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Dark Chocolate Brownies with Cream Cheese Icing

by Diana Baker Woodall
Diana's Desserts

Servings: Makes 9 large brownies

I decorated these brownies with orange flavored and colored white chocolate chips. I did an X & O ("Hugs and Kisses") decoration on a few of the brownies for this year's Valentine's Day. These brownies can be frosted with a Cream Cheese Frosting, a Chocolate Ganache, or just made plain. Either way, they're very nice.

Tips about Types of Chocolate:

Chocolate is categorized by how much chocolate liquor it contains. Unsweetened, or bitter, chocolate is 100% chocolate liquor with no sugar added. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates have cocoa butter and sugar added to the liquor but still contain at least 35% and 15% liquor, respectively. In most cases, these 2 chocolates are interchangeable in recipes. Milk chocolate, which contains at least 10% chocolate liquor and 12% milk solids, behaves differently in recipes and should not be used in place of other types of chocolate unless specified.


1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./113g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate* (See Notes Below), finely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cake flour, sifted
3/4 cup orange flavored dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces the size of chocolate chips - *See Notes Below), OR bittersweet chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips

Optional Toppings

Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
Chocolate Ganache Topping (see recipe below)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Lightly grease the aluminum foil or lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and unsweetened chocolate. Heat, stirring often, until melted, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in the chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out almost completely clean, about 30 minutes (or a bit longer if using a metal pan opposed to a glass pan). Do not overbake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

If desired, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting or Chocolate Ganache Topping when brownies have cooled completely.

Lift brownies out of pan using the overhang on the two opposite sides of the pan. Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares.

*I used Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Pure Dark Chocolate (99% Cocoa), finely chopped.
**I used Newman's Own Organics Sweet Dark Orange Dark Chocolate Bar, chopped into "chocolate chip" size pieces for the added chips.

To decorate the brownies, I used Callebaut Orange Flavored and Colored Callets (chips or morsels).

Optional Frosting or Topping

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick/2 oz/56g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 cups confectioners' sugar


1. Beat cream cheese and butter in mixing bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in orange zest and confectioners' sugar. Spread topping evenly over completely cooled brownies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until topping is slightly firm.

Chocolate Ganache Topping

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons whipping cream


Whisk all ingredients in small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Pour evenly over cooled brownies in pan.

Chill brownies until ganache is set, about 2 hours. Cut into 9 squares. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Serve at room temperature.)

Makes 9 large brownies.

©Diana Baker Woodall, 2007

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