My obsession with cookbooks extends also to food magazines… the usual suspects being the Australian publications of ‘Gourmet Traveller’, ‘Donna Hay’ and ‘Delicious’. During our 2 year New Zealand sojourn, ‘Cuisine’ and ‘Dish’ became the new favourites and then later on while living in the USA, I spent many a pleasant hour reading ‘Cook’s Illustrated’, cover to cover. Cook’s Illustrated was like nothing else I’d seen before. Rather than mesmerise you with pretty photos, they discussed how each recipe was tried and tested, numerous techniques having been used to get the best possible results for each and every dish. They also tested and compared kitchen appliances and equipment, discussing the pros and cons of each. An absolute joy for a passionate home cook to read and cook from!
On our return to Australia, I decided to subscribe for a further 12 months to C.I. and did so through iBooks. To follow is one of the beautiful recipes I came across in one of their magazines. I’ve adapted it slightly, reducing the sugar a little and adding in some fresh raspberries (I’m sure that frozen would work equally as well). They are rich and decadent, with a slight tartness coming through from the berries – the perfect afternoon tea treat, or even dessert if you have a dollop of whipped cream standing by to scoop over the top.
Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies
For the Cream Cheese topping:
- 115g (4oz) Cream Cheese
- 125g (½ Cup) Sour Cream
- 2 Tablesoons Caster Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Plain (All-Purpose) Flour
For the Brownie batter:
- 100g (⅔ Cup) Plain (All-Purpose) Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 115g (4oz) Dark Chocolate (chopped)
- 120g (8 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
- 220g (1 Cup) Caster Sugar (I used raw)
- 2 Large Free-Range Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 125g (1 Punnet) Fresh Raspberries
Pre-heat the oven to 165degC (325degF). Line a 20cm (8in) square baking tin with foil and then grease the base and sides.
To make the Cream Cheese topping:
Place the cream cheese into a mixing bowl and soften in the microwave (should only take 10 – 20 seconds). Whisk to remove any lumps, then whisk in the sour cream, sugar and flour. Set aside for the moment.
To make the Brownie batter:
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside for the moment.
In another mixing bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Microwave carefully in short bursts, until melted (should only take 1 – 2 minutes). Stir well to combine.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and butter and continue to whisk until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and then scoop out about half a cup of the mixture and place back in the bowl the melted chocolate was in. Set this aside for the moment. Add two thirds of the fresh raspberries to the main bowl of brownie batter and gently fold in. Spread this mixture evenly into the base of the lined baking tin. Over the top of this spread the creamed cheese mixture.
Place the bowl with the half cup of reserved brownie batter into the microwave and heat for 10-20 seconds until it’s a pourable consistency. Dollop blobs of this batter over the top of the cream cheese mixture, then using a butter knife, make a swirled pattern over the top of the brownies. Dot the remaining raspberries over the top, pressing them in slightly into the mixture.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40-45 minutes (turning the tin halfway through), until a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Allow to cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour before removing the brownie slab from the tin. Place back on the rack and continue to cool for a further 1 hour, before slicing into 16 squares.
Serve at room temperature (also lovely when chilled), with a good strong cup of coffee.
Recipe adapted slightly from one in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.