At home I am constantly reminded to make “healthy” cakes and cookies. “Healthy” refers to not using butter or sugar. When these are replaced with substitutes like oil or honey, then I am told that the cakes are not as spongy or not as enticing as they should be. You cannot have it all people – make up your minds. Apparently they cannot – so I switch between creating healthy and scrumptious desserts.
I remember a colleague of mine once said, “a dessert is a dessert if after eating you think you have committed a sin.” What he meant was that it will be so full of butter and chocolate and all those flavors and ingredients you try to avoid for a healthy heart and weight, that you think you have sinned after you have finished enjoying it. This is what I did the other day – created a dessert with chocolates and cheese and butter – a touch of heaven when put to your lips and sheer guilt after you have finished and contemplating another piece. And then you head to serve yourself the next piece of moist and creamy brownie brushing away any thoughts of guilt by convincing yourself you will exercise longer or eat less the next day.
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
120 grams semi sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
120 grams cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
½ teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
- Use a fork or electric mixer to cream the remaining butter with the cream cheese and ½ cup of the sugar. Beat in one of the eggs. Stir in the tablespoon of flour, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the remaining eggs until thick; gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until quite thick.
- Combine the chocolate and 3 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate is just about melted, remove from the heat and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth. Keep aside
- I another bowl, mix together the baking powder, salt and remaining flour. Gently stir into the beaten egg mixture from above.
- Add the melted chocolate mixture, nuts if using, almond extract, and remaining vanilla to this.
- Spread half the chocolate mixture in the bottom of the baking pan; top with the cream cheese mixture, and the remaining chocolate mixture. Swirl through all with a rubber spatula to create a marbled effect.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until just barely set in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting. Store covered and refrigerated for no more than a day, if you still have something remaining.