Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Yes, Valentine's Day is coming up and whether you celebrate it with your sweetie or want to stab yourself in the heart... chocolate always helps.
Reg and I did not get any homemade Christmas treats this year because I was too damn sick to make any so... I am indulging lately to make up for our pathetic holiday. I decided to make Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen chocolate cheese brownies from her latest cookbook Cookin' for Trouble published by Random House of Canada. Reg has always been fascinated by the idea of chocolate cheese (me? not so much) so I made these for him.
To make a double boiler I put some water in a medium pan, brought it to a slight simmer and then put a stainless steel bowl on top. Just make sure the bowl does not touch the water.
I added 1 cup of unsalted butter and 1 cup chopped unsweetened dark chocolate. I let it sit until the melting started (like in the photograph) and then stirred until it all melted together. I put it aside and let it cool down a little.
While the chocolate/butter mixture was cooling, I put 2 cups of brown sugar and 3 eggs into a bowl and whisked together. Then I realized that in the list of ingredients (but not in the directions) it said it was supposed to be dark brown sugar. Crap! Oh well...
I whisked the melted chocolate and butter into the brown sugar and eggs... and hoped for the best.
I folded in 1 cup flour, 1/4 tsp sea salt and 1 cup toasted almonds (recipe says to use walnuts but I prefer almonds). I poured the mixture into a greased 9" x 13" baking dish.
In a large bowl I combined 1 cup of fresh room temperature goat cheese, 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar and 1 egg. I blended together with my hand mixer at low speed.
I globbed it on the top of the chocolate brownie layer and smoothed over the top with a palette knife.
I scored the surface into a pattern and baked in a preheated 350F oven for 40 minutes. That is exactly how long these brownies took to bake through.
Cool them on a rack. I managed to get the whole thing out and divided them up and froze big slices of them to enjoy later. This recipe makes a ton of brownies!
To make these for your sweetheart get out that heart-shaped cookie cutter and cut through the layers of the brownie to make a pretty dessert.
I have to admit that both Reg and I were at first completely shocked by these brownies. The goat cheese layer is so mega-strong! At first that was all I could taste and I am not one for mixing savoury and sweet together very often. I seriously had a hard time processing it.
Reg on the other hand, who was open to the idea of combining chocolate and cheese from the beginning, ended up loving the brownie by the time he was finished the first one. I had to ponder if for a couple of days, sample it with tea, without tea... to come to my conclusion.
If you like goat cheese, you will probably like, if not love, these brownies. If you hate goat cheese, you will despise them. I personally grew to really appreciate their complex and adult flavour. In the end I was thoroughly impressed with Nadia G's thinking out of the box which is good because I spent almost $7 on the cheese alone.
As a result of over-thinking and pondering, I give this recipe four and a half out of five wooden spoons. It is definitely not for everyone but if you are throwing an elegant foodie party and want a bit of traditional spiced with the unusual that will impress your guests, this is dessert for you.