CUORE DEL CIOCCOLATO… Chocolate Cheesecake Lava Heart Brownie Bites!
Research and categorizing research can be daunting tasks. It’s what my mentees and I have ahead of us tomorrow, when we sort through all the information for their teen dating abuse article for Teen Voices. I decided to make them a little fuel-food – something to keep them energized and motivated to research – and I took into account one of my mentees favorite things. Agostinha loves cheesecake, and while I couldn’t make a full cheesecake (even if I would have loved to!) because transporting it would be trouble (cheesecake + commuter rail = disaster waiting to happen), I made probably the next best thing – Chocolate Cheesecake Lava Heart Brownie Bites! A personal creation of mine!
Just looking at these brownie bites, you may be asking yourself, “Well, I see the chocolate and the cream cheese, but what does she mean about hearts??” I’m not off my rocker just yet…
BAM. Heart-shaped bottom! I kind of overfilled the heart-shaped mini muffin sheet I have with the batter for these decadent treats, so the tops didn’t come out looking like cute hearts. The bottoms did, though, and I think that’s good enough 🙂
So these little morsels are fantastic. They’ve got the richness and full flavor of the best chocolate brownie and the tangy yet sweet burst of flavor from the cream cheese filling. It’s like having your own, mini piece of brownie cheesecake – what could be better? They’re delicious warm, right after they come out of the oven, and that’s where I got their name from. I just thought of these little hearts bursting with luscious cocoa and cream cheese basically saying to my taste buds, “Hello, I love you so much my heart is bursting with goodness and cannot maintain it’s formed-heart shape!” … I never said my heart of very eloquent, hah. I hope my girls like them and we get some solid work done tomorrow!
Chocolate-Cheesecake Lava Heart Brownie Bites
2/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup low-fat or fat-free milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (for sprinkling, optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a brownie bite pan (making 24 brownies) with nonstick cooking spray.
2. For brownie batter: Mix whole-wheat flour, cocoa, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix eggs and brown sugar in another large bowl until smooth. Add applesauce, milk and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well blended. If needed, stop to scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing.
3. For cheesecake lava: Beat cream cheese in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, beat until completely incorporated.
4. Spoon batter into the brownie bite pan by the tablespoon. Dollop half of the cheesecake lava onto the tops of the brownie bites. Swirl the tip of a sharp knife through the batter to create the marble effect. Then, dollop the remaining cheesecake lava onto the brownie tops. Sprinkle tops with a few chocolate chips if desired.
5. Bake the brownies until the tops are just firm, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. You may get some of the cheesecake lava on the toothpick, but that’s ok – 20 minutes should be sufficient. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set on rack to cool completely.