CREAM CHEESE MARBLED BROWNIES

For the Cream Cheese Swirl

85g cream cheese, room temperature

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

For The Brownie Base

1 cup pecan nuts, chopped

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

170g unsweetened chocolate, chopped

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

2 1/4 cups caster sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position, heat oven to 325°F. Line a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil.
  • Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray. Beat cream cheese and butter till light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in egg. Mix in one tablespoon flour.

  • Spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant for about 5-8 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of almost-simmering water.

  • Stir occasionally, until smooth. When mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan.
  • Gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until well combined.
  • Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions until the batter is smooth and homogeneous.

  • Transfer half of batter to prepared pan. Spread batter into corners of pan and smooth the surface.
  • Pour cream cheese mixture over, then second half of brownie batter. Swirl with the tip of a knife.
  • Sprinkle toasted nuts evenly over batter. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, being careful not to overcook.

  • A toothpick inserted into the center of brownies should come out with few moist crumbs attached.
  • Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove from pan by lifting overhang.
  • Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. Store them in airtight container at room temperature.

 Cream Cheese Brownies by Smitten Kitchen

In case you guys are not aware, there’s a relatively new shop in Garden Village, Curepipe you can get your baking supplies from. La Boutique Gourmande, open since January 2016, stocks everything for experimental and experienced bakers alike. They have very cute cupcake paper liners and I could not help getting a sample of every colour and size for my future cupcake projects. To get started, I made my favourite butter cake into a batch of cupcakes dotted with bits of glace cherries and marzipan cubes, with a generous handful of almond flakes scattered over the top. I have a feeling that you’ll be seeing many more cupcake recipes on this blog till I run out of these gorgeous muffin cups.

CHERRY & MARZIPAN CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

200 g butter, softened

200 g cater sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

200 g self raising sugar

200 g glace cherries, chopped

100 g ground almond

2-3 drops almond extract

250 g marzipan, chopped

50 g almonds flakes

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly butter and flour a 12-hole muffin tin or line tin with paper cases.

  • Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Pour in the eggs a little at a time and beat well.

  • Mix in flour one third at a time. Fold in cherries, flour, almond extract and marzipan till evenly mixed.

  • Fill the muffin tin with mixture and scatter the almonds flakes on top. Bake them for about 35 minutes.

  • A skewer inserted in the centre of the cakes should come out clean. Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes.

  • Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Before serving, dust cakes generously with icing sugar.

Recipe from My Kitchen Treasures

As the new moon has been sighted today, all Muslims households are busy adding finishing touches here and there for tomorrow’s grand celebration, Eid-Ul-Fitr. Though I’ll be working [on call] on this festive occasion, I would like to share this traditional recipe from Pakistan before I log off and get ready for my 31-hour shift. Zarda, a sweet dish – popularly served during Eid, weddings and large gatherings- is made by cooking long grain rice with saffron or food coloring until it turns to a rich golden yellow hue. The mixture is then combined with hot sugar syrup and topped with raisins, almond flakes, pistachios, cashew nuts, candied fruit peel or crumbled khoya before serving. The following recipe, from Fatima Cooks, makes enough for a large family of 8 to 10 people but I guess you’ll need to double the ratio as everyone will probably be asking for second helpings for dessert.

ZARDA

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups basmati rice

5 green cardamom pods

1 teaspoon yellow food coloring

1/4 cup chopped nuts

1/4 cup raisins or sultanas

1 tablespoon pure ghee

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

Method:

  • Wash and drain rice till the water no longer runs cloudy. Then, soak rice in water for at least 30 minutes.

  • In a large pan, add rice, cardamom pods, food coloring, ghee and enough water to cover everything well.

  • Bring everything to a boil. In a separate pan, add chopped nuts and raisins with 1tsp sugar and 1tsp ghee.

  • Heat this on medium heat, stirring often to roast the nuts well. Keep this roasting until they are needed.

  • Once the rice is 80% done, drain everything into a colander. Now start layering the Zarda as for Biryani.

  • First, take 1/3 of rice and layer it at the bottom of the pan. Add 1/3 sugar and 1/3 of the nuts and raisins.

  • Repeat layering till the rice, sugar, nuts and raisins are used up, ending with the nuts and raisins on top.

  • Cover the pot and turn the heat to the lowest setting possible. Allow the Zarda to steam for 20 minutes.

  • Once it is done, uncover pan and carefully stir the rice to mix in the sugar, preferably with slotted spoon.

  • Be careful not to break the rice. Leave to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving warm in small dessert cups.

Eid Mubarak

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