It’s almost our favourite time of the year in Germany: Advent. This means that the Christmas markets are opening, cities turn into a wonderful twinkling fairy tale and it’s time for lots and lots of baking. Before moving to Germany, Advent meant nothing to us, well maybe never ending masses and nuns telling kids that Christmas was not about presents and big meals, and Christmas preparations started a couple of weeks before Christmas Eve. However, the German Advent has stolen our hearts and become our favourite part of the German culture. Now the best part of Christmas is actually Advent and we start celebrating Christmas related everything as soon as November comes to an end.
We are not the biggest fans of German culture, to be honest. We miss Spain, we love our background and we hardly incorporate any German customs into our everyday life. However, we have to admit that in Advent we embrace almost every German tradition and really enjoy this wonderful time of the year. Well, we put up the Christmas tree very early (we did it yesterday, actually) instead of waiting to December 24th, like Germans do. Mostly because we travel to Spain for Christmas so we have to make the most of our little tree while we are still at home. But other than that, we prepare our Advent crown, we visit the Christmas market as soon as the first light is on and we bake like crazy.
And when we saw this easy recipe in David Lebovitz’ book Ready for dessert, which adapts two American classics and adds a French touch, we thought it could be the perfect recipe for our first Advent baking. Here’s to cultural mixing!
You will need:
85 g unsalted butter
115 g semisweet chocolate, chopped
130 g sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
70 g flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80 g semisweet chocolate chips
150 g cream cheese. The original recipe uses 250 g, but we used just 150 g because we forgot to buy more cream cheese (#reallife), but this made the brownie more chocolatey!
However we reduced the sugar as well to keep the proportions and we used approximately 50 g sugar, though the original recipe uses 75 g.
1 egg yolk
A little bit of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 175ºC. Line a square brownie pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it with butter.
In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add the chopped chocolate. Stir over low heat until you have a smooth consistency. Remove from the heat and stir the sugar and the two eggs. Add the cocoa powder, salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the chocolate chips. Pour the ix into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Now beat together all the cheesecake topping ingredients until smooth. Distribute the cream cheese mixture over the surface of the brownie butter. David Lebovitz has a lot of instructions to swirl the topping and he tells you to create big pockets of cheesecake. Our result was more like a tanned cow, but it was still delicious and it was very easy and quick. We wanted our brownie pronto!
Bake about 35 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely before lifting the parchment paper and remove the brownies. We are sure that you won’t be able to wait to dig in. We may have ignored our pretty set up for our brownie pictures and decided to eat them right away but #reallife again, I guess. We didn’t cut it perfectly, we don’t show you perfect squares placed delicately on gorgeous atrezzo… but we can assure you that this imperfect brownie was delicious and these imperfect pictures show that we couldn’t wait to eat it!