Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Black & White Brownies

When I was 20 years old I got my first job in public relations, working for a boutique consultancy in Paddington, Sydney. Our office was in Underwood Street, which is parallel to Oxford Street, the main drag of Paddington and a major culture hub for the Eastern Suburbs.

After working for a year in very boring and hum drum North Rocks, lunch times in Paddington were an exploratory delight. Apart from great shopping for nic naks at Opus (which is still there today) there was also a world of food that I was keen to sample. And because I was a mere slip of a girl in those days, I thought I could eat anything I liked, and dance it off at the clubs I went to four or five nights a week.

One of my favourite destinations was the deli next door to the newsagency. They had a plethora of fillings to put on continental bread, but the thing they sold that I enjoyed most were Black and White Muffins. These were a black, squidgey, chocolate muffin topped with a gooey, cheesey white bit. The flavours were intensely heavenly. It wasn't something I bought all the time, because they were an extreme indulgence. But every now and then, I'd get one, and struggle to enjoy eating it while Kevin, the white samoid dog who lived where I worked, sat with his head in my lap.

Those muffins seem to have disappeared from the cafes of Sydney now, replaced by cupcakes and brownies. I've been craving one lately, so here's my hybrid recipe - B&W brownies.

250g good quality dark cooking chocolate
250g butter
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 tblsp cocoa powder
2/3 cup plain flour
250g light cream cheese
3 tblsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a brownie tin with baking paper, ensuring you extend it up and over the sides.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave oven - about 2 minutes - then stir to combine. Do not overheat or you'll burn the chocolate.
3. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Then add the eggs, two at a time, stir thoroughly after each addition.
4. Add the cocoa and flour and fold gently through the chocolate mix until all ingredients are combined. Pour the mixture into the brownie tin and smooth it out to fill the corners.
5. Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk in a small bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined.
6. Drop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture over the top of the raw brownie mix. Take a butter knife and whirl the cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture to lightly combine.
7. Bake for 40 minutes then allow to cool in the tin. Remember, brownies are meant to be squidgey, so don't over cook it!
8. Cut into 18 squares and enjoy!