Sunday, June 7, 2009

Black and White Cheesecake Squares

Jonathan's class hosted the annual TTUHSC PA program picnic welcoming the incoming class who started with them this semester.  We can't believe that it was really just a year ago that we attended that picnic, having rushed out here with two weeks notice ready to start the next chapter in our lives-obtaining a career.  Now they are the upper class men with only two more months of in class work and off to clinicals.  Pretty cool.  I made these brownies for the picnic as well as some cupcakes.  
These little morsels were a real hit.  To be honest, when we tasted them fresh, cooled enough from the oven we weren't terribly impressed.  For all of the steps you go through with this recipe, they didn't seem any better than a boxed version.  But the next morning after they had been refrigerated, we tasted again and they were fabulous.  The cheesecake layer was deliciously prominent and the brownie layer was fudgy goodness.   Definitely worth the work and definitely better than any boxed variety.  So don't be disappointed with the work of your labors, these guys really do need the refrigerator time and for your patience there will be a big payoff.

Cheesecake Brownies
Martha Stewart Living

2 cups plus 2 Tbs flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 lrg eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325.  Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Line dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both long sides, then spray parchment paper.

Sift flour, cocoa, soda and salt into a lrg. bowl.  In another bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until smooth.  Add 2 eggs and 2 Tbs vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl.  Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture a little at a time.  Increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated.  

Reserve 1 cup of dough; cover and refrigerate.  Press remaining dough into bottom of dish.  ( This was kind of difficult for me since the dough was so sticky so I dipped the bottom edge of a rubber spatula in water over and over to press the dough down without it sticking.  I still couldn't get the edges and corners to be as thick as the rest but don't worry this won't matter after baking.)  Refrigerate 30 minutes.  Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, 20-25 minutes(don't over bake or this brownie layer will be too hard and crumbly)  Let cool in dish on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, remaining egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla in a medium bowl.  Spread over cooled brownie base ; crumble reserved dough on top in chunks.  Bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes.  Let cool in dish a rack, then lift out using overhang.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Cut off edges with a pizza cutter or chopping knife so s not cause cracks and have a cleaner cut,and then into 24 squares.  Will keep, refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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