irish Brownie!

A Truly Irish Brownie!
by Victoria Challancin

When I returned home yesterday from a day's outing with my son, who is visiting, he immediately asked if I/we could make brownies.  "Irish Cream Brownies, Mom.  With cream cheese!"  "Sure," I said, happy to offer a bit of home-cooked comfort.  Of course. The next step was to Google a recipe and make sure I had the ingredients on hand.  I had to find a recipe that called for cocoa instead of baking chocolate, but I did have two packages of cream cheese.  So far, so good.  Hooray for Google.  Hooray for my fellow bloggers.  A quick search led to me to The Biscuit Pusher's blog, where I found the perfect recipe, which is from The King Arthur Flour Cookie book.  Thank you, Biscuit Pusher, whose name I still don't know. Thank you.

This recipe does call for cocoa, albeit Dutch Process Cocoa, which I didn't have, so I used Hershey's regular cocoa instead and added a bit of baking soda.  I thought the addition of chocolate chips might truly be gilding the lily, so I skipped them.  And I only had cashews and almonds, so I skipped the nuts as well.  Everything else is as the recipe was written, except for the addition of a touch of almond extract, which I love with chocolate.

This recipe came together quickly and the resulting brownies were predictably luscious.  Wonderful, rich, deeply chocolate--and the Irish Cream was perfect in the cream cheese swirl.  Hat's off to the Irish.  Hat's off Biscuit Pusher. Hat's off to visiting children and a rollicking imagination that doesn't make room for failure.  Of course my son just knew when he asked, that his Mom could come up with Irish Cream Cream Cheese Brownies, and she did!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Irish Cream Cream Cheese  Brownies
(Recipe from, from The KIng Arthur Flour Cookie Cookbook)

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (or use regular cocoa and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnut or pecans (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrease and grease a 9- x 13-inch pan.

To make the brownies:  In a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine.  Heat until hot (110F to 120F), but not bubbling; it will become shiny-looking as you stir it.  Heating this mixture the second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on the brownies.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, vanilla, and almond extract.  Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth, then add the flour and nuts and chips, if using, stirring until smooth.  Spoon three quarters of the batter into the prepared pan.

Cheesecake Swirl:
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Irish Cream liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs

To make the cheesecake swirl:  In a medium-sized bowl beat the cream cheese until no lumps remain.  Add the sugar and liqueur and blend until smooth.  Stir in the vanilla and eggs, mixing until ingredients are well combined.

Spoon the cheesecake swirl on top of the batter in the pan.  Dollop the rest of the chocolate brownie batter on top, then use a knife to swirl the brownie batter into the cheesecake layer, to give a marble effect.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is set and the edges are puffy (Note:  at 6,700 feet altitude, I had to bake these for almost an hour).  Remove from oven and allow to coo.  They are easier to cut if chilled first.


Any dessert looks pretty on my Mom's Wedgwood plates...

Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun International Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Victoria, these sound absolutely heavenly! I'm hoping to get my St Patrick's Day item up soon :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, your're killing me! Just when I was feeling all proud for having actually made the crepes suzette, with vanilla ice cream no less. It was a big hit, though I never did get the sauce to go up in flames. Now I have to try this one as well. A brownie with cream cheese? How decadent. What? You have recipes for healthy entrees on your blog as well? All in good time. Adding cream cheese to my shopping list for next week as we speak.

Dimah said...

Those brownies look great!