Marbled Chocolate Brownies

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I can’t believe that the last lot of brownies I made was back in September last year. Those chocolate and pistachio brownies got a big tick from my brownie taste panel but did rather freak me out on account of the huge amounts of sugar.

Every now and then I catch Justine Schofield’s Everyday Gourmet and it was on that program I saw these marbled chocolate brownies.

There’s not too much different about the brownies, but they have a cream cheese topping which is used to give a very pretty marbled effect. Perfect for people like me who are far too lazy and inept to produce beautifully decorated desserts!

Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a small baking pan with baking paper.

On the stove, in a large pan, melt 125g unsalted butter with 125g dark chocolate and 1 up of brown sugar. If this was just chocolate and butter I would normally do this in the microwave, but here the idea is to get the sugar completely melted, so there’s no graininess in the mixture. You need to be patient and do this over a low heat, with plenty of stirring and monitoring. No wandering off!

Once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and mix in ⅓ cup of plain flour, ⅓ cup of cocoa (not drinking chocolate!), ½ tsp of baking powder and 3 eggs. If you are doing this by hand (which I did, for a change!) it will pay to give the eggs a light beating before mixing them in. The mixture will look very very loose – but don’t be alarmed, keep beating and it will thicken up as the chocolate cools and the eggs get incorporated.

Pour the brownie mix into the prepared baking tin.

Now, for your cream cheese topping. The original recipe calls for a branded light, spreadable, cream cheese. Normally, I eschew anything dairy that’s “light” but because cream cheese can be very stiff I did actually buy the spreadable light cream cheese*. Mix 250g of the cream cheese with 1 egg and ¼ cup of caster sugar. I actually found this made too much topping – it’s a shame it’s not possible to halve an egg!

Dollop generous spoonfuls of the cream cheese mix over the top of the brownie mix. I ended up with 6 or 7 large tablespoonful dollops. Take a knife, and use this to swirl the cream cheese topping through the brownie mix. I went the length of the tin followed by dragging the knife across the width. It’s up to you what you do though!

Finish by baking for 35-40 minutes (40 minutes in our oven), until cooked but still moist.

Allow to cool before cutting into portions. The Everyday Gourmet recipe says it makes 24 but that would be 24 tiny brownies for chocolate hating, not hungry types! I say it makes about 12!

The brown sugar makes for a lovely depth of flavour, the brownies are fudgy, they look stunning and the topping makes a slightly tart counterpoint to the sweetness of the brownies.

Excellent stuff. Even if you don’t fancy fiddling with your favourite brownie recipe, just try adding the topping!

* I was relieved, after reading the ingredients, they actually seemed to be innocuous – quite often all manner of interesting additives are used to replicate the mouth feel and weight of the fat that has been removed.

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