As I noted last year, as soon as December rolls around my food preferences switch dramatically. Most times of the year I post vastly more savory dishes than sweet on my blog (or at least it feels like I do) because in general, salt is my weakness. I’ll generally take a second helping of mac and cheese or an extra appetizer over the dessert course any day.
Except in December. Once the holiday is here my sweet tooth is on overdrive. This year is no exception. Not long after I shipped off the bounty from my marathon baking section I found myself craving sweets again. In fairness, since the baked goods I made on Saturday were all meant for others sampling was at a minimum.
In particular, I was craving goat cheese brownies. I hadn’t made them in forever and since I had recently purchased Duncan Hines brownie mix with a coupon I received from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program it seemed like a perfect excuse to whip up a batch. Plus I found myself with only dregs of flour left after the baking extravaganza so it saved me a trip to the grocery story to buy more.
I used my Deep Chocolate Brownies with Chevre Swirls 2.0 as a base and made a few adjustments. For the brownie layer I used Duncan Hines Double Fudge Decadent Brownie Mix prepared according to the package directions for a fudgey brownie. However, this recipe is forgiving and I imagine would work well with other brownie mixes as well. My personal preference though is to stick to a mix that is standard chocolate or a similar variation. Though brownie mixes with walnuts, peanut butter chips, caramel, etc are all yummy, those mix-ins have a tendency to overshadow the goat cheese. To the brownie mix I also added a bar of dark chocolate, chopped. I find brownie mixes to be a bit on the sweeter side compared to what I would typically make from scratch so I like how the dark chocolate offsets this a bit and lets the chocolate shine through.
For my goat cheese layer I switched things up a tiny bit this time and went with Chevre with Honey. In other words, it was a log of fresh goat cheese with the honey already mixed in. Because of this, I skipped adding any extra sweetener, but if you can only find regular, unsweetened chevre that works as well. (I’ve noted the adjustments you can make below.)
As always, these brownies satisfied. The tang of the goat cheese works incredibly well with the sweeter brownie and gives standard brownie mix a decidedly sophisticated feel. I served them plain, by which I mean I ate them while standing over the pan the minute they came out of the oven. Though one of my girlfriends told me she’s been serving them with a bit of homemade raspberry sauce (Ina Garten‘s recipe is her favorite.), which I think would be perfect if you wanted to turn this into dessert for a holiday meal. Or if you’re feeling a bit swamped this holiday season you could always order them directly from The Vermont Brownie Company, who originally inspired my recipe. They also happen to have some gorgeous holiday gift sets that look like they would make for unique and fun holiday gifts.
The oil, water, and egg amounts listed below for the brownie base are per the box recipe for fudgey brownies. This recipe is flexible enough that it can accommodate brownie mixes of other sizes (as long as they are meant for an 8×8″ pan), but I do recommend consulting the box to see what must be added for that package’s fudgey recipe as every mix is formulated slightly differently. The only boxed mixes I wouldn’t recommend using are those with mix-ins that aren’t chocolate chips or chunks (i.e. mixes with walnuts, peanut butter chips, caramel, etc.) as these have a tendency to overshadow the goat cheese.
Adapted from this recipe
Yields 16 brownies
-6 ounces Honey Chevre, room temperature (alternatively you could use 6 ounces of plain chevre (fresh goat cheese) and one tablespoon of powdered sugar, honey or agave nectar)
-1 large egg
-1 tablespoon all purpose flour
-1 17.6 ounce box brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines Double Fudge Brownie Mix)
-1 large egg
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-1/3 cup water
-1 3.5 ounce bar dark chocolate, chopped (I used one with 72% cocoa content)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8″ square nonstick baking pan.
Make swirl by beating together the first three ingredients until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
Make the brownie base by mixing together the remaining ingredients until smooth. (If your brownie mix includes a fudge sauce package, as mine did, be sure to stir that in as well.)
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. If desired, drag a knife through the pan for several strokes from end to end on the pan, which creates a bit of a ripped layer of goat cheese underneath.
Bake the brownies for about 35 minutes to 45 minutes. 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.