Cheesecake Brownies

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These triple-layer brownies have an interesting blend of flavors and textures, from the soft, sour topping, to the creamy cheesecake layer, to the chewy brownie on the bottom.  As usual for brownies and cheesecake, the recipe works well gluten free.

 

Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 16 brownies

For the brownies:
 
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cheesecake:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
For the topping:
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2-4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (adjust according to taste)
 
Make the brownies:
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan or spray the pan with baking spray.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate together over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan, stirring with a rubber spatula until the two have melted into each other. Take care not to heat the mixture too much – you don’t want the butter to separate. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove.
  4. Whisk in the sugar.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  6. Whisk in the vanilla extract and whisk vigorously for just a few seconds.
  7. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingredients, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan.  (If using all-purpose flour, stop mixing when the dry ingredients have only barely disappeared into the batter.)
  8. Set the pan aside while you make the cheesecake batter.

Make the cheesecake:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer and large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium until it is smooth.
  2. Beat in the sugar and continue beating for 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat each for 1 minute before adding the next.
  5. Reduce the mixer to low and add the sour cream, followed by the flour. The batter should be smooth.
  6. Stir up the brownie batter a couple of times and spread 3/4 of the batter in the prepared baking pan – the batter should cover the entire bottom.
  7. Pour all of the cheesecake batter over the brownie batter and using a spoon or offset spatula, cover the brownie batter entirely.
  8. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake batter by the tablespoonful and using a knife, just barely swirl the brownie batter around, taking care not to dip the knife into the bottom layer of brownies.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The brownies should just pull away from the sides of the pan and the cheesecake layer should be beige in the center, slightly browned on the edges, and puffed all over.
  10. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  11. Transfer the brownies to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.

Make the topping:

  1. In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the sour cream OR yogurt and sugar together, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour the topping over the chilled brownies and using an offset spatula, push the topping just out to within ¼-inch of the edges – don’t let the topping spill down the sides.
  3. Chill the brownies for another 1 hour.
  4. To cut the brownies, run a long sharp knife under hot water and dry with a towel. Cut the brownies into quarters with the hot knife, cleaning and reheating before you make each cut. Remove the quarters from the pan and cut each into quarters. Keep the cut brownies chilled and bring to room temperature before serving.
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Chocolate Bavarian Cream Pie

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This chocolate Bavarian cream pie recipe comes from New Zealand and has been in the family for generations.  It’s pretty addictive!

 

Chocolate Bavarian Cream Pie

Yield: Two 9” pies

For filling:

  • 1 envelope (1/4 oz) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 cup milk, scalded
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg whites

For crumb crust:

For topping:

 

  1. In a small bowl, place water. Pour in gelatin, stir gently to moisten, and let sit to soften.
  2. Bring water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler or in a pot.
  3. In the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt.
  4. Slowly drizzle scalded milk into yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
  5. Cook yolk mixture over boiling water until it coats a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. (It will still be fairly runny.)
  6. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until gelatin dissolves entirely.
  7. Let sit until it cools to room temperature. (If you’re impatient, you can put it in the refrigerator, but make sure you don’t chill it too far.)
  8. While mixture is cooling, spray 2 pie pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  9. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press it into pie pans.  Cover and chill in refrigerator.
  10. When yolk mixture is cool, stir in vanilla.
  11. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat egg whites with 1 tablespoon sugar until they hold stiff peaks.
  12. Transfer yolk mixture into a clean, large mixing bowl and stir in a large spoonful of egg whites to lighten it.
  13. Fold in the rest of the egg whites in three additions.
  14. In the same bowl in which you whipped the egg whites (you don’t need to clean it), beat heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks.
  15. Fold whipped cream into the egg mixture in 3-4 additions.
  16. Divide batter between pie pans. Shake pans lightly to smooth the tops.
  17. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours or until set.
  18. Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tablespoon wafer crumbs over the tops to decorate.

Almost-Fudge Gateau

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This French chocolate cake resembles a cross between a lava cake and a brownie.  Because there are five eggs in the batter to provide structure, the cake works well gluten free.  It’s deliciously gooey when warm, so I recommend heating the leftovers in the microwave before eating.

 

Almost-Fudge Gateau
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9″ cake

For cake:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons coffee OR water
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

For glaze:

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped OR semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar OR light corn syrup

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour, and tap out the excess.  Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
  3. Set a heatproof howl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar, butter, and coffee OR water.  Alternatively, you can combine them directly in a small nonstick pot over very low heat, and stir constantly to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  4. Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may be grainy and that’s fine.
  5. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for three minutes.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
  7. Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks.
  8. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in the rest.
  9. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.
  10. Bake for 35-45 minutes (it will be closer to the upper limit for the gluten-free cake), or until the cake has risen evenly.  It might rise around the edges and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes more and the center will puff too.  The top will firm (it will probably be cracked) and won’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate.
  11. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5-10 minutes.
  12. Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan.
  13. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and parchment paper.  Invert the cake onto another rack.  If using gluten-free flour, glaze the cake before it cools all the way, because the cake dries out easily and you want the glaze to hold in moisture.  If using all-purpose flour, you can cool the cake to room temperature.  As the cake cools, it may sink.
  14. Carefully turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to catch any drips.
  15. Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
  16. Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven – the chocolate should be just melted and warm, but not hot.
  17. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.
  18. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
  19. Stir in the agave nectar OR corn syrup.
  20. Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula.  Don’t worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake – it will just add to its charm.  If using gluten-free flour, try to seal the entire cake with glaze.
  21. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you’re impatient, slip the cake into the fridge for about 20 minutes.  If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a little gently heat from a hairdryer.
  22. You can store any leftovers covered in the fridge.  Reheat a slice for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to restore its warm gooeyness.

Chocolate Mousse II

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Compared to the other chocolate mousse recipe on this blog, this version is lighter and fluffier and perhaps more appropriate for a warm summer day.

Original recipe

 

Chocolate Mousse II
From Betty Crocker

Yield: 8 servings

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

 

  1. Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored.
  2. Gradually beat in sugar.
  3. Heat 1 cup heavy cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot.
  4. Gradually stir at least half of the hot heavy cream into egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in saucepan.
  5. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil).
  6. Stir in chocolate chips until melted.
  7. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, just until chilled. (Or you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight, but you’ll have to let it warm up to stirrable consistency on the counter the next day.)
  8. Beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff.
  9. Stir a large dollop of whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.
  10. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream in three additions.
  11. Pipe or spoon mixture into serving bowls.
  12. Immediately refrigerate any remaining dessert after serving.

Flourless Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

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The texture of these muffins was amazing: almost exactly like muffins made with all-purpose flour!  You won’t taste the bananas, and surprisingly, the flavor of the peanut butter is also pretty mild.  For the most part, these taste like chocolate chocolate chip muffins.

Original recipe

 

Flourless Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 1 cup (256 g) no-stir smooth peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (84 g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch processed will work just fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 cup chocolate chips

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.

  2. In a large bowl, place the peanut butter, bananas, eggs and honey, and beat with a handheld mixer until very well-combined.

  3. Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and mix with a spatula until just combined.

  4. Beat the mixture again with a handheld mixer until very well-combined.  The batter should be thick but soft and as smooth as possible.

  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared wells of the muffin tin, and shake the tin back and forth to distribute the batter in an even layer in each well.

  7. Place the tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the tops of the muffins are puffed and spring back and feel relatively firm when pressed gently in the center (22 to 25 minutes).
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  They freeze exceptionally well when sealed tightly in freezer-safe wrap or a freezer-safe container.

Chocolate Pudding

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This chocolate pudding is smooth and silky.  If desired, serve with homemade whipped cream.

Original recipe

 

Chocolate Pudding
From Betty Crocker

Yield: 7 servings

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch processed baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

 

  1. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt with whisk.
  2. Gradually stir in milk.
  3. Cook over medium heat 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until pudding boils and is thickened.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 2 minutes longer.
  5. Remove from heat; gently stir in butter and vanilla until butter is melted.
  6. Pour into large bowl; cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming.
  7. Cool 10 minutes.
  8. Serve warm, or refrigerate until serving time.

Gooey Chocolate Cakes

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This is one of those wonderful recipes that taste just as delicious whether gluten free or not.  The cakes have an intense chocolate flavor and are warm and gooey inside.  They’re so rich that you have to pair them with ice cream or whipped cream.

 

Gooey Chocolate Cakes
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 6 cakes

  • 1/3 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (4 ounces coarsely chopped, 1 ounce very finely chopped)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400ºF.  Generously butter (or spray – it’s easier) 6 cups of a regular-size muffin pan, preferably a disposable aluminum foil pan, dust the insides with flour, and tap out the excess.  Put the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt together.
  3. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the coarsely chopped chocolate and the butter in the bowl, and stir occasionally over the simmering water just until they are melted – you don’t want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.  (Alternatively, you can very carefully heat the chocolate and butter directly in a small non-stick pot over very low heat, stirring constantly.)
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and yolk until homogenous.
  5. Add sugar and whisk until well blended, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add dry ingredients and, still using the whisk, stir (don’t beat) them into the eggs.
  7. Little by little, and using a light hand, stir in the melted chocolate and butter.
  8. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate over the batter.
  9. Bake the cakes for 13 minutes if gluten free, OR 12-13 minutes if not.  Transfer them, still on the baking sheet, to a rack to cool for 3 minutes. (There is no way to test that these cakes are properly baked, because the inside remains liquid.)
  10. Line a cutting board with a silicone baking mat or parchment or wax paper, and, after the 3-minute rest, unmold the cakes onto the board.  Use a wide metal spatual to lift the cakes onto dessert plates.  Serve immediately with ice cream or whipped cream.
  11. Store leftover cakes in an airtight container at room temperature.  The next day, warm in the microwave for about 15 seconds to restore the gooeyness.