Cream Cheese–Hazelnut Brownies

See the RecipeChristopher Hirsheimer

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.

Cream Cheese–Hazelnut Brownies
These chewy brownies have a slightly tangy filling to offset the rich chocolate.
Yield: makes 16

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 14 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 12 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 14 cup finely ground roasted hazelnuts

FOR THE BATTER:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 34 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 12 tsp. baking powder
  • 14 tsp. salt
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 12 cup coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts

Instructions

  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.