School reunions are the best. Even the unofficial kind. The kind that makes you feel very old and very grown-up, till someone cracks a terrible joke no adult should laugh at. The kind where you go to McDonald’s just because that’s where you spent all your free time and the fries make you nostalgic 🙂 The kind where you realise your appetites are just as big as they were nine years ago. And that brownies like these, which should honestly be made illegal, will vanish before you can say ‘brownie’.
I’m so happy I made these. And that it was a split second decision where my sister and my friend (for whose fiance I made these cookies) stood watching slightly nervously while I zipped around the kitchen in the sweltering heat toying with the idea of oranges inside a chocolate brownie. If that wasn’t enough, I decided I must top it with cheesecake. And swirl it. Yes, this blog sometimes makes me a crazy cake lady.
They are soft, fudgy, filled with the most amazing fresh orange flavour and to counter all that richness, a creamy, richer cheesecake topping infused with more orange. The humble brownie, jazzed up like never before 🙂 I only had one issue with these. Because I hadn’t quite decided how I was going to make the cheesecake topping, or whether I was going to make it at all, the baking powder in the brownies got a bit too much time to start working and I had cakier brownies than I’d have liked. They are originally very, very fudgy, so if you do make them this way, work a bit quick! The brownie recipe is one of my favourites and the cheesecake topping just came from some quick research, and eventually doing what I thought felt right. I’ve been saying many recipes that make this two-in-one brownie and I couldn’t wait to try it.
The swirling could have been more precise if I’d followed the marble cake method, but again, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with the cheesecake, so I poured the entire thing on before realising I could swirl it. Still, not bad huh? Honestly a terrific way to get the best of both worlds. Brownie and cheesecake, all in one. Your waistline will not be thanking you for these, but everyone’s gotta live a little, right? 🙂
What you’ll need:
For the brownies
6 tbsps unsalted butter (or salted but omit the pinch of salt that comes later)
170 gms roughly chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 and 1/2 tsps vanilla essence
1 small orange, pureed whole
For the cheesecake topping
180 gms room-temp cream cheese (that’s one box of Britannia cream cheese)
5 tsps caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
2 orange segments
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Grease a square/rectangular baking pan and set aside.
2. Sieve the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, melt the butter, chocolate and cocoa until you have a smooth mixture. Let this cool a bit.
4. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl till pale, about 4 minutes. Add the orange puree and beat again. A hand mixer helps.
5. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat again till combined.
6. Finally add the flour mixture and blend the whole batter well.
7. Pour into the prepared dish and set aside while you make the cheesecake topping.
8. Beat the cream cheese by hand for a few seconds to soften it, add the egg and vanilla and beat again. Squirt the juice from the orange segments and beat again. Taste to see if you’d like to add more vanilla or orange juice if the flavour of the egg is too strong.
9. Drop dollops of this topping on the brownie base and using a toothpick, swirly gently through till you have a marbled effect.
10. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or till a toothpick comes out clean and the cheesecake topping is set. The top might crack a bit, that’s ok.
11. Allow to cool before cutting. You could even serve these chilled, the cheesecake bit tastes best then! Go crazy 🙂