Craving in Overdrive: Oreo Cheesecake Brownies
In particular, since starting the chocolate craving study at work, I have never wanted chocolate more. There are hundreds of little individual chocolates all around me all day long, and I cannot eat a single one of them. Last week I couldn't take it any longer, and I needed to bake something. Something very much chocolate.
After seeing all the inspired entries for last month's Browniebabe, a new monthly hosted by Myriam of Once Upon A Tart, there are no shortage of recipes I want to try. But I figured as long as I was baking, I might as well blog it too and join in the fun.
There's a standard brownie recipe I almost always use: I like it, it works, and I've never branched out too much after finding it. Eight ounces chocolate, two cups sugar, two sticks butter, six eggs - no wonder it's good enough to keep coming back to. But perhaps due to discovering recently that oreos in milk taste good (yes! crazy, I know), I had oreos on the brain, and started thinking about putting them in the brownie.
It turns out like so many great ideas, many people have done this before. And I appreciate their efforts, but was kind of disappointed that my great original idea wasn't really all that original. But then while idly clicking on images, I came across a description of an oreo brownie and a picture so pretty I didn't just want chocolate, or a brownie, or even an oreo anymore, I wanted that oreo brownie. Go look. You'll see what I mean.
I could not find a recipe for that brownie, and would not be satisfied with anything less - so I made one. It has chocolate in gobs: dark chocolate too, and tons of oreos. Nestled in between the chocolate layers is a thin layer of cream cheese cheesecake mixture, to add excitement and a different texture. It satisfies cravings for chocolate, brownies, oreos, and the baking bug, all in one pan. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
OREO CHEESECAKE BROWNIES
adapted from Good Housekeeping's classic brownies and the Betty Crocker Cookie Book
1 c butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used a 70%; the brownies are also good with a semisweet if dark's not your thing)
2 1/4 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt (I still like vanilla salt for baking)
1 1/4 c flour
14 oz cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 -1/2 c sugar (I used the lower amt)
1 T flour
Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 9x13 baking pan.
In a measuring cup or large bowl, crush the oreos - I found stomping them with the end of a wooden spoon worked pretty well, just don't reduce them all to bits - to a consistency of your liking. You should have about 2 1/2 cups. Set aside.
For the brownies: In a 3-4 qt saucepan over low heat, melt together the butter and the chocolate, stirring every so often that it doesn't stick or burn. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool until just over warm, about 5-7 minutes.
Whisk in the sugar, then beat in the eggs two at a time and stir until well blended. Stir in the vanilla and the salt. Fold in the flour until just blended. Stir in 1 cup of the crushed oreos.
For the cheesecake: In a mixer bowl or using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium high until lightened and smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla, sugar, and flour and stir until smooth, making sure there are no lumps.
Assembly: Pour about half the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Gently spoon and smooth the entire cheesecake layer over the brownie batter. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake layer and carefully smooth it out so the layers remain distinct. Once the top is even, sprinkle the remaining crushed oreos over the batter.
Bake in the 350 oven for 45-55 minutes (cover the pan with foil if it seems like cookies are burning), or until a tester comes out almost fully clean. Cool fully in the pan and cut. Store brownies at room temperature; if keeping for longer than one-two days store brownies covered in the refrigerator. Because of the cheesecake layer, I like these best at room temperature or even from the fridge, when both layers get firm and the cream cheese taste is heightened.