Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Tax Man Cometh

I've been slacking. Avoiding a certain chore that must be done. You know, the one we can't avoid? Taxes. Let's be honest, most of us would rather do anything than do our taxes. The folks that want to do their taxes? They generally end up starting their own companies and doing our taxes for us. After a gentle reminder this past week, I finally buckled down to sort, arrange and integrate all the crap that goes with filing. However....the only way I could do it is if I rewarded myself and my tax preparers with the gift of brownies. Cheesecake Brownies.

Cheesecake brownies 2

You know they need all the sugar they can get from now until April 18th to tackle the insane complexity that is our tax code. I'm a huge brownie fan but in truth, usually as a device to deliver nuts with some chocolate around them. Unfortunately with so many folks suffering from nut allergies I generally don't make brownies with nuts unless I know everyone eating them will be nut allergy free. So I cranked my Cook's Illustrated Best Recipes and decided the Cheesecake Brownies would be more appropriate. Let's hope my tax preparers like them.

Cheesecake brownies


Makes 16 2-inch brownies

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray, and, fit an 8-by-16-inch sheet of aluminum foil in bottom of pan. (Foil overhangs both sides of the pan; use as handles to remove baked brownies from pan.) Coat foil with cooking spray.

2. In a medium heat-proof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, melt chocolate and butter in microwave oven.) Remove melted chocolate mixture from heat; whisk in 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla; then whisk in 3 eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue whisking until mixture is completely smooth. Add dry ingredients; whisk until just incorporated.

3. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and egg yolk until of even consistency.

4. Pour half the brownie batter into prepared pan. Drop half the cream cheese mixture, by spoonfuls, over batter. Repeat layering and swirling with remaining brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Use blade of a table knife or a spoon handle to gently swirl batter and cream cheese filling, creating a marbled effect.

5. Bake until edges of brownies have puffed slightly, center feels not quite firm when touched lightly, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into center comes out with several moist, fudgy crumbs adhering to it, 50 to 60 minutes.

6. Cool brownies in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. , Use foil sling handles to lift brownies from pan. Place brownies on wire rack; allow them to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. (To hasten cooling, place brownies in the freezer for about 1 1/2 hours.) Cut into squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve. Whole bar can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, and refrigerated up to 5 days.)


MakingSpace said...

Next year I'll do your taxes. Just sayin.

froggy said...

Wow, The Engineer did our taxes today with only the promise of continued feeding for the next week. He gets kind of a fatalistic thrill out of it - first time we've had to pay in 30 years! (Changes with kids, college tuition, yada, yada)
Those brownies look delish.

Big Shamu said...

But will you do them right all jacked up on sugar?

Why am I not surprised that the Engineer likes doing your taxes. The brownies are delish.

MakingSpace said...

Dude, I stand a better chance jacked up on sugar than not. Unless the IRS will accept high notes in lieu of the proper forms.

Dani said...

Gah! I still haven't started on ours...

I'm a brownie freak! Downside is I can never stop at just one.

Big Shamu said...

Chop Chop Dani!

I am nuts with brownie freak. No nuts? Not so much.

Buzz Kill said...

Cheesecake anything is good with me. And not to rub it in but my taxes were done 3 weeks ago and we're getting some money back. It pays to have an accountant, otherwise they would never get done.

Big Shamu said...

Oh I have an accountant, I just futzed around gathering up all the receipts and documents.

Susan said...

We have until the end of April up here in Canada to file income tax. And we freelance, self employed types must* pay any taxes owing quarterly but we don't have to file the actual document until June 3oth *I use the word "must" loosely as they are very forgiving with this quarterly thing - trust me I know from experience.

What I'm saying is - I LOVE a good brownie and I'd gild the lily here and add an equal layer of fudgey frosting because " Hi, my name is Susan and I'm a sugah addict" and I bet the gang at Revenue de Canada would love some brownies too !!

Happy Mapril 1st xoxox S & the Dee

Big Shamu said...

Should we make that a Mapril frosting Susan.

They sound very trusting in Canada.

Anonymous said...

damn! silly me, i delivered without looking under the cover. aaargh

Big Shamu said...

Bwhahahaha, what's up with THAT Tax Deliverer?