Cream cheese brownies, or, using my mixer for the first time…

It has been so long since I:

a) baked something at home just for fun, not for a cause, or for the Daring Bakers (and therefore a while since I posted something other than that)

b) used a Kitchen Aid mixer at home

not that I don’t like baking for a cause or for the Daring Bakers, I definitely do, but I really like no pressure, just baking for fun baking. The real stress-free baking that I’ve always loved.

Also, not that I didn’t love using the hand mixer “given” to me by my grandmother, but I also love using a Kitchen Aid mixer. Or, any stand mixer for that matter. They are just so much faster, much easier, more convenient to use. I am happy to say that this particular mixer is also a hand-me-down, this time from my mother. She wasn’t using it, so she sent it (after months of reluctance). It came, of course, with three attachments, a whip, a paddle, and a dough hook. Unfortunately, the whip and the paddle got lost in the mail. Luckily, my mother was able to get a check to cover the cost of the new whip and paddle that I just received, hence being even more thrilled to use them!

This is an easy recipe and one that I got from another (AWESOME) blog, Use Real Butter. I have liked this blog for a while now, and had been looking for a recipe that would help me use my leftovers from the last Daring Bakers challenge (to be posted soon).

Overall, it was a perfect recipe to bake for fun, and to make using not only the paddle, but the whip of the Kitchen Aid mixer that is now mine. (Thanks, Mom!)

Cream Cheese Brownies

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
5 tbsps butter, room temperature
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp unsifted flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan. Melt the chocolate and 3 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Stir constantly to avoid burning the chocolate. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, cream the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the cream cheese. Gradually add in 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until fluffy. Blend in one egg, a tablespoon of flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat two eggs until they are light colored and slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until the mixture thickens. Add the baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup of flour. Blend in the chocolate mixture, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, nuts, and almond extract. Spread half of the chocolate batter in your pan. Then top with the cream cheese mixture. Spoon the remaining chocolate over the top and run a knife or toothpick through the batter to marble it. Bake for 35-40 minutes for a 9×9-inch pan or until a toothpick comes out clean.  For a double batch in a 9×13-inch pan,  start checking around 40 minutes and keep testing with a toothpick until the center is done – but it does tend to dry out the edges. One batch makes 16 brownies.

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