Chocolate brownies, named after a popular cartoon character, were created by Fannie Farmer in her Boston kitchen more than a century ago. The original recipe, similar to chocolate cookies and baked as individual cakes, lends itself to endless variations. Here, some of the chocolate batter is dropped in mounds over the cream cheese and raspberry preserves before the layers are swirled together. As the brownies bake, the fudgy chocolate spreads and sandwiches the cheese. A foil liner facilitates taking them out of the pan, and a few hours in the fridge makes it easy to cut them into perfect squares. The brownies are a Valentine treat for your sweetie.
Cream Cheese Swirl:
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp raspberry preserves
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom and sides with foil, allowing a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Coat foil with spray.
2. To prepare cream cheese swirl, beat cheese, sugar and egg with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
3. To prepare brownies, sift flour and baking powder onto a piece of wax paper.
4. In a medium bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate. Remove bowl from pot. Whisk in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Stir in flour mixture. Pour 1/2 cup chocolate mixture into a cup.
5. Spread remaining chocolate mixture in pan. Spread cream cheese mixture on top. Drop small spoonfuls of preserves over top. Drop remaining 1/2 cup chocolate mixture in 8 spoonfuls over top. With small spatula, swirl mixtures together.
6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out with few crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate 2 hours or until cold. Lift out brownies with foil. Place on firm surface and cut into squares. Makes 16 brownies.
Per serving: 193 cal, 15g fat, 4g prot, 13g carbs, 74mg sodium
Recipe by Jean Kressy, a food writer in Ashburnham, Mass.
Photo by Teresa Blackburn