Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dark Chocolate Nutella Cheesecake Brownies

Well longtime no talk! I apologize for my absence. Grad school had been kicking my a** and I have been spending pretty much any time that I'm not working, studying or reading trying to unwind. Although I've been busy, life has been great, except for all this snow. I've had about all I can take at this point. I've started painting my nails hot pink again to hopefully usher in spring. Or it really just makes me happy to look at something bright when the weather is so dreary.

Full disclosure: the lighting in these pictures is not optimal. My kitchen overhead light has been broken for 3 weeks and my landlord has still not done anything about it. I did the best I could using what little natural light I could get from the windows, but I apologize in advance.

Like everyone else between the holidays and summer picnic season, I'm trying to eat well, but sometimes a girl needs some chocolate. I'll try to post some of those healthier recipes at some point, but for today, there is nothing healthy about these beauties.

I recently rediscovered my love for Nutella. This was induced by a local breakfast joint that offers Nutella-Stuffed French Toast that was out of this world. And since the internet loves Nutella, I searched Pinterest for Nutella recipes. I found this recipe for Flourless Nutella Cheesecake Brownies. I loved the idea, and happened to have all of the ingredients in the house already, but since I already have a favorite brownie recipe, I combined the two, making some alterations and the results were amazing.

I reduced the amount of sugar in the brownie recipe because the Nutella is so sweet. I also used dark chocolate powder and added some instant coffee grounds to round out the chocolate flavor. I hope you enjoy these little bits of heaven like I did!

Dark Chocolate Nutella Cheesecake Brownies

For Cheesecake Swirl
4 oz cream cheese (light or regular), softened
1 egg yolk (save the white for the Nutella swirl)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

For Nutella Swirl
1/4 cup Nutella
1 egg white

For Brownies
1 stick of melted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 
2. Cheesecake Swirl: beat together softened cream cheese, egg yolk, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
3. Nutella Swirl: beat together Nutella and egg white.
4. Brownies: Beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, cocoa, coffee, and salt. Sift in flour. Pour into an 13 x 9 greased  brownie pan. 
5. Drop small spoonfuls of cheesecake mixture and Nutella mixture into brownie batter. Swirl with a butter knife. Do not over-swirl.
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.

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