New Vegan Cream Cheese from Galaxy & Killer Brownies

A while back, the folks at Galaxy Nutritional Foods put out a call on their Facebook page to bloggers about a super secret new product. I'm a fan of their Rice Vegan mozzarella and cheddar, so I responded. I was promised samples of the new product and sworn to secrecy. They didn't ask me to pinky swear or anything, but it was still pretty cool.

Their brand-spankin' new vegan cream cheese hit the market last week and it's GOOD. It's creamier and has a better "mouth feel" than the other leading vegan brand (which, until now, I didn't think could be bested). So, confronted with a whole tub of delicious vegan cream cheese, what's a girl to do? Well, remember my resolution to experiment with more desserts? Me too. The resolution started with cocoa raspberry cream cheese muffins so this time, I started thinking about using cream cheese in brownies.

Brownies with a middle layer of sweetened cream cheese are old hat, right? But usually, they're raspberry or strawberry or blueberry. Berry lame, if you ask me! I love the combination of dense brownies and sweet cream cheese but MY version had to live up to higher standards.

So I smacked my lips and thought and thought and decided that my cream cheese brownies needed a sweet and spicy kick. Something different. And these Spiced Apricot Cream Cheese Brownies were birthed. These are pretty low fat because the portions are small but I don't really see anything wrong with eating two of them. It's dessert, after all!

Spiced Apricot Cream Cheese Brownies
Yield: 16 servings

Cream cheese filling:
6oz cream cheese (2/3 of one tub), room temp
2 Tbsp agave nectar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Apricot jam filling:
1/4 cup apricot jam or preserves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne (see note)

Brownie batter:
2/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks, room temp
2/3 cup plain yogurt (or one 6-oz cup)
1/4 cup apricot jam or preserves
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8x8 inch glass pan.
  2. Prepare cream cheese filling by pureeing ingredients in a food processor or mixing thoroughly with a fork.
  3. Prepare jam filling by stirring ingredients together in a small bowl. 
  4. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, cream Earth Balance, and then add yogurt and jam in small batches, creaming together.
  6. In thirds, add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture until well incorporated. The batter will be thick like frosting. 
  7. Using a spatula to spread half the brownie batter into the baking pan. 
  8. Pour cream cheese filling over the batter and spread evenly. 
  9. Add jam filling in even dollops and swirl in slightly to the cream cheese layer. 
  10. Add remaining brownie batter and spread as evenly as possible. Because the batter is so thick, it's going to look like a hot mess but it doesn't matter. Promise.
  11. Bake 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (no wet brownie batter). If you're using a dark metal pan, add 5 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool for a painfully long 30 minutes before cutting into 16 squares. 
  13. Serve warm, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.

Note: If you're averse to spicy foods, you can omit the cayenne pepper. However, I wouldn't.

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