April Showers bring May Migraines – and Cold War Brownies
Oh, my gosh. What makes these Cold War brownies?
Maybe it’s like this. There’s cream cheese, yeah? It’s tangy and dominant. It likes to ripple through everything. Cause hey. Cream cheese will make it taste better. Cream cheese is good for you. Cream cheese demands to get its way. (It’s the US, okay?)
Then there’s the chili powder. You don’t really notice how much ammunition it’s got until you take the first bite. Then you feel it, in the back of your mouth. It’s got a bit of heat, and it wants to be there. (Clearly the USSR!)
And the nutella. You’re not entirely sure what it’s doing there. It’s a bit of a surprise, a shock. You don’t want to underestimate it, and yet, you can’t help wonder what business nutella has in your brownie. (Obviously Cuba.)
And it’s like… They’re all together, on the playing field. (Brownie = earth.) They’re marbled together, but can’t possibly mix. In your mouth, you can’t decide which flavor wins. It’s too much wonderfulness to handle.
Alternatively, maybe it’s because, as my friend G- put it, they’re bomb. !!! I know. Not funny. Sorry.
…Orrrrrrr, maybe they’re Cold War Brownies because I (sort of) studied and baked at the same time. You decide.
No matter what, they’ll make a pack of exhausted, brain dead juniors smile again.
Yes, I confess. I came home from school, like I always do, already tired. This week I have a test every single day. Two tests on Thursday. Each test is at least two hours long. Today took three. We had to stay past the end of school, past the end of tutorial, writing 3 essays and answering short answers. About history (partly, the Cold War.) We write another 3 essays tomorrow.
Yesterday? Yesterday was English. Two hours of essay writing. I don’t ever want to analyze diction, syntax, or onomatopoeia ever again. (Until Thursday and next Monday, whoops!)
And the rest doesn’t get much better. Calculus on Thursday and Friday, US government, biology, and two days of French.
So who can blame me for coming home and not being in the mood to study? Besides, it didn’t take long to make these.
Jeez, I sound like a big complainer. Sorry. Despite everything, I’m happy. I know that testing will be done when May ends, and it won’t be the end of the world. When I’m done testing, it’ll be summer!
These brownies just sort of came together. Originally my break consisted of a slice of cinnamon bread and 15 minutes to check my favorite food blogs. I was browsing David Lebowitz’s archives and came across cheesecake brownies.
As I was making them, I got a bit of inspiration. I threw cinnamon and chili powder into the brownie batter and added cinnamon to the cream cheese too. Just as I was about to marble – what the heck – I added a few dollops of Nutella. Because my friends deserve it. ;)
These brownies are thick, chocolatey, and intense. They beg for milk. They were best straight out of the oven, all gooey and warm, or after a day in the fridge, when they became fudgy and the flavors more distinct. These brownies are comfort food, not that sophisticated. Some more refined tastes might argue they were too sweet, or contained too many flavors. You could leave out the nutella in that case. But me, I needed these brownies. Exactly how they are.
Cold War Brownies
Adapted from David Lebowitz
Makes a 9″ pan
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
Rounded 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp Nutella
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9″ pan with foil, allowing it to hang over the edges. Lightly grease.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate together. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, then the eggs. Add the flour, cocoa, chili powder, cinnamon, and salt and mix in. Finally, stir in the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.
In a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and cinnamon. Drop dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownies. Drop dollops of nutella, too. Use a dull knife to swirl the whole thing. (Alternatively, mix the nutella into half of the cream cheese mixture and swirl. Or leave the nutella out.)
Bake 35 minutes, or until just set. Let cool completely before lifting out and cutting into bars. Store in the fridge.
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