Of course, I go and start a food blog and then immediately get sick and don’t want to cook. My taste buds are all off, and my appetite is almost non-existent. However, I feel I should post something, so I pulled one of these brownies out of my freezer.
These brownies, a wonderful fruit and nut and cream cheese concoction, were dreamed up during finals. You see, when I am stressed, I need to bake. My first batch of brownies, from a Ghirardelli box mix, was okay, but not great. Then, a couple days later, as I was wandering around the CVS waiting to pick up a prescription, I happened to see my favorite chocolate bar of all time, the Cadbury Fruit & Nut. These bars were special finds during my days in Saint Petersburg; I only knew one store that regularly sold the dark chocolate variety, and they did not always have them, so buying one was always a real treat. I would eat a few squares on the walk home, and then put it in the pantry for later, but it never lasted long. Unfortunately, CVS, like all American retailers, only had it in milk chocolate (I really don’t like milk chocolate), so I didn’t buy one, but it inspired me to bake these gems.
Note: The Fruit & Nut chocolate bar only contains raisins and almonds. I added the cranberries and blueberries for variety. The cream cheese was added on a whim. I read a number of other recipes for brownies that involved cream cheese, all of which wanted me to make a cheesecake-like mixture. I decided to leave it plain, and I am happy with my decision.
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, melted
- 3 cups white sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder.)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 4 oz (1/2 regular bar) cream cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a 9×13 inch pan.
- In a large bowl, blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.
- Add the flour, cocoa, and salt and mix until smooth. Fold in raisins, almonds, cranberries, blueberries, and chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and drop onto the top of the batter. (This is messy but fun.)
- Bake for 40 minutes, or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let brownies cool, then cut into squares. If you put the brownie pan on top of a wire rack, it will cool faster. (I only learned this recently, so I am telling everyone.)
I personally love these. My mother and friend were surprised by the flavor combination, but liked them, also. My boyfriend, Ian, refuses to try them, because “fruit and cheese has no business in a brownie.” Well, more for me. They freeze magnificently.