Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Marbled Brownies for July 4th (or a graduation celebration)!

On July 4th, we're celebrating our brilliant and handsome nephew's graduation from college. (Yay Michael! Anyone looking to hire a clever, skilled writer and incredibly competent new grad? Email us!)   Where was I? Oh! Right!  Brownies:  I'm assigned to bring brownies to the festivities.  I was surprised to find this recipe, which uses honey as the sweetener for the brownie batter, in my loose-leaf copy Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (1976).  I think I picked this cookbook up in a thrift store in the 1990s.  I don't turn to it when I'm looking for recipes for fruits or vegetables, but I usually check it out when I need a basic recipe like brownies (or mac-n-cheese).
These brownies are a cross between the fudgy vs. cakey  options, though leaning a bit more on the fudgy side.  The recipe appears in narrative form in the book, so why mess with tradition?

Marbled Brownies 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven.  Grease a 9x9 square baking pan and line with parchment paper and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper.  Melt 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and 6 tablespoons butter. [I did this in a microwave, heating for 15 second intervals and stirring in between; it took a total of 30 seconds, with about 30 seconds of waiting for the last bits to melt after the second time.]  In a separate bowl, gradually add 1/3 cup honey [I used spring honey] to 2 beaten eggs.  Blend chocolate mixture into egg/honey mixture and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Whisk 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and pinch of salt.  Add to chocolate mixture and fold in until just combined.  Batter will be a bit lumpy. [At this point, the recipe calls for pouring 1/2 of the brownie batter in the pan and baking for 10 minutes. I tried this, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference; there wasn't a solid layer of brownie at the bottom, in other words. Next time, I'll skip this step.]  Spoon cheese mixture [recipe follows] over brownie batter and then top with rest of brownie batter.  Lightly swirl cheese and brownie together.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few crumbs clinging.  Cool completely and cut into bars.  

Cheese Filling:  Cream together 8 ounces softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar.  Beat in 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts (optional).  

Makes about 32 1-inch brownies

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