Monday, April 4, 2011

Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies

I am a hazelnut fanatic. I love everything hazelnut. Creamer in my coffee, ice cream, any kind of candy or cookie with them in it, hazelnut bread, muffins, bagels, scones, tea, Frangelico, by the handful... I love to bake with hazelnut oil. It's kind of one of my favorite flavors! I thought it might be yummy and fun to mix hazelnuts into brownies. It was good BUT it was dry. Hmmm... enter cream cheese. Perfection!

Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 t fresh lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup finely ground roasted hazelnuts

1 cup semisweet chocolate
4 T butter
3⁄4 cup flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa
1⁄2 t baking powder
1⁄4 t salt
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts

For the filling: Put cream cheese and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add egg, lemon juice, and vanilla and continue beating until well mixed. Fold in hazelnuts with a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate. For the batter: Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and pale yellow, about 2 mins. Beat in melted chocolate mixture, then add flour mixture and continue beating until mixture is smooth. Fold in hazelnuts with a rubber spatula. Spread 1/2 the batter into a greased/floured 8" square pan. Spread filling over batter. Gently spread remaining batter over filling. Pull a rubber spatula through layers to marble. Bake about 40 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.