While we were in Atlanta, we had plenty of sweets. There was the leftover mousse from Alex’s birthday parties, the mini cupcakes we bought at Whole Foods (a real treat for those of us who live in a town without any true bakery because while homemade might be better, those mini treats are awfully fun and no one has to agree), the breakfast and assorted goodies from the Highland Bakery. But nonetheless, as soon as I got home the first thing I really wanted to do was bake. It is amazing to me how much of my de-stressing takes place in the kitchen with a mixer and a scale in front of me.
So when I was catching up on my blog reading and came across these brownies at Use Real Butter, I knew I was going to make them. I love cream cheese brownies, and I love even more the idea of a recipe that has been tried and tested for baking in individual cups.
This recipe did not disappoint. I should explain that while I was trying to decide if the recipe would make enough batter for a standard muffin tin (and I am still not sure), I decided to double the recipe and also make mini cupcakes (and also I decided right there to send a lot to John’s work) so I could compare the mini and standard cupcakes. As a result, I am not 100% if the 2 pans hold the same amount of batter, i.e., if a single batch of these brownies fits either of these pans perfectly. What I do know is this: both brownies were awesome, and the mini cupcakes were so cute, delectable, better for the waistline, etc., that next time I would make the mini cupcakes and just be prepared to dump extra batter into mini loaf pans if necessary. Mini loaf pans are an absolute workhorse in my kitchen for this reason. Let me know if you try a single batch in either size of tin.
Your feelings for which you prefer might also depend on the shape of your mini muffin tin–my mini muffin wells are wider and flatter (Chicago Metallic), thus giving each cupcake a greater ratio of cream cheese to chocolate, as you might be able to tell from the pictures. And I really like a prominent cream cheese topping.
Nibby Cream Cheese Brownie Cupcakes
Adapted from Use Real Butter
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Scharffen Berger 62%)
5 T unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided
3 eggs, room temperature1/2 cup + 1 T AP flour, divided
1 1/2 t vanilla, divided
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup cacao nibs
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Butter your muffin tins–the standard size tins were more likely to stick, so butter them extra well. I doubled this recipe and used a mini muffin tin and a standard muffin tin–I am uncertain how much each tin holds, so I am not sure if a single batch of this recipe will perfectly fit either tin. My advice is to just go for it–and be prepared to either fill some muffin wells with water or bake a few mini loafs in addition.
Melt the chocolate and 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave at 50% power in 30 second intervals. Whisk smooth when it is melted. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the cream cheese. Gradually add in 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until fluffy. Blend in one egg, a tablespoon of flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat two eggs until they are light colored and slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until the mixture thickens. Add the baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup of flour. Blend in the chocolate mixture and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Fold in the cacao nibs.
Dollop chocolate batter into each muffin well, aiming to use between 1/2 and 2/3 of the chocolate batter. Gently shake the pan to even out the batter and then divide the cream cheese batter between the muffin wells, again gently shaking the pan to spread the cream cheese batter evenly over the chocolate batter. (The batter will nearly fill the muffin wells.) Spoon the remaining chocolate over the tops and run a knife or toothpick through the batter to marble it–I found the chocolate batter to be much thicker than the cream cheese batter, and hence the marbling was not so easy, but do not worry about it as it will all look ok in the end. Bake for 20 minutes (or so) for a standard size muffin tin and 12-15 minutes for a mini muffin tin–be sure to use your nose and a toothpick test (when the toothpick comes out clean) as well. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then gently pry out of the pan to cool on a cooling rack.