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Cream Cheese Brownies

This recipe comes from a cookbook made-to-order for chocoholics: "A Passion for Chocolate: Seductively Sweet Recipes to Melt Your Heart" by Better Homes and Gardens (Meredith Books; $16).

-- Suzanne Martinson

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped toasted macadamia nuts
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 recipe Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows)
32 whole macadamia nuts (optional)

Line a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Grease foil; set aside. In a large, heavy saucepan, cook and stir the chocolate and butter over low heat until chocolate is melted. (We did this in the microwave, watching closely so as not to scorch.) Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat 2 of the eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add the 1 1/4 cups sugar, the water and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla; beat about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and lemon-colored. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in the 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt and the 3/4 cup nuts. Spread half of the batter in prepared baking pan; set pan and remaining batter aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese (we used reduced fat cream cheese), the 2/3 cup sugar, the remaining 2 eggs, the 2 tablespoons flour, the lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over batter in pan. Spoon remaining batter evenly over cream cheese mixture. (This was hard to do.) Swirl batter with a knife to marble. (Our remaining chocolate batter was more like blobs, but we swirled as best we could.)

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Spread Chocolate Glaze over cooled brownies or, if desired, top each serving with a small amount of glaze and a whole macadamia nut. (We used all the glaze and the nuts.) Chill 1 hour or until glaze is set. (With the help of the foil, we lifted the brownies from the pan. It made cutting easier.)

Chocolate Glaze

In a small saucepan, cook and stir 1/3 cup whipping cream and 6 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate over low heat until the chocolate is melted. (We did this in the microwave at half power, stirring every minute or so, until melted. Watch closely, or it may scorch.)

Makes 32 brownies.

Sunday, March 25, 2001

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