January 5, 2010

Grandma Growette's Philly Marble Brownies

My Grandma Grow was an awesome baker, and when you went over to her house she ALWAYS had cookies, bars, brownies and/or candy to eat. She also always had dog treats, even though she didn't own a dog...but that is just how sweet she was! And totally off subject. Anyway, she used to send my brother and I home with tins full of her homemade goodies. My favorite of her sweet treats was always her cream cheese brownies...I love brownies anyway, but these ones have a top layer of delicious cream cheese goodness just to push things over the edge. After she died that was the only recipe of hers that I wanted because they gave me such good memories and I had never seen a brownie recipe like it. When I finally got that recipe I cried, because she had hand written in the corner of the recipe card that I liked them, just so she would remember and make them for me when I came home. And I'm crying now because I miss her so much. .............Deep breath...............  
Ok...for Christmas Steve's mom knit me a beautiful hat and scarf in my favorite color (red, if you were wondering), and I wanted to reciprocate with something heartfelt and homemade since they have been so supportive and sweet to me. I ordered her a customized cake pan because she LOVES to bake, and I decided to fill it with a batch of Grandma's brownies because I figured she would appreciate them (and there is no way that I can hold a candle to Judy's baking, so I didn't want to embarrass myself with something too complicated). I also made an extra pan of brownies for my brother because I figured that he probably missed them (and Grandma) as much as I did. 
So, I dug out my Grandma's recipe, only to find that Grandma cheated! She totally used a BOX of brownie mix for the bottom part of the bars! I laughed my ass off, then I found a homemade brownie recipe for the bottom part, and just used Grandma's recipe for the top part (with the cream cheese). But they turned out very much like the one's Grandma used to make (but of course not quite as good).

This is me melting my unsweetened chocolate with unsalted butter. This was the first time I had ever used my double boiler! 

I am going to apologize for my terrible photography. I'm doing this at night in my poorly lit kitchen with my point and shoot. Cut me some slack. But even in this crappy photo you can see the melty-yumminess of it all.

The pans with just the bottom brownie layer in them...

And with the cream cheese topping, swirled through the brownie part to give it a marbled effect!

Grandma's original (and obviously well worn!) recipe. I realize that you probably can't read this, but basically all you do is make your favorite brownie recipe (or buy it in the box!) and pour it into a greased baking sheet. Beat one 8 oz package of softened Philly cream cheese with 1/3 cup of white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I used one whole teaspoon because I love vanilla), and one egg until it's creamy and smooth. Then  you pour it over top of the brownie mixture, and take a knife or a wooden skewer and make swirls or cuts in the top to make it look marbled (but don't mix it together - you want a separate layers). Then bake it in a 325 degree oven for 25 minutes or until the sides of the brownies pull away from the sides of the pan and the top gets golden (mine took longer than 25 minutes, but I made a double batch and put it in one big pan and one little one). Also, before you put it in the oven you can sprinkle it with chocolate chips. This is what Grandma used to do. By the time I got done adding all the butter and the sugar, I didn't have it in me to also add chocolate chips. This is yet another reason why I shouldn't bake - it is much better when you have no idea what goes into it! 
Either way, they turned out delectable. I didn't keep any for myself, but I made Lyndi cut into them pretty much immediately after I gave them to Cal and I was not disappointed. Try them the next time you crave something sweet and think of Grandma Grow!

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