P1080677Valentine’s Day has inextricably linked love and chocolate. If you are among the wise folk who avoid restaurants on Valentine’s Day, you can have your cake and eat it too in the serenity of your home.

Zebra brownies have been a favorite since the ’80s; my hand-written recipe dates to then as well. They are the lovechild of a chewy, dense brownie and a silky, dense cheesecake.

I offer you the original and a half-size version that I make in a round cake pan. These are so rich, even the smaller size will last you a few days.

They don’t need frosting. I just did it for company. I prefer a ganache, which is less sweet than, say, buttercream frosting. If you do the sheet-cake version, just cut squares like regular brownies.P1060728Zebra Brownies 

Brownie part:

1 cup (227 g) butter, softened

2 cups (200 g) sugar

1 cup (85 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

4 eggs

1 cup (128 g) flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cheesecake part:

3 cups (225 g) cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cup (300 g) sugar

5 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup (64 g) flour

Brownie part: With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed. Shift to low speed; add the cocoa and eggs and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and vanilla and mix on low.

Cheesecake part: In a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese and sugar on high speed. Add the eggs, mixing on low speed. Add the vanilla and flour, still on low speed.

I used to spread the brownie part, then cover with the cheesecake mix, and swirl them. But now I distribute blobs of the brownie mix around a greased 9X13 cake pan, then pour in the cheesecake mix and swirl the two together. It seems to marble better that way.

Bake at 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius) for 35-45 minutes. It should be moist but not runny.

The half-size option:

Brownie part:

1/2 cup (113 g) butter

1 cup (100 g) sugar

1/2 cup (43 g) cocoa powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup (64 g) flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cheesecake part: 

1 1/2 cup (12 oz or 113 g) cream cheese

3/4 cup (150 g) sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup (32 g) flour

Same procedure, but test for doneness after 25 minutes.

For ganache:

6 oz (150 g) dark (70%) chocolate, broken into small chips (the smaller the better)

6 oz or 2/3 cup (15 cl) heavy (30% fat) cream

Put the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream to almost boiling (OK if it boils, but it doesn’t have to). Pour over the chocolate. Stir to make sure the chocolate bits are all melted. Let it cool a little–it should be warm enough to pour but not so hot that it will run away. P1080668To be fancy, I also added out-of-season raspberries.

 

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20 thoughts on “Q: Brownies or Cheesecake? A: Yes.

  1. Valentine’s day, eh? What a wonderful excuse to indulge in a decadent dessert. Your cheesecake brownies look luscious but I don’t have time today so something from the local bakery will have to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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