Two brownies, something old something new

Friends from my US time came down for a visit after nearly 5 years.  Huge changes.  They had two kids 3.5 and 1.5 and I had added one more to my brood.  We all felt we hadn't changed much since our graduate school days in the US -  a few grey hairs we didn't have before, otherwise we look and feel pretty much the same.
We caught up with other friends who had settled back in India and stayed up very late - 12.30 not 2 unlike our US days - and assured each other we had all remained much like we were in the halcyon days of graduate school.  Except, our conversations are peppered with parenting challenges, daycare/nanny/school issues, worries about the amount of time our kids spent reading/playing with gadgets etc...
My US settled friends seemed a bit shocked by the expanse of corruption in India.  Were we just more shielded from the sordidness of Indian politics before, less attentive to news, or is the situation a lot worse now than the late nineties?  I don't know and I have decided to adapt a struthious attitude and focus on my life and my worries however mundane. After all, if I cannot make a newspaper dependent on the subscription of many like me respond, what chance do I have with bureaucrats and politicians?
We met up at a friends house in Mylapore, a 55 year old bungalow close to Luz Corner.  She was making dinner and I decided to bring dessert. Two different brownies, one dark and laced with coffee, the other milder and laced with cream cheese.  I was worried only my family would prefer the intense brownies, the others, kids especially, may prefer a less intense experience; I hate to have too little food when company is around, I would rather make too much and store the reminder in the fridge. So, two brownies it was.
Mocha Kahlua Brownie is adapted from Greystone bakery cook book.  My copy has been with me for 14 years, I keep misplacing it and hunting for the book everytime I want to make these brownies; somehow my mind doesn't seem to register the complete recipe.  This recipe is as much for my own edification as for sharing with you all.
Nilgiris stocks a 45% cocoa dark chocolate by Morde, available in 500g slabs, each slab had 4 segments, so each segment is 125g.  Now, foodie blogs talk of 60 - 65% cocoa, but at 220 Rs, Morde is expensive enough, I refuse to pay 250Rs for a 150 g european bar.  My solution is to replace some of the 8 oz of chocolate this brownie demands with cocoa powder.  I have made it with full dark chocolate, but this substitution offers a chocolate flavour which stands up better against the domineering coffee.  I also love to use Kahlua whenever I have it in stock, instead of espresso powder.
Mocha Kahlua Brownie
  1. 190 g dark chocolate coarsely chopped (I use 1.5 segments, so 187.5g to be close to precise)
  2. 75 g butter (I use 1/4 + 1/8 of a 200g rectangle of amul or nilgiri butter)
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 1 tbsp kahlua or 2 tsp bru dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
  7. 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida)
  8. 1/8 cup cocoa
  9. 1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts (pistachos or almonds or walnuts or mix of all 3)
Butter a 8"/9" round or square pan.
Melt chocolate and butter over a water bath (water simmering, NOT touching the chocolate bowl) until nice and shiny.  Let cool.

Preheat oven to 175 deg C
Beat eggs and sugar until light and lemon coloured and the beater leaves a ribbon when lifted off the mix.
Picture after I packed 2/3rd of the brownies to take away
Gently stir in the coffee/Kahlua and the vanilla extract.
Pour in the cooled dark chocolate and mix in gently.
Sieve the flour and cocoa into this mix, 1/3 qty at a time and fold it gently.
Stir in the chopped nuts.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 25 - 30 min until a toothpick inserted at the center has just a few crumbs sticking to it, not wet liquid.
Cool in pan, divide into squares and serve.

This brownie doesn't need any icing.  You may choose to be decadent and scatter a scant 1/2 cup chocolate chips (semisweet) over the brownie mix in the pan before baking.  Don't mix it in, just leave on top.
I didn't do the chips this time around.

This the first time I am attempting a brownie different from the usual recipe in a long long while. I son finds it sacrilegious to mess with the mocha kahlua brownie.
The cheesecake version I tried is from David Lebovitz.  I find his recipes fool proof usually.

I used a standard dinner plate instead of the usual square baking pan since my only cake pan was already in the oven, holding the mocha kahlua.  I just buttered the stainless steel plate, leaving out the parchment paper/ aluminum foil.  My cheap/eco-friendly baking tip.  I am a home cook, having a less than perfect base (assuming that is what the pan lining contributes to the baking) is not much of an issue; We don't plate up, preferring to attack the baked goodies as it cools in the pan.  If I ever find a recipe where not lining the pan seriously compromises the flavour or appearance, I will blog about it.

Marbled Cheesecake Brownie
  1. 125 g dark chocolate (1 segment)
  2. 75 g butter (1/4 + 1/8 of a 200g bar)
  3. 2/3 cup sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida)
  7. 1 tbspoon cocoa

  1. 12 pieces of happy cow creamy cheese.
  2. 1 egg yolk
  3. 5 tbspoon sugar
140 g of this austrian brand is 99Rs, 2/3rd the philadelphia variety.

Melt the butter and sugar in a water bath.
Beat in the sugar
Beat in the eggs 1 at a time
Stir in the vanilla essence
Sieve the flour and cocoa over this mix and fold in gently
Pour into a well buttered pan of 8" dia/side

Preheat oven to 175 deg C
In another bowl, beat the cream cheesem yolk and sugar until well blended.

Drop in dollops over the dark brownie mix

Drop 1/2 cup chocolate chips over the cream chesse dollops

Stir in with a butter knife

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until center looks set.
colours got muddied :( but awesome flavour

Cool and serve, cut into squares,

This brownie tastes a tad salty fresh off the oven, develops a dreamy creamy chocolaty flavour the next day, not at all salty 3 hours after baking..
Still, next time, I want to try a white chocolate brownie to mix in with the dark chocolate.
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