Cream cheese brownies with berry jam as a petit four

There is something about the cream cheese brownie that makes me hooked to it. Not only the dark chocolate, maybe the texture. It’s a sort of muddy creamy texture that makes one feels good.

If you love cream cheese brownies as much as I do, how about serving them as “petits fours”?

This is what I have done, I just added my home made berry jam (raspberries, strawberries and blakcurrants) into the cream cheese and I swirled it. I topped it with homemade cherry preserves (these were supposed to end up in a German Donawelle recipe but got preserved instead)..

The cream cheese brownie can be frozen and thawed when needed. It came in handy to complete the petits fours tray I made for my friend’s birthday..

Cream cheese brownie petits fours in the middle between financiers and choco ganache and salted caramel tartlets

So let’s get started

Ingredients
Adapted from Joyofbaking.com
Makes 16 small squares or 20 mini petits fours
Pre: 10 min- baking: 30 min- freezing/cooling: overnight


Brownie Layer

  • 115 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 110 g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 230 g granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 65 grams all purpose flour
  • A good pinch of salt

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 225 g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature (important
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Optional addition

  • Berry jam (made with 600g of berries and 200g of sugar, so it’s not too sweet)
  • Preserved cherries

Preparation

Brownies base
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan assisted oven or 180 degrees otherwise. Grease and cover a square baking pan (23 cm), I used a pyrex dish for that.
Melt butter and chocolate over a bain-marie (some do it in a microwave). Remove from heat, set aside.
Add in vanilla, salt, sugar and stir.
Add in the eggs while beating. I usually beat them lightly in a separate bowl and pour  them slowly. Beat all well to combine, just about 1 min.
Stir in the sifted flour until the batter is smooth and glossy, which should be for about a minute. 
Save the 1/3 of the mixture to use it for marbling later. Spread the rest evenly onto the bottom of the tin. 

Cream Cheese topping

In another bowl, make the cream cheese: beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, and egg and beat until creamy and smooth then stop because you don’t want too much air in this. 

Assembly and baking

Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the brownie layer.

Spoon the rest of the brownie mix in form of dollops of the top of the cream cheese (3 or 4 each line for 3 or 4 rows).

I also added the thick berry jam (I made 6 dollops of that)
Run a knife or wooden skewer back and forth through the two batters until you have a marble effect. 
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the brownies are set and the cream cheese is just beginning to brown. You can check by pricking the brownie part with a toothpick which should come out slightly clean with a bit of crumbs. 
Set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate the brownies until they are firm enough to cut into squares (several hours or even overnight). 
Once chilled, remove the brownies from the pan ans start cutting or shaping the way you fancy. You need a damp cloth to clean the knife everytime you use it to keep the cuts clean. I had to do the same with the cookie cutter to make the petits fours.
If you are making petits fours brownies like I did, you might need to push them with your thumb from the bottom so the cut comes out clean. ideally, this step needs to be done once the brownie is still cold.
Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with a cherry preserve at the last minute (optional).


Dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel tartlets


During the week, I was invited to a birthday evening dinner. Since I enjoy baking, I offered to bring the sweets. So this week, if my little baby allows me to (3 months and 1/2 by now), I’ll be able to post all the recipes of those yummy tartlets (and other things) you see on this tray 🙂

A selection of homemade petits fours

It’s almost impossible to find small sweet bites in Neustadt bakeries; The Germans are found of cakes but they’re generally huge to my”normal scale”. I actually need to start baking and posting some German cakes because the baking “repertoire” in this country is rich. There is a lot of interesting recipes to share with the rest of the world. I just have to scale the recipes down since we are only a couple with a newborn and most of the cake recipes I have serve between 12 and 24 persons!
But today, I’m sharing with you one of the recipes from this selection of petits fours. Let’s start with the dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel tartlets. They’re so good and indulging because they have some of those childhood things such as salted caramel (just like those rectangular caramels we used to buy when we were children), such as a sweet crusty dough and a chocolate topping.
I added some cubes of caramelized apples because some might find the caramel a bit “strong” but you might do without. Both versions are very nice.
These tartlets are very good for a buffet or a gathering. It’s easy to put together.

They can be made ahead. Every step can be also made days ahead and put together 24hrs ahead or the very last minute..
Before serving, bring the tartlets to room temperature to enjoy the chocolate ganache better.

Ingredients

Makes 24 mini-tartlets using mini muffi tins
Prep : 30 min (not counting the chilling time)– cooking: 20 min
Sweet pastry

  • 200 g of flour
  • 110g of butter in cubes
  • 1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 20 g of almond powder
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 40 g of fine sugar

Salted caramel : Caramel au beurre sale (About ¾ of a cup)

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp of salted butter or unsalted butter and a good pinch of fleur de sel
  • 10 cl of single cream (If you want it slightly runny, add more).

Dark chocolate ganache (about 1 cup)

  • 100 g of semi-dark chocolate (or 66%)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 100 g of single cream
Spiced caramelized apple

  • ½ medium apple, peeled and cut into cubes (I used pink gala
  • 2 tbsp of Demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • ½ tsp of caramelized ginger, grated
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon

Today’s tartlets are the ones at the edges of the tray (left and right)
Preparation
The sweet pastry
Mix the flour with salt, sugar and almond. Mix with fingers or a food processor until you get a crumbly texture.
Add the egg. Mix it in without overworking the dough.
Form a ball and flatten it with the palm of your hand over a cling film to make it easy to roll the dough later.
Cover with a cling film and keep in the fridge for 2 hours or in the freezer for about 30 min.
Caramel au beurre sale (About ¾ of a coup).
Melt the sugar over medium high heat until you get a nice caramel golden brown colour.
Take off the heat and add the butter. Stir and put the pan back on the ring.
Poor the cream and stir for about 1 min to have a nice smooth and golden brown cream. Set aside to cool.
Keep the cream caramel in a jar and store it in the fridge.
Before using it, take it out a few minutes beforehand, it makes it easier to spread this amazing sauce.
This caramel sauce can be kept about 2 weeks without problem.
Caramelized apple
Over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar and the apple cubes. Cook for about 5 min while stirring. Add the spices.
Cook until the apple cubes are cooked through and caramelized. Set aside to cool. I added 1 tbsp of water in case the apple cubes are sticking; just to loosen them a bit (just in case the preparation is gone too dry)
Dark chocolate ganache (about 1 cup)
Warm the chocolate and take it out of the heat just before it bubbles, Add the chocolate (in small pieces). Give it 1 min and start stirring from the centre towards the edges until you get a smooth shiny cream.
Cover with a cling film (au contact= the cling film should directly “touch” the cream) and set aside. Use it once cooled and thick.
Baking
Make the tartlet shells by rolling the dough thin and placing it in small mini muffin tins or tartlet tins. 
Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees C for about 10 min until nicely golden. Set aside to cool.
Assembly
Place about ½ tsp of caramel, then a small cube of caramelized apple. Pipe the ganache to finish.
Keep in the fridge but serve at room temperature (Ideally).

Stay tuned for all the recipes showed in the first picture and for Fondant fancies and berry mousse tartlets..

And this…


Part 3/3: Isa’s tartiflette on a Pizza crust..Pizza-flette

The next day after our evening meal with plenty of tartiflette, I was still looking for something very cheesy for the next meal. So the morning was all about pain au chocolat and a cheese tray (various local cheeses from Jura and FrancheComté).

We had lunch at 4 pm! late but considering that breakfast was at 10 am..Here is what Isa had come up with: a tartiflette on a pizza crust (store bought, for a quick fix)..

So here is a recipe guideline to make a Pizzaflette (don’t go and google it). Oh Yes I know; potatoes and pizza crust are all starchy but we won’t be picky, with all the cheeses involved, it’s no time to think about any form of dietary lessons!

The only sunne 2 hours we’ve had during that trip, just in time!

Ingredients
Serves 6 to 8 persons
Prep: 10 min- Cooking: 20 min

  • 1 Roll of pizza dough
  • Reblochon (or mild camembert)
  • Morbier cheese (or gorgonzola)
  • Grated mozzarella
  • Smoked bacon or pancetta
  • Parboiled potatoes
  • Pepper

 
Preparation

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C.

On a medium high heat, cook the diced bacon with a few drops of olive oil for 2 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel to drain any excess of fat.


Roll the pizza dough on a parchment paper and start with a layer of mozzarella, then potatoes (see the picture) and bacon Season with pepper.

Alternate between Morbier and Reblochon to form the last layer. then more mozzarella, season and straight to the oven


Bake until crust is cooked and the cheese forms a nice golden crust..



Serve warm.




Part 2/3: Isa’s French Tartiflette

It can’t get more French than that! a lot of good cheese, plenty of creme fraiche, lardon (we used Halal lardons made of turkey meat, a nice discovery that is found in France). I named La Tartiflette.

This recipe is loaded with cheese, good farm cheese, a pure comfort dish usually made during cold days, but it was cold and raining the day I had it (yes, in June!!).

Not a good picture but certainly a good hearty meal

Since I can’t say no to a good cheese, I indulged in it. We even had Tartiflette reloaded in the form of pizza the next day. My only regret: I had to avoid the slices with Morbier (I’m breast-feeding, but I’ll have my revenge once I’m done)..

Here is the recipe from Isabelle, my cousin’s wife, who happens to have a ceramic pot as a gift from her mother where the recipe happens to be printed inside (no worries, it’s certified stuff and we can bake in it). The ceramic pot was just a beautiful work of art.

Ingredients
Serve 6 to 8 persons
Prep: 20 min – Cooking:

  • 1.5 to 2 kg of potato, skin off
  • 500g of Reblochon cheese (special cheese for tartiflette called Reblochon fermier)
  • 4 yellow onions, medium size, sliced thin 
  • 200g bacon (original recipe with pork) or turkey bacon (for halal version), or pancetta OR smoked salmon
  • 3 tbsps creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • 2 tbsps of butter
  • Salt / pepper

Preparation

Peel the potatoes and cut them into strips about 5 mm to 1 cm thick. Place them in a pot or pan. Then cover with salted water and parboil them for about ten minutes watching cooking potatoes. Drain and leave at room temperature.


Chop the onions or slice them thin. Let them sweat in a pan with butter until golden and translucid. Add the smoked bacon, diced and cook for a coule of minutes before turning off the heat.  

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 ° C.
 
Take a deep pot/Pyrex that can go to oven, grease the boyyom with butter.

Start building Tartiflette: Divide the potatoes in 3. Then place the first volume at the bottom of the dish. Top with bacon, strips of cheese and 1tbsp cream. Do it alternatively for a couple times more. Seasonibg with pepper in between won’t be a bad idea.

Place the dish in the oven. Once Reblochon has melted and a nice goldencrust is formed, remove it from the oven and serve the dish ideally with a green salad.

Tartiflette everywhere…

Then go for a long walk, to help your body digesting..That’s comfort food at its best!