I can’t say that these are the best brownies I’ve ever made…because honestly, I don’t even consider myself a baker. However, it’s one of those afternoons when I am twirling my thumbs for something to do in the kitchen.
Despite the fact that I am not a fan of brownies, I wanted to bake a treat for my little guy, whom I know adores them (or anything with the words chocolate and brownie put together…for that matter). Before I began, I forewarned him that this is no ordinary brownie; and that it will contain matcha powder.
With the assumption that a few minutes after his olfactory detected that the brownies were done, he came up to me outside whilst I was tending to our chickens, and blurted without hesitation, “Oh I had a brownie…” I quickly remarked, “A whole brownie with the matcha on top?” “Yes…” responding back from a distance with a faint sound of approval as he briskly walked back to the house.
This recipe is adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet
For brownie batter
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan
For matcha cream cheese batter
- 1 block (225g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 tsp organic matcha powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
For the brownie
- Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heat-proof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
- Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
For the cream cheese batter
- Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar until light and creamy.Add in the egg yolk and beat until well mixed. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of cream cheese into a small bowl and stir in matcha powder. Pour the matcha cream cheese mixture into a small Ziploc bag. Add the lemon zest into the remaining cream cheese, and pour into another small Ziploc bag.
- Using a scissor, cut a small hole on the edge of the ziplock bags and pipe out whatever pattern that strike your fancy on top of the brownie dough.
- Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
- Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.