Today I joined up with with some lovely ladies behind other Chicago food blogs such as Bridezilla Bakes, In Good Taste, and Interior Bakerator as well as some local businesses to put on Chicago’s edition of the National Food Blogger Bake Sale to benefit Share our Strength, which is dedicated to fighting child hunger. Obviously as you can tell from the spread there were quite a few people involved so I apologize to all the wonderful bakers for my failing to give shoutouts to everyone. It was my first food blogger get together since relocating so I was thrilled to meet up with other foodies while supporting a great cause.
Our bake sale was held in an adorable place called Smash Cake, which is due to reopen next month. They were generous enough to let us use the entire place free of charge. In addition to selling coffee and baked goods it will also specialize in children’s parties so the place was decked out with toys and pint-sized aprons. Overall the event was a tremendous success, so much so that we were often running out of bills smaller than a $20. Having helped organize bake sales in the past I know what a challenge it can be so I have to give Maris of In Good Taste so much credit for pulling it off without a hitch. The space was constantly buzzing with people and besides raising a good amount of money it was also a wonderful way to raise awareness of such a great organization with an amazing mission. When I found out I was going to be participating in the bake sale I did some research into Share our Strength since to be honest, I knew little about it beyond the coverage I saw on the Food Network. One of the program in particular called Operation Frontline caught my attention in particular because it’s all about nutrition based education that teaches families how to prepare healthy, tasty meals on a limited budget. I love the proactivity of that idea and am hoping that perhaps I might be able to get involved as a volunteer in the future. Anyway, I digress.
For my contribution I decided to make an updated version of my Deep Chocolate Brownies with Chevre Swirls which I first blogged about here. I first made them after being inspired by some awesome Dark Chocolate Chevre brownies from The Vermont Brownie Company that I tried at the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. After my post was published the lovely ladies from The Vermont Brownie Company appeared on a Brownie Throwdown with Bobby Flay and readers passed along some of the tips they shared on the show so I could make my brownies more like the real thing. It’s been months since I had the original version so I cannot say for sure how this one compares, but I can say I enjoy it just as much, if not more than my previous version. My main changes were to start with a fudgier brownie base and to up the amount of Chevre for an even more distinct goat cheese flavor. Being a perfectionist I am sure I will still continue to tinker with this, but I think this is quickly becoming my signature recipe. Whether you try this version or my original (which I think is a better match if you like a lighter, cakier brownie) I think you won’t be disapointed. (I’ve also since made a third version that I consider my Deep Chocolate Brownies with Chevre Swirls Version 2.1 because they are very similar to the recipe below, but use a mix of powdered and brown sugar, making them a little closer to the original.)
Deep Chocolate Brownies with Chevre Swirls Version 2.0
Yields 16 brownies
Note: For an even creamier, richer brownie, double the amount of the swirl mixture. I’ve tried it this way and it sounds like many readers have as well and it is absolutely delicious.
-6 ounces chevre, room temperature
-1 tablespoon powdered sugar
-1 large egg
-1 tablespoon all purpose flour
-2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-3/4 teaspoon sea salt
-1 cup all purpose flour
-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-3 large eggs
-1/2 cup canola oil
-2 tablespoons water
-1 teaspoon chocolate extract, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8″ square nonstick baking pan.
Make swirl by beating together the first four ingredients until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
Make the brownie base by whisking together the cocoa, sugars, salt, flour, and chips in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, oil, and water and chocolate extract. mixing just until smooth.
Spoon half the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spread the swirl mixture over it and then spoon the rest of the brownie batter on top.
Bake the brownies for about 35 minutes to 45 minutes (for the 8″ pan). To see if the brownies are done, remove the pan from the oven, and stick the tip of a sharp knife into the center of the brownies. Brownies will be done when the center is set but the consistency is still moist and fudgey.