My mother was a baker extraordinaire, unanimously admired by family and her vast circle of friends for the pastries and confections she’d bring to every gathering and celebration. Platters of rugelach, strudel, pecan tartlets, sugary toasted walnuts, brownies, and more. There was always an ample supply of flour, butter, eggs, sugar, nuts, dried fruits and cream cheese in our pantry so she could jump into action whenever inspiration arose.
I am now, more than ever, my mother’s daughter. Yesterday I was committed to finding that recipe for her cream cheese brownies that set us all to swooning with their rich, dark chocolate marbled with a cheescake-like filling. They were the dessert counterpart to marble rye, and they never lasted more than a day. Having everything on hand, I set out to research the various versions on the web, and truly struck gold with a recipe posted on Bake or Break, another food blog written by Jennifer McHenry. The clincher was Ms McHenry’s shared affinity for adding a touch of spirits to her baked goods – in this case, bourbon, my current spirit of choice.
What a treat putting these bodacious brownies together while sipping on Knob Creek 9-year old bourbon on the rocks. I followed the recipe exactly, with just a small change in the baking pan. Instead of the recommended 9″ square pan, I used an 8″ Emile Henry baker, lined with parchment as she recommends, and adjusted the baking time to 50-55 minutes. I used Trader Joe’s 72% Cacao dark chocolate, the stuff that comes in a 17.6-ounce bar, which is not only superb for baking, but also very nice to let melt in your mouth with a cup of coffee:
BOURBON CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES
We each enjoyed one while still slightly warm, and the rest are under wraps for another day. The taste sensation brought me back to girlhood in Jennie’s kitchen – I must freeze a few of these for when my son and his GF come home from their vacation in Seattle on Thursday. Otherwise, they’d be gone by then.