Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Raspberry Chambord Cheesecake Brownie Bites

I have a confession. On Saturday, I had my first blog post fail. I came up with the idea of these brownies. Dark chocolate brownies, with a raspberry chambord reduction and a cream cheese swirl. Except, I didn't want to bake them in a pan and cut them and inevitably end up with brownie crumbles, chunks and a mess. No, I wanted perfectly portioned individual brownie bites. Enter my "non-stick" mini muffin pan and a can of cooking spray.

The term non-stick clearly does not apply to brownies. Maybe there's some scientific reasoning for this? Too moist and dense perhaps? And, as I found out, not even the combination of a non-stick pan AND cooking spray will keep brownies from sticking to a mini muffin pan. So my plan to have perfectly portioned, beautiful mini brownie bites was ruined. Instead, I had mini brownies that could only be pried from the pan with a fork. Of course, this didn't stop me from eating the entire pan in one evening.

Mini muffin liners to the rescue. And of course, yet another pan of brownies for me to devour. I think my waistline is finally starting to catch up to my blog.

I chose to use a Ghiradelli brand dark chocolate brownie mix for these. I rarely make brownies from scratch because the boxed mixes are just so good. I honestly don't think I could ever find a from scratch brownie recipe that is as good as the Ghiradelli mix. Feel free to replace the brownie mix with your own homemade recipe if you have a thing against boxed mixes.

I also originally intended for this recipe to have a drizzle of Dark Chocolate Chambord Ganache. But, the raspberry cheesecake swirl was so pretty on top of the brownies that I didn't want to cover it up. I've included the recipe so you can choose whether or not to include it when you bake them.

Raspberry Chambord Cheesecake Brownie Bites
Makes 48 mini brownie bites

For the raspberry reduction:
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/4 cup chambord
1 tsp. sugar

For the brownies:
Your favorite boxed mixed, prepared as directed
Your favorite homemade recipe, prepared as directed

For the cheesecake filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache:
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbs. chambord

Preheat oven to 325. Place mini muffin liners inside a mini muffin tin.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine raspberries, chambord and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes until the mixture is reduced and thickened (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.

Prepare your brownie mix as directed and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine softened cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Using a small cookie scoop, fill the mini muffin liners about half way with the brownie mixture. Then, using a teaspoon, drop a scoop of cheesecake filling on top. Then, using another teaspoon, spoon a little raspberry filling on top of the cheesecake mixture.

Bake for 23-27 minutes.

For the chocolate ganache:

Chop your chocolate and place it into a medium sized bowl. In a saucepan, over medium, heat the heavy cream to a light boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate in the medium bowl. Whisk until smooth and stir in the chambord. Allow the ganache to cool before dipping the brownies into the mixture or spooning the mixture over the brownies.
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