When you think of a brownie based dessert what comes to mind? To me, a brownie in a dessert means there needs to be ice cream involved – a great big towering sundae or a scoop on top of a hot brownie out of the oven.
Don’t get me wrong, brownies alone are delicious and can certainly take care of any chocolate craving but they need to be extra special when served at the end of a meal. Dixie Crystals Sugar, one of the sponsors of this years Food and Wine Conference, put a call to action out to attendees – create an original brownie based dessert and the winner will have their recipe be the featured dessert at the conference.
Pretty exciting, right?
Now I knew a brownie sundae would be awesome but logistically it could be difficult to serve to so many people. I wanted to keep something cool and creamy along side my brownie, so I turned to the next best compromise a cheesecake topping! Originally, I was going to make this a three layer brownie bar, chocolate ganache on top, cheesecake in the middle and brownie on the bottom but after seeing what little space I had left in my pan to pour my ganache topping I made a quick switch to petit fours. Who can complain about the extra chocolate anyway?
I made mine a little more rustic looking – mostly for two reasons – to show of the interior of the petit fours and because I ran out of chocolate! 🙂 Go ahead and coat them all with ganache or do it my way.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. spray and line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter and stir in the sugar until smooth.
Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and mix in the eggs until combined.
Stir in the vanilla extract, flour and salt until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth into an even layer.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar.
Beat on medium speed until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides and beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract, scraping the bottom and sides making sure everything is mixed well.
Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the brownie and bake for 40 minutes. The edges will be slightly golden brown and there should be a slight jiggle in the center.
Let cool completely on the counter before covering with foil and placing in the refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours or over night.
Once completely chilled, cut the brownie into 1X1 inch squares and place on top of a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper and a cooling rack on top.
In a small bowl, place the 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it comes to a simmer and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in the salt and let sit for another minute or two to set.
With a spoon pour the chocolate over each brownie piece.
Place in the refrigerator (or freezer to set faster) to set. If using the raspberry puree to decorate the tops, squeeze some of the puree on while the ganache is still wet.
Store in the petit fours in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
So I thought I’d end this post with a fun little sugar fact. In case you didn’t realize, sugar brands are regional. I didn’t think I would find Dixie Crystals up here since their sponsorship of the conference was the first time I had heard of them and turns out I wasn’t the only person north of the Mason Dixon line who had difficulty. See up in NY our shelves are stocked with the other “D” brand of sugar!
Thank you Dixie Crystals for being nice enough to let me use my regional sugar, but knowing that they carry pure cane sugar it was exactly what I used in my recipe as well!