I more or less followed Duncan Hines' cream cheese brownie recipe, adding in oreos to the brownie batter.
- 1 box Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownie mix (batter prepared with 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup water, & 1 egg as per package)
- 15 oreos (broken up)
- 250-g package of cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
I started by preparing the brownie mix in a mixing bowl as per the package instructions. I put 15 oreos into a plastic bag and used a knife handle to break them up into coarse pieces, which I stirred into the brownie batter.
In a second mixing bowl I creamed together the cream cheese, white sugar, and egg. As I didn't have an electric mixer or whisk, I just used a spoon to whisk them together, which resulted in a tired hand and a slightly lumpy mixture (good 'nuff).
I poured two thirds of the brownie batter into an aluminum foil-lined 8''x8'' glass baking dish (though next time I'll use a metal baking dish for hopefully more even baking!). I poured the cream cheese layer on next, then topped it with the remaining brownie batter. I used a knife to create swirls in the mixture.
I baked the brownies at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Though it's hard to judge when brownies are done, when the centre of the pan stops jiggling (or maybe just jiggles a bit) when shaken gently from side to side, it's probably just the right time to take them out. What I should have done in addition to the jiggle test was stick a toothpick or fork into the centre to make sure it came out free of wet batter...
Instead I went ahead and cooled my brownies for a couple of hours, only to realize when I sliced them that the centre of the pan was completely uncooked :( I decided to try to salvage them by re-baking on a cookie sheet, at 350 degrees F, with the aluminum foil folded up around the edges to protect the already baked areas from overcooking. I figured another 10 minutes would do the trick, but boy was I wrong. It took another 30 minutes of baking before wet batter stopped seeping from the cuts I'd made between the brownies.
When the brownies were (re)baked, I put them back in their original pan to cool, to hold them in their original shape. As it was suggested to chill these brownies in the fridge or freezer before slicing them, I put them out on the balcony for a stint in our natural freezer (Oh Canada), then (re)sliced them up.
Well, I've got to say that this recipe showed a lot of promise (brownies, good; oreos, good; cream cheese, goooood), but unfortunately my baking mishap prevented these brownies from fulfilling their potential. I was disappointed that not only could I not identify the oreos, the decadent layer of cream cheese topping had all but disappeared (probably some overzealous swirling mixed a fair bit of it into the brownie batter).
The prospect of creating something amazing with brownies, oreos, and cream cheese will most likely entice me to try this recipe again sometime. The next time around I'll know to: 1) leave the oreos in larger chunks, 2) use a metal pan for more even baking, 3) swirl less, so as to keep the cream cheese layer more separate from the brownie layer, and 4) use a toothpick or fork to check the centre of the brownies for done-ness.
Though I strongly contemplated it, I decided not to bring my salvaged brownies along to the Christmas party, and so have the batch in my freezer, for the occasional (...or daily) treat -- which tastes delicious straight out of the freezer!
I'd love to hear any suggestions for how long to bake cream cheese brownies!