When I was younger, I enjoyed shopping for birthday presents for my friends. It was also a great excuse to spend my allowances and an opportunity to go shopping with a purpose. However, now that my circle of friends (and myself) are more matured (rather than saying aging…) we are less materialistic, meaning, they mostly just treat me to a meal rather than presenting me with a tangible item. Yes, romanticism has disappeared, but I cannot blame them because so far, most of the gifts are just stored in my closet unused (with the exception for lotions). So being practical has its ups and downs.
For me, I don’t have much disposable income and since my friends enjoy sweets, I always present them with baked goods as their birthday presents. Today is my good friend’s birthday and I decided to bake her some cream cheese brownies, which I have never done before.
I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart’s website, but tweaked it a little.
So here’s my updated version:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Line bottom and two sides with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two sides. Butter foil, and set pan aside. In a small bowl, whisk 1 cup flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
2. Place 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter and chocolate in a large microwaveable bowl and microwave every 30 seconds and stir in between until everything is melted. Add 3/4 cup sugar to the mix then Add the eggs until combined. Finally, temper in some of the liquid and then add the rest of the flour and cocoa mixture and mix just until moistened (but do not overmix).
3. Prepare cream-cheese mixture: Whisk a bar of cream cheese with 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter. Whisk in the rest of the sugar and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Alternately spoon chocolate batter and cream-cheese mixture into pan.
4. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out dry. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. (Be patient! Don’t cut into it yet :P) Using the overhang, lift the brownies out of pan and transfer to a rack to cool. On a cutting board, use a dampened knife and cut into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.
5. Enjoy! I don’t know about you, but I always go for the corner bite. 🙂