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)
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
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8x8 inch glass pan.
- Prepare cream cheese filling by pureeing ingredients in a food processor or mixing thoroughly with a fork.
- Prepare jam filling by stirring ingredients together in a small bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream Earth Balance, and then add yogurt and jam in small batches, creaming together.
- In thirds, add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture until well incorporated. The batter will be thick like frosting.
- Using a spatula to spread half the brownie batter into the baking pan.
- Pour cream cheese filling over the batter and spread evenly.
- Add jam filling in even dollops and swirl in slightly to the cream cheese layer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Allow to cool for a painfully long 30 minutes before cutting into 16 squares.
- 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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