I think that I have been so wrapped up in unpacking and painting and taking time to sometimes tell you about the food I make, that I have neglected to actually tell you about our new house. First of all it is amazing. So amazing in fact that we just may never move. But not amazing enough that we are without projects and what will be, I’m sure, endless home improvement lists.
But the space in our house is just wonderful. We have a dining room that is the perfect size for entertaining, and we have already had our family and friends over for several occasions. Our bathroom, already pretty big, feels even more huge with its vaulted ceiling. And our bedroom, which was red, is now painted a peaceful blue color and every morning I wake up and just think to myself how wonderful it is to open my eyes to such a beautiful color.
And I am in love, absolutely in love, with my new kitchen. When I was looking at houses, the kitchen layout was huge for me. And I really can’t understand why some of the kitchens were designed the way they were designed. I went into one house where the wall to the half bath stuck out halfway into the kitchen, cutting it awkwardly into two spaces, and the “pantry” had shelves that were about 4 inches deep.
But the kitchen in the house we chose has the perfect layout. Lots of counter space along the walls, with the sink counter jutting out and looking into the family room (so Gerrit is happy he can watch TV while he does the dishes). There is a cute little planning desk with a little glass-front cabinet that is perfect for my cookbooks. We have a walk-in pantry with more shelving than I know what to do with (at least for now). I’ve already organized everything according to category, and I think I might just have to put up little labels like Ina Garten has in her pantry. And perhaps best of all, there is an island! A wonderful island that I can roll dough out on, or serve a buffet on, or crowd with bowls, like I did with these brownies.
And really with these brownies I think that all you need to know is that they are brownies with sweetened cream cheese swirled throughout. That should really be enough to convince you that you may need these in your life. Even if they take about four bowls. Because they are wonderful…sweet and full of gooey chocolate with a bit of tang from the cream cheese. And even though nothing seemed to go right when I was making these, even though my batter which (according to the picture) should have been liquid and smooth was actually more like a chunk of fudge, and even though when I pulled them out of the oven and even baked them a little longer and they were still gooey and underdone in the center, they were still wonderful. Perfect to stack underneath your ice cream or eat warm on a chilly winter afternoon.
Cream Cheese Brownies
adapted from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Makes 1 1/2 dozen
4 (1 oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking squares
4 (1 oz.) semisweet chocolate baking squares
1/3 cup butter
2 (3 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine chocolate baking squares and 1/3 cup of butter. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Set aside.
3. In another medium sized bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/4 cup of butter. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed, 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar, beating well. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Then use a rubber spatula to stir in 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Set mixture aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat 4 eggs at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually at 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well. Slowly pour in melted chocolate mixture and add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, beating until well combined. Set aside.
5. In (yet another) medium sized bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 2 teaspoons salt.
6. Slowly add flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, beating at low speed until combined. Use a rubber spatula to stir the batter, making sure that all ingredients have been incorporated. Then stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
7. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (or spray with nonstick cooking spray). Spread enough of the chocolate batter in the pan to cover the bottom (leave about 3 cups of it remaining in the bowl). Then pour cream cheese mixture on top, and top that with the remaining chocolate mixture. Use a knife to swirl the mixtures together (but don’t overmix–you should still be able to distinguish between the two mixtures).
8. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.