Thursday, May 28, 2009

Donkey Bars v.1.0

The internet is a dangerous place. Especially if you're like me and browse food blogs during your lunch break. With so many sources for inspiration, it's hard not to be overcome by the dizzying array of goodies out there. Should I make brownies? How about chocolate chip cookies? Or cheesecake? I haven't made cheesecake in ages. I know! I'll MAKE THEM ALL. Thus was born the "donkey bar," so named for how absolutely redonkulous (yet tasty!) they are. They're not perfect by any means, since I simply mashed together four different things. Version 2.0 promises to be much more eye-appealing. Stay tuned!

Donkey Bars Adapted from The Internet

  • 1 box brownie mix (9x13" pan size), plus
  • eggs, oil, water called for on the box
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter (can use less)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13" pan with a foil or parchment paper sling (not vital, but will make life easier). Prepare brownie mix according to box directions. Spread into pan. For this round, I chose to follow the "cakey brownie" variation (which generally just means adding an extra egg) and swapped out half of the oil with applesauce...because I was feeling guilty about what I was about to create. And because I didn't want to chance an oil slick on my donkey bottoms. Next time I will probably not go for the cakey variation. Adding the extra egg made the brownie batter a bit too loose to hold the subsequent layers.

Blend cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until smooth. Try not to over beat. Carefully pour on top of brownie batter. Since my brownie batter was very liquidy, my cream cheese layer began swirling with the brownie layer upon contact. Which isn't a bad thing if you're making cheesecake swirled brownies, but I was aiming for defined layers.

Top cream cheese layer with chocolate chip cookie dough. Here's where I went wrong: First, I purchased the 'break and bake' squares. These were hard (duh, they need to be so you can break them apart) and didn't expand while baking. Second, I pushed them into the batter. For a nice chocolate chip cookie layer I suggest buying a softer dough log, slicing it, then laying it gently on top of the cream cheese.

Bake at 350°F until done. I didn't do a very good job of keeping track of how long this monster took to bake, but I would estimate somewhere between 40-50 minutes. Check your brownie box directions, then add some time onto that. You did just add two additional layers, after all. Use your judgement. I trust you :)

Cool completely. Then melt 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate with 4 oz. unsalted butter and spread over top of bars. I will use less butter next time to make top layer a bit more firm. Maybe 2 or 3 oz.? Either that or double the amount of chocolate. Haven't decided yet. Cut into small bars (at least 36-these are quite an experience!) once chocolate sets.

Feeling really ambitious? Make your own brownie batter and chocolate chip cookie dough. You'll need a brownie recipe written for a 9x13" pan and about 1 lb. of chocolate chip cookie dough.

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