I love Brownies. And baked Cheesecake. Imagine my delight when I find a recipe to make them together in one dessert! It is also rather special because both these desserts are a specialty of my sister-in-law. She made them growing up and my husband has fond memories of eating them. In fact, the very first cheesecake (and brownie!) I ever made at home, was after getting married using her recipe over a long distance phone call =)
I was also super excited to try this particular recipe, since it is from my newest baking book : The Big Book of Treats written by the wonderful Pooja Dhingra of Le15 fame. Hers was the first (and only) baking class I have ever done in a professional kitchen. I am so inspired by her story and passion for baking and continue to be a big fan of her perfect cupcakes from the Le15 Bakery.
I tried this recipe only once. And they turned out perfect. We had some friends over the weekend and we pretty much wiped out the entire batch. The cheesecake makes up the top layer while the bottom is a dense yet gooey dark chocolate brownie with just a hint of hazelnut. Together they make a pretty lethal combination. Like Pooja, says in her book, these are highly addictive and the perfect dessert to bake for that special someone. You will have them eating out of your hands, literally.
Recipe : Hazelnut Cheesecake Brownie from The Big Book of Treats
What you will need:
For the Brownie :
250g dark chocolate (chopped or chips) – I used Valrona chocolate available at Wholefoods.
350g castor sugar/ confectioners sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
50g hazelut powder (roast the hazelnuts in the oven by spreading them on a baking sheet and inserting in oven preheated to 180°C (360°F), and leave the nuts in for 10-12 minutes, stirring them once in the middle. Skin them once removed and cooled, then grind in food processor)
For the Cheesecake :
225g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
4tbsp castor/confectioners sugar
50g heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F
Line a 10 inch baking tin with parchment paper (or if you don’t have parchment paper then line with melted butter and dust some flour on it)
To prepare the cheesecake batter, in a bowl, whisk the cream cheese and castor sugar till smooth. Then add the egg and cream and whisk till combined. Lastly add the flour and give a final whisk. Keep aside.
In a clean bowl, melt the dark chocolate and butter together and leave to cool. (Preferably do this in a double boiler stirring constantly so the chocolate melts evenly)
Whisk eggs, castor sugar and vanilla till frothy. Do not over-whisk.
Pour the cooled chocolate mix into the egg mix and whisk till combined
Add flour and hazelnut powder to the chocolate mix and fold it in with a spatula
Pour into lined baking tin. Now using a spoon, gently scoop out the cheesecake mixture on top of the chocolate batter (It doesn’t need to cover it fully,there can be gaps where the brownies will be cut). Now using a skewer, you can swirl the mixture gently to create a marbled pattern.
Bake for 22-25 minutes. The centre should be slightly wobbly. Once cool, cut into squares and serve.
Tip: when serving out of the refrigerator, I like to nuke my brownie for about 10-12 seconds so the centre gets just the right kind of gooey before diving in!