Saturday, August 26, 2006

Individual Espresso Brownie Cheesecakes

I'm so happy with my little experiment. I was torn between making espresso brownies or cheesecake this weekend's end of summer BBQ that I decided to see if I could combine the recipes both and come up with one super cake.

Added to the dilemma was the fact that I didn't want to make one giant cake if it turned out to be really bad. So instead, I decided to use my muffin tins to see if I can make a batch of small cakes. This way, if it sucked, at least it wasn't one big sucky cake. (After fretting a bit I picked up some ready made pie crusts, strawberries and heavy cream, in case the combined dessert was a complete failure.) It was also a fellow BBQ goer's birthday, and I promised to make her something sweet.

Luckily however, after shrinking down a couple recipes, I came up with a pretty decent new recipe created out of a simple cheese cake and espresso brownie recipes.

Tonight when I gave the birthday girl her batch, she promptly had two within a matter of minutes. Maybe her progressing pregnancy had something to do with it, but she did say it was good, so that was good. I also made a batch using the mini muffin tins, and present it to another friend earlier, but the verdict is still out on the mini ones.

Anyway, I have to find the cheesecake recipe portion, but I'm sure any cheesecake recipe will work. The idea is to bake the espresso brownie part just enough then top it with cheesecake and finish baking so both layers come out just right.

Here's the espresso brownie recipe:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease muffin tin.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, and salt, set aside.
  3. In mixer, blend sugars, then add softened butter and mix to form a grainy paste.
  4. Add melted chocolate and coffee, beat until smooth.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla extract, beat until smooth.
  6. Stir in flour mixture and chocolate chips until blended.
  7. Spoon about a tablespoon of batter into each or until it's halfway.
  8. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, remove when it's halfway done.
  9. Top with cheesecake mix and return to baking for another 10-15 minutes.

I was thinking about covering these with melted chocolate to give it a bit more dimension, but the way it is is just fine. (I think I would just prefer it to have a touch more chocolate flavor.) The cheesecake top is nice and creamy and smooth, and the brownie bottom is a nice dense contrast with the morsels of chocolate chip. It's not achingly sweet. Plus the muffin tin makes great serving sizes. I popped each one in muffin liners and they looked so cute! I was almost sad to give them away because they're so freakin adorable! Ah well. It was fun.

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