Well, I knew it would happen eventually.
Remember way back when this project first started and I was making one cheesecake every month?
That was a long 12 months.
I thought I ran out of cheesecakes and while I definitely ran out of cheesecakes proper, I did find this recipe only a few days ago for ‘Philly Marble Squares.’ And let’s be real: these are chocolate chip cheesecake brownies. So I wasn't super thrilled to find the recipe... because I'm still recovering from the cheesecake saga of 2015-2016.
Do you ever set kitchen goals for yourself? Like, ‘I’m going to learn how to make macarons’ or ‘I’m going to learn and master the difference between Swiss and Italian meringue buttercream’ or ‘I’m going to teach myself to frost cakes’ or whatever? No? Just me? Well, if so, I think it’s important to note that I’ve conquered macarons and buttercreams and frosting techniques are next on my list.
Well, one of my cooking goals has been to get better about mise-en-place, or prepping for a recipe before I actually dive in to cooking it. It seems silly, but getting all the ingredients together, measured, and set aside would save me a shedload of dishes (no dishwasher, remember?) and probably drastically improve the results of my more sensitive baking endeavours. The unexpected bonus of cooking in this way is that it makes me feel like Julia Child hosting a cooking show when I have pre-measured glass prep bowls filled with ingredients I can just pour gracefully into the mixing bowl instead of faffing around looking for a measuring cup while my whipped cream overwhips itself into butter or my meringue falls flat before I have a chance to stir in my almonds. (Can you tell I’ve been on a macaron kick over here?)
I was on the fence about how much prepping for a recipe before actually cooking it could really help make the process go smoothly, but I gave it a try on this recipe and now I’m never going back. It’s an easy recipe, but it does require several steps that need to be taken fairly simultaneously, so I’ve listed the steps below such that you won’t get stuck halfway through realising that your chocolate isn’t melted or your cream cheese mixture isn’t… mixed. Doing it this way gives you ample time at the beginning to be interrupted if, say, your puppy needs a sudden walk while you’re still in the middle of sifting the flour and somehow makes the actual ‘active cooking’ part shrink to take up almost no time at all.
I thought these would be just a slightly softer, richer brownie when I read the recipe, and honestly was afraid they might come out too firm to really be enjoyable but not only was I wrong, I was thrilled to be wrong. I haven’t made brownies this good in awhile, and I make a lot of brownies. The ‘brownie’ part is less dense and fudgy than a normal brownie and verges closer to a really soft sour cream pound cake; top that with a barely-sweetened cream cheese mixture and stud the whole thing with chocolate chips and you’re in business. A dessert that tastes as good chilled from the fridge as it does at room temperature, doesn’t leave your fingers a sticky mess and involves no ‘wait for cake to cool, then frost’ steps is a win in my book. This passed the test of someone who doesn’t love cheesecake but does love chocolate (me) and someone who doesn’t love cake but does love cheesecake (Judson). Bonus? When I presented them to a group, they were gone in less than a minute.
4 spoons out of five, but ONLY because they rose unevenly so the top of the dish of brownies looked rippled. But I think it's important to note that this is a spoon demotion purely for cosmetic reasons, not flavour.
Grease and flour a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan (I think this would work just as well in a cake pan of a similar size).
Preheat oven to 185C/375F.
Combine flour, 2 c sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Combine 2 eggs and sour cream, stir well and set aside.
Combine cream cheese and remaining 1/3 c sugar, stirring until smooth.
Add remaining egg to cream cheese mixture, stir until smooth and set aside.
Combine butter, water & unsweetened chocolate in a pot and melt over medium heat. Bring to a boil then immediately remove from heat.
Stir in flour mixture to melted butter mixture until thick and pulling away from sides of bowl.
Add sour cream mixture and stir until uniform.
Pour into prepared jelly roll pan.
Pour cream cheese mixture over chocolate mixture, trying to pour uniformly across the entire surface.
Drag a knifepoint through the mixture in swirly designs to create a marble effect.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips, then bake 20-30 minutes until pan jiggles just slightly in the middle and a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
2 c flour
2 1/3 c sugar, divided
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs, 2 for base and 1 for topping
½ c sour cream
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
½ c butter
¾ c water
1 ½ oz unsweetened chocolate
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips