Some days, I feel like this . . .
But other days, I feel like this . . .
After being at the grocery store for almost two hours (lotsa mouths to feed . . . ), I stared directly at the cream cheese for a good 15 seconds, and even said to it, “I feel like I need you for something . . . but probably not. You’re not on my list-see ya.” It wasn’t until I got home and was popping the first batch of brownie-cookies when I realized what I had done.
Luckily, I had bought a bag of raw almonds, so I went with a raw-vegan version of cream cheese for this recipe.
“How does that even work?” you are asking yourself?
Patience, my dear padawan (direct “Star Wars” quote; who doesn’t love a little “Star Wars?” And that Han Solo . . . yes, please).
5 oz (140 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 Tbsp, plus 1 tsp. cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks (optional)
Preheat over to 350 degrees/ gas mark 4 and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with baking parchment, and set aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, mix together the sugars, cocoa, and melted chocolate mixture. Next, mix in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, stir in the flour, salt, and chocolate chips (if using). The mixture should be thick enough to place a dollop on a cookie sheet and have to spread it around to even it out. If it is too thick, add a bit of vegetable oil; if it is too thin, add a touch more flour and cocoa. Place the mixture 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until they are matte in color on top. They should be firm, but still have the feel of a chewy cookie (don’t worry-they will firm up when they are cooling). After a few minutes, move to a cooling rack until they are room temperature.
This is the original recipe for the filling:
2-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1-8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
Mix all ingredients together until they are smooth.
The vegan option I used for the filling:
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3-4 pinches sea salt
1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped into small bits.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until it has a creamy, cheese-like consistency and texture. When it reaches this stage, move to a small bowl. Thoroughly chop a fourth of a pineapple and stir into cheese mixture. Place into fridge until ready to use.
A handful of strawberries *
Crushed walnuts (or almonds, or whatever you prefer!)
Thinly slice the fruit, about 1/2 – 3/4 cm thick.
*I used these fruits cause there are some of my favorite fruits, and it’s what I had on hand. If you have another favorite, or you are in a location where something else is more readily available, go for it! Use your imagination 🙂
“News team . . . ASSEMBLE!!!” (Ron Burgundy, Anchorman)
Arrange fruit on top as you wish. Top with nuts and chocolate shavings. Serve immediately, or place in fridge until serving. Note: don’t assemble too far ahead of time, because the mixture and fruit will make the brownie soggy and too bendy to be able to pick up. You can do each individual step ahead of time (make brownies, make cheese mixture, slice fruit), but after assembled your little delicacy won’t last over a day. Just warning you. 🙂