Brownie Cream Cheese Bites
These mini cupcakes add a delicious burst of fudgy flavor and a playful element to the usual holiday cookie assortment.
For the brownies:
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. table salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5-3/4 oz. (1-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
For the cream cheese topping:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350°F and line three one-dozen capacity (five if you have them) mini muffin tins with foil or paper liners.
Make the brownie batter:
Combine the butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over simmering water or in a microwave and heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth. Set aside.
With a stand mixer (use the whisk attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the eggs and salt in a large bowl on medium speed until very foamy, about 2 minutes. Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar. Beat until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. With a large rubber spatula, scrape the chocolate mixture into the eggs, add the vanilla, and fold until the two mixtures are just barely incorporated. Add the flour and continue folding until just incorporated. Scrape the batter into a 1-gallon heavy-duty zip-top bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal.
Make the cream cheese topping:
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolk and mix until blended. Pour in the chips and mix until blended. Scrape into a 1-quart zip-top bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal.
Assemble and bake:
Snip off 1/2 inch from one corner of each bag. Fill each lined muffin cup about two-thirds full with the brownie batter and then top with about 1 tsp. of the cream cheese mixture.
Bake the three trays in the center of the oven until the brownies are puffed and a pick inserted in the brownie comes out just barely clean, about 20 minutes. Let the brownies cool in trays on racks for 5 minutes before carefully lifting the liners out of the tins and transferring them to racks to cool completely. Be sure the tins are completely cool before lining and filling them with the remaining batters.
Store at room temperature or freeze in an airtight container, separating the layers with waxed paper.
Photo: Scott Phillips
I make this recipe most years and everyone enjoys eating the results. I'm still learning how to do it well, though. I have found if I fill each mini-muffin cup two-thirds full, there isn't enough batter for 5 dozen. I'm clumsy with the plastic bag, so I've finally found my best method is to use my Kuhn-Rikon cookie press with the #8 tip to pipe the brownie batter into each cup, filling it about halfway. It works well to start in the center, then spiral out so that there's a bit of a well for the cream cheese filling. Again, I find that a full teaspoon of filling per muffin won't go all the way around. I haven't yet found a great alternative to the plastic bag for adding the filling, but have observed that neatness at this point does make a difference in the final appearance. Also I'm still not entirely sure where to insert the toothpick: into brownie only, or into the true center of each cup? This year I'm judging by the brownie part only, because I don't like them overdone. Hope this helps first timers (make them any which way, you'll be glad you did). I would love to hear from anyone who has any tips on techniques apart from those given in the recipe. Thanks!
We love these!! They're delicious, easy, make a bunch and hold for several days at room temp.
These have become a staple on my Christmas cookie plate. They are a nice change from just sugar cookies and fudge. They freeze beautifully. The brownie part is chewy and choclatey and the cream cheese party is rich and creamy. It's a delicious combination.