Recipe: Pudding Brownies with Cream Cheese and Cherries

I had such grandiose plans for this anniversary post!  I was going to make macarons!  I was going to make a gluten-free *and* vegan number 1 cake in best Women’s Weekly style!  I was going to have a party and make *everything*!

But it’s the end of a long week, including half a day of interminable computer training, and by the time I got home all I wanted to do was sleep.And eat chocolate cake.  Not necessarily in that order.

I have this new, wonderful Margaret Fulton Baking book (which, incidentally, I highly recommend), and had about decided to do something directly from that, even though I then wouldn’t be able to blog about it (that’s the disadvantage of food blogging – you never get to follow a recipe properly.  Says she who has never followed a recipe properly in her life, but apparently still feels that she would like to…).  My gaze was drawn to cranberry chocolate brownies with cream cheese topping.  No worries, I thought; I’ll make it gluten-free, and then it’s mine!  Only I didn’t have dried cranberries.  Dried cherries it is, then!  Oh, and maybe some cacao nibs, because they work in everything.  No worries. 

So I started making the recipe and promptly broke one of the eggs directly onto the floor.  There was no way I was going to the shops at this point, so I decided to see what plausible ingredients were in the fridge, and realised I had half a jar of cranberry jelly…

… Let’s just say that this recipe is definitely a Cate’s Cates recipe now, and leave it at that…

(Oh, and if you are wondering why ‘pudding brownies’, well, it’s because I was just a bit impatient about wanting to get these brownies out of the tin and photographed and, more importantly, tasted before it got too far past my bedtime.  So it’s possible that they weren’t really set yet – they are magnificently moist, which is a polite way of saying they fell apart when I tried to serve them, but they tasted so good I didn’t care.  I suspect they will hold together better when properly cool, but I make no promises.  I will, however, update this post in the morning when I know the full story.)

(Edited to add – actually, they are really good cold.  Very dense, but they hold together beautifully, and as a chocolate delivery system they are extremely effective)

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200 g dark chocolate, preferably Lindt 70% cooking chocolate
250 g butter, cubed.  Trust me, this saves time in the long run.
2 eggs, plus 1 egg for the topping (4 eggs would have been excessive anyway.  I was right to drop the extra one on the floor.)
3/4 cup caster sugar + 1/2 a cup for the topping
1/3 cup cranberry jelly
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup cornflour + 2 tablespoons (40ml) for the topping
a pinch of salt
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup cacao nibs
250 g cream cheese at room temperature, but the microwave is your friend if you had it in the fridge
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 
 

Now what will you do with it?

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 24-25 cm square tin with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan over very low heat.  I generally get the butter melting a bit before I even start adding the chocolate, because chocolate burns way too easily.  Also, I’m lazy and don’t cut up the butter so it takes forever to melt.

Sift together the almond meal, cornflour and salt and set aside.

Whisk the eggs until frothy.  Margaret Fulton wants you to whisk them by hand until they are thick, but I tend to ignore that kind of advice.  Whisk in the sugar bit by bit, then the cranberry jelly, which will make the whole thing look pleasingly revolting.

It might look less awful if the jelly didn’t have little chunks of cranberry through it. (Sadly, this picture does not convey just how nasty it looks in reality…)

Whisk in the cocoa, then the almond meal mixture and the melted chocolate and butter.  Stir through the cranberries and cacao nibs, and spoon the whole lot into your prepared tin.

Now make the topping – you can use the bowl which had the almond meal in it to save washing up – by beating the cream cheese until it is creamy, and then beating in the sugar until it is allegedly fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla, and spread carefully over the chocolate mixture in the tin.

Bake for 45 minutes or so – the brownie will not pass the skewer test, but if you press it lightly with your finger, you should meet some resistance. You don’t want a liquid centre, though.  Leave to cool in tin before cutting into squares.

Happy Blog Birthday to You!

Variations

We have gluten-free covered, but this brownie recipe is very much not dairy-free.  If you are avoiding both, you could use a good margarine combined with coconut butter in the main brownie, but you’d still need to forgo the topping.  I’d use a smaller tin, too, because otherwise your brownie will be very flat.  I think this recipe needs far too many eggs to veganise readily, but if, like a friend of mine, you can eat egg whites but not yolks, you could certainly go with egg whites and replace each yolk with 1 1/2 tablespoons of milk, soy milk or oil.  Use two eggwhites in the topping.

To make this low-fructose, I would replace the dried cherries with nuts or chunks of white or milk chocolate (or both).  If you want to live a bit dangerously, dried blueberries and strawberries are lower in fructose than most other fruits.  It’s your call.  I’d also lose the cranberry jelly and put that extra egg back in instead.

If you are avoiding nuts, fret not – plain flour will solve all your difficulties here.  After all, that’s how this recipe started.

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4 responses to “Recipe: Pudding Brownies with Cream Cheese and Cherries

  1. HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY!
    And i think brownie pudding sounds awesome. So do pudding brownies.

  2. Happy blogiversary!! You had me at almond, cherries, and cacao nibs 🙂

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