Cream Cheese–Hazelnut Brownies
See SAVEUR's recommended Dessert Wines
MAKES 16 BROWNIES
To roast hazelnuts for this recipe (which we based on one favored by Oregon's Hazelnut Marketing Board), spread shelled nuts in a shallow pan and bake in a 275° oven for 20–30 minutes, or until the skins crack. Cool, then rub the hazelnuts with a rough cloth to remove skins.
FOR THE FILLING:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup finely ground roasted hazelnuts
FOR THE BATTER:
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
4 tbsp. butter
3⁄4 cup flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄4 tsp. salt
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts
1. 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 with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2. For the batter: Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
3. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.
4. 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 minutes. Beat in melted-chocolate mixture, then add flour mixture and continue beating until mixture is smooth. Fold in hazelnuts with a rubber spatula.
5. Spread half the batter into a greased and floured 8" square cake pan. Spread filling over batter. Gently spread remaining batter over filling. Pull a rubber spatula through layers to create a marbled effect. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into 2" squares.