I was whipping up a batch of these last week (a much-needed treat after a particularly grueling couple days), when I realised that despite all the sweet things I’ve written about here- all the cookies, cakes, tarts and other treats- that I’ve never shared this go-to brownie recipe before. If I’m honest, brownies aren’t my favourite indulgence- Andrew is the chocolate fiend in this household. But if I’m gonna have them, they’ve got to be good.
When it comes to brownies, the word “ultimate” is vastly overused. As are “best”, “superior”, “most delicious”, “incredible” and so on. And no, I’m not about to insist that this brownie recipe really is the ultimate one- everyone has different criteria for judging a brownie’s worth, after all. I will say that if you, like me, enjoy a really dense, fudgey brownie, if you like a double chocolate hit in the form of melted chocolate and cocoa powder, if the idea of a brownie made incredibly moist with the addition of cream cheese sounds good to you, then there’s a good chance that this brownie recipe will become your ultimate one, too.
One thing I especially like about this recipe (besides everything above, obviously) is how adaptable it is. The basic version is delicious, but the possibilities for additions are truly limitless- chocolate chips, nuts, dried cranberries, swirls of various composition. It’s the latter I went for this time- a mix of peanut butter and cream cheese for a sweet but salty cheesecake swirl. And you’ve got to admit- that really does sound like the ultimate indulgence, doesn’t it?
Note: Since I prefer bake in weight (grams), that’s how I’ve shown the recipe below. If you prefer ounces or volume measures, follow the link to the original recipe- Rose includes all three!
- Ele’s Ultimate Brownies (Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl optional!)
- adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum‘s Brownie Puddle Tart
- makes 16 large brownies
200g unsalted butter
85g dark baking chocolate (I try to use 70%+ cocoa solids), chopped
50g cocoa powder
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs
85g cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
70g plain flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl
115g cream cheese
85g peanut butter
3 Tbs. caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. Prepare a 8 x 8″ baking pan by buttering the sides, and lining the bottom and two sides with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl or medium saucepan, melt together the butter and chocolate. When it’s smooth, remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder, sugar, eggs and cream cheese. Finally, stir in the vanilla, flour and salt. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking tin, and set aside while you prepare the cheesecake swirl (if using).
3. For the peanut butter cheesecake swirl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Spread over the top of the brownie batter, and using a spoon or small spatula, swirl the two mixtures together.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until set and springy in the middle. Allow brownies to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Brownies are best after 24 hours, and get even fudgier if kept in the fridge.