Monday, January 14, 2013

Brownie & Cheesecake

The indulgent auntie. I know that's what I am, at least in terms of food. I ply my nieces with their favourite bread, that sweet Hawaiian bread loaf from Sun Moulin, all the time when I was working in Orchard. Week in and out, it's the same bread.. yes, its boring but that's what they always look forward to - "the sweet sweet bread". Occasionally, (too frequently in my brother's opinion) they get chocolates,  gummies, pocky, hello pandas la la la..
Last week, I discovered a new favorite of theirs. Yes, it's Brownies! Good 'ol Chocolatey Brownie, no frosting, no toppings, no fancy addition but just warm, homely and deliciously cocoa-laden. What can I do but set out to bake it just for them.
I've not done brownies in years and set out to surf for a rich fudgy brownie recipe. The best I've ever tasted for which I still have fond memories of, were those from Skyve - rich dark almost molten squares of indulgence. Though mine didn't turn out like that, they nonetheless came out chocolatey, slightly bittersweet, with a light crunch to the top. The plus point is that its super easy and fuss-free! The nieces and nephews love them (or so I think, since the niece asked me to bring it again next week, yay!)
Recipe, adapted from here:
85g dark chocolate
113g unsalted butter
130g sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
85g AP flour
Preheat oven to 180C, line a smallish tray. (I doubled the recipe and its sufficient for the large oven tray that comes default with all ovens)
1. Have a pot of simmering water, not boiling. Place another heat-proof bowl over the pot and melt butter and chocolate fully, stirring constantly.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar vigorously.
3. Let mixture cool almost to room temperature and whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract and salt.
4. Stir the flour in and you should have a slightly thick mixture that will pull away from the sides of the bowl upon stirring.  
5. Pour batter into tray, tap the tray lightly to remove any air bubbles
6. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating tray halfway through
Cool and enjoy while slightly warm. Refrigerate and enjoy couple of cold slabs too!
It was also a good friend's birthday, a friend who loves cheesecakes. So, I used a thin layer of the brownie as the base and whip up a batch of cheesecake batter, layer it on top of the still-unbaked brownie base, and swirl a spoonful of the brownie mix at the surface. Tada, a simple birthday cake is created!

Use any cheesecake recipe that you'd like.
I used the following:
225g cream cheese + 1/2 cup sugar, beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
Add 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, incorporate into mixture.
Beat in 1 egg then 1/3 cup thickened cream until smooth.
Bake at 180C for 30 minutes, cool completely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving

The light cream cheese was a good balance against the chocolate of the brownie. Pretty yummy!

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