Let me first say that I am not a cream cheese fan. Chocolate, yes. Brownies, of course. But cream cheese, no sir. So I set to task to make these cream cheese-topped brownies, fearing not the calories that lay ahead. As always, however, I tried to eliminate calories where I could by substituting apple sauce for a small amount of the sugar as well as using whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular cake flour. The inspiration for this recipe came from my Baking Bible Volume I, One Sweet Cookie by Tracey Zabar. I cut these into two-bite pieces after freezing them for an hour or so, so that they could be enjoyed by about 18 people.
Ingredients: 3/4 of a stick of butter (or 1 whole stick if you are feeling brave. The more butter the more moist they will be), about 7-8 oz of semisweet chocolate (I use a 4 oz 60 or 70% dark chocolate baking bar of very good quality and then either less than half of another baking bar or a small bit of dark chocolate baking chips. You can also do 6 oz of semisweet chocolate and 2 oz unsweetened), 1/3 light brown sugar, 3 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3 large eggs (break them into a bowl first), 1/2 cup whole wheat cake flour
Line a 9-in square baking pan with parchment paper.
In the top of a double boiler or simply in a glass heatproof bowl sitting on top of a boiling pot of water, melt the butter, chocolate, and brown sugar. Take the bowl off the heat and stir in the granulated sugar, eggs, and cake flour. Pour the batter into the pan and freeze for several hours or a few days.
For the cream cheese frosting: 1.5 lbs cream cheese (I used light cream cheese and only about 1 lb), 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 3 large eggs (remember to crack them into a bowl so as to avoid dropped egg shell into the batter), and 2 oz semisweet or very dark chocolate, melted.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
Spread the cream cheese frosting onto the frozen brownies. Make sure the brownies are indeed frozen or the cream cheese will just settle into the brownie batter. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is set and does not jiggle or drip around when you lightly shake the pan. Cool for a few minutes in the pan before popping the whole thing back into the freezer for about 30 minutes- 1 hour. After cutting, I kept the two-bite pieces in the freezer for safe keeping for a few hours before serving them. They are likely to get melty if you leave them out for a period of time.
Enjoy! Or, if you’re like me, scrape the cream cheese frosting off the top and stick to the chocolate. 🙂