A brownie recipe worth investing in


Entertaining: Cream cheese adds a subtle underlying flavor, and coffee scents the glaze.

October 28, 2001|By Betty Rosbottom | By Betty Rosbottom,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Recently I held a meeting for my investment club. All novices who work in other fields, we get together once a month for lectures and discussions on investing, but we love socializing as well. So our gatherings begin with appetizers or even a light supper and lots of conversation.

At our first fall meeting, I opted to serve a simple meal. The menu included egg and olive salad club sandwiches garnished with potato chips and deli pickles. There was also a plate of sliced red and yellow tomatoes drizzled with vinaigrette dressing and sprinkled with bits of creamy goat cheese. For dessert, I passed a basket of tart McIntosh apples and offered homemade chocolate cream cheese brownies.

Our social hour was a big success. The crispness of the autumn air seemed to fuel appetites and caused everyone to eat with abandon. Throughout the evening guests went back for seconds and even thirds. Although the whole menu was well-received, the brownies drew the most attention. They were moist, dense and flavored intensely with chocolate. Cream cheese added to the batter provided a subtle underlying flavor, while chopped walnuts contributed a bit of crunchiness to the texture. After baking, the brownies were iced with a rich, creamy chocolate glaze scented with coffee.

These brownies are a good choice when entertaining a large crowd because they can be made several days ahead and refrigerated. (To ensure that none is eaten before a planned event, you would be wise to place them in the back of the fridge, out of sight of family tasters.) The recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. There was still a mound of brownies left on the table at the end of our meeting, as I had baked extra batches. Without the least bit of embarrassment, the guests asked if they could take some home for their spouses and kids - they said for late-night nibbling.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

With Chocolate-Coffee Icing

Makes 16 brownies.


butter and flour for preparing pan

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3 ounces cream cheese

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


1/2 cup whipping cream

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee

To prepare brownies, butter 8-inch-square baking pan generously and dust with flour. Shake out excess flour and set aside.

Place 3 tablespoons of the butter and chocolate in heavy medium saucepan and set over very low heat. Stir constantly until mixture is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

With electric mixer on medium speed, cream remaining 2 tablespoons butter with cream cheese. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla and mix to blend. Set aside.

Beat remaining 2 eggs with mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat until thickened. Fold in baking powder, salt and remaining 1/2 cup flour. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture, nuts and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Drizzle cream cheese mixture over batter, and with a spatula swirl into the chocolate batter.

Bake brownies at 350 degrees on center rack until tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

To prepare icing, in heavy medium saucepan, combine cream, chocolate and 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee (use larger amount for stronger coffee flavor) and set over very low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and creamy. Cool 15 minutes.

Using spatula, spread icing over top of brownies. Refrigerate until icing is firm. Slice brownies into 16 squares, place in covered container and refrigerate. (Brownies can be prepared 2 days ahead. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.)

Betty Rosbottom writes for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

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