Chocolate Brownies are an eternal favourite for absolutely everyone in my family. I made this recipe for a picnic on the weekend. Taking just minutes to stir everything and pile in the tin, I popped them in the oven and let them bake while we got ourselves ready and packed the car with all the picnic essentials. Then I pulled it out of the oven, scattered over the final dark choc layer and let it melt while we drove to our picnic destination.
They would make a perfect little after dinner treat when you want something that is satisfyingly sweet but can be served in little portions for guests to go back for seconds if they want. They are for absolute chocolate lovers who can handle a big chocolate hit.
Whilst baked cheesecake is one of my ultimate favourites, it can get a bad rap and I must admit that I’ve never really had a good cheesecake brownie. All too often the cheesecake component is dry and crumbly and detracts from the glorious brownie. Here though, I was determined to make something that was equal in its goodness. That you could easily eat the cheesecake layer by itself and be just as satisfied as having them together. The key is to cook on a low oven temp and to make sure you don’t overcook them. The cheesecake layer should just be cooked. As soon as you see the edges really drying out, it is ready. A skewer will come out mostly clean and if there is a hint of cake on there it will have a ‘set’ texture’.
140g butter, melted
1 cup cocoa, Nestle` brand
2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp coffee powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons just-boiled water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup gluten-free plain flour
3/4tsp gluten-free baking powder
200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
1 295g tin condensed milk
250g reduced fat cream cheese
200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius, conventional (If you can only have fan-forced, reduce the temperature to 150 degreees celsius)
- Make the brownie mix first. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan over a medium heat.
- Once melted, add in the cocoa powder and stir thoroughly.
- Continue adding each ingredient in, stirring very well until evenly combined, before adding the next.
- Pour the brownie mix into a lined, rectangular tin, with dimensions 34cm x 25cm or equivalent. Set aside while you make the cheesecake layer.
- Melt the chocolate on the defrost function in the microwave. Use short bursts of about minute at a time until completely melted. The reason for doing this is to prevent the choclate from getting above 38 degrees celsius and burning. If it burns, it can seize and turn to a grainy dry texture which is not able to be fixed.
- Add in the condensed milk and whisk well until just combined.
- Next add the ricotta and gently whisk in.
- Add in the cream cheese and stir in well.
- Finally, whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
- Pour the mix over the chocolate brownie layer, spreading carefully with the back of a spoon.
- Cook in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the cheesecake layer is just set.
- Take the cheesecake brownie out of the oven and set aside to cool.
- Break up the extra chocolate and blitz in a food processor until it is a coarse crumb.
- While still warm, scatter the chocolate crumbs over the cheesecake layer and set aside. The chocolate will melt and form a melted chocolate layer. You can serve warm, at room temp or place in the fridge to cool down. Cut into squares to serve.
- I don’t usually use low fat ingredients, however in this dish the low fat cream cheese works as it is less dense and lighter in texture which gives a creamy cheesecake topping.
- Choose 70% dark chocolate that you enjoy eating, for the cheesecake layer and topping. I like Plaistowe brand or even Cadbury is fine.