Its been one of those weeks when you just need to make brownies. You know those weeks. There are times when comfort foods, especially sweet comfort foods are in order. These stepped up to the plate (ha,ha) and satisfied that chocolate and sugar craving and were just so, so good. I've been eyeing their picture in my cookbook for sometime but finally decided to make them--and oh, what took me so long? They have it all: fudgy brownie base, luscious cream cheese topping, toasted pecans, and a good sprinkling of Heath Bar. What else can you say about these except that you need to make them right now?
These brownies are from one of my favorite cookbooks ( I feel like I say that about all of my cookbooks), At Home with Magnolia. Its by Alllysa Torrey who is the owner of the famed Magnolia Bakery in New York City. She has several cookbooks out that are full of wonderful from-scratch, old-fashioned sweets, but this one also features savory recipes as well as desserts. Her recipe combinations just always work so I turn to these books time and time again --cream cheese brownies+ Heath Bar + toasted pecans? Sign me up!
For the cream cheese filling:
One 8-oz. pkg cream cheese, not softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temp.
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
For the brownies:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tbs. whole milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
2/3 cup chopped Heath bars, or any chocolate-covered toffee bars
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13x9-inch baking pan.
To make the cream cheese filling: In a medium-size bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add the egg and flour and beat well. Set aside.
To make the brownies: In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium-size saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes until lukewarm. Stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Stir in half of the pecans and half of the Heath Bars. Reserve 1/2 cup of the brownie batter. Spread the rest of the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Drop the cream cheese mixture by tablespoonfuls over the batter. Next, drop the reserved brownie batter by teaspoonfuls in between the cream cheese filling. Using a small knife, swirl the two batters together, forming a decorative pattern. Sprinkle the remaining pecans and Heath Bars over the top, and using a spatula, gently press into the batter. Bake for 40-55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the pan comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Allow to cool overnight before cutting and serving.
Note: To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Be careful to not let them burn! I make sure to set the timer for 5 minutes and then add time as necessary as they are very easy to burn.
Adapted from At Home with Magnolia