Makes 16 2-inch brownies
Knowing when to remove a pan of brownies from the oven is
the only difficult part about baking them. If you wait until an inserted toothpick comes out clean,
the brownies are overcooked. But if a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out with
fudgy crumbs, remove the pan immediately. If you are a nut lover, you can stir 1 cup toasted
walnuts or pecans into the brownie batter. To melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave oven,
microwave chocolate alone at 50 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir chocolate; add butter;
and continue microwaving at 50 percent for another 2 minutes, stopping to stir the mixture
after 1 minute. If chocolate is not entirely melted, microwave an additional 30 seconds at
50 percent power.
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside.
Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray, and, following illustration 1,
fit an 8-by-16-inch sheet of aluminum foil in bottom of pan.
(Foil overhangs both sides of the pan; use as handles to remove baked brownies from pan.)
Coat foil with cooking spray.
2. In a medium heat-proof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, melt chocolate
and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, melt chocolate
and butter in microwave oven. See instructions above.) Remove melted chocolate mixture from heat;
whisk in 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla; then whisk in 3 eggs, one at a time,
fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue whisking until mixture is completely smooth.
Add dry ingredients; whisk until just incorporated.
3. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla,
and egg yolk until of even consistency.
4. Pour half the brownie batter into prepared pan. Following illustration 2, drop half
the cream cheese mixture, by spoonfuls, over batter. Repeat layering and swirling with remaining
brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Following illustration 3, use blade of a table knife or
a spoon handle to gently swirl batter and cream cheese filling, creating a marbled effect.
5. Bake until edges of brownies have puffed slightly, center feels not quite firm when
touched lightly, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into center comes out with several moist,
fudgy crumbs adhering to it, 50 to 60 minutes.
6. Cool brownies in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Following illustration 4, use foil sling handles to lift brownies from pan.
Place brownies on wire rack; allow them to cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours.
(To hasten cooling, place brownies in the freezer for about 1 1/2 hours.)
Cut into squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve. Whole bar can be wrapped in
plastic wrap, then foil, and refrigerated up to 5 days.)