These intensely chocolaty brownies were born to be frozen. Thanks to a whole lot of sugar and butter and a minimal amount of flour, they remain in a semifreddo, or semi-frozen, state in the freezer. A trip below zero dials back their sweetness, makes them extra fudgy and dense, and lets the cocoa really shine through. Swirls of cream cheese and tahini cut through the richness, offering a cool, creamy, nutty contrast. Keep a batch in the freezer for up to a month, and you’ll never be far from a frosty, fudgy, refreshing treat.
This recipe is based on Alice Medrich’s truly genius cocoa brownies.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish with butter or nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang.
- Make the cream cheese and tahini swirl: In a medium bowl or food processor, combine softened butter and cream cheese, tahini, sugar, and egg, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Assemble a makeshift double boiler. Bring a cup of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan and place a heatproof bowl over the top, making sure the bowl does not come into direct contact with the simmering water below.
- Add the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt to the double boiler. As the butter melts, stir to combine. Once the ingredients are smooth, melted, and fully incorporated, remove from the heat and cool until they are warm but not hot to the touch, approximately 5 minutes.
- Stir in the vanilla extract and vigorously whisk in the eggs one at a time. Once the batter is smooth and glossy, add the flour and whisk vigorously until completely combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and immediately top with the cream cheese and tahini mixture. Create swirls by running a butter knife through the two layers.
- Bake until the cream cheese and tahini mixture is barely golden and a tester inserted in the middle comes out with only a few crumbs attached, 30–35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let brownies cool.
- Once brownies are cool, use the parchment paper overhang to remove from baking pan and transfer to cutting board.
- Cut into 16 or 25 bite-size brownies. Eat now, or freeze for later by alternating layers of parchment paper and brownies in an airtight glass container or zipper storage bag.
Kaitlin Bray is the director of Audience Development at TASTE and PUNCH. She has a masters degree in Food Studies from NYU, where she researched sustainable food systems. You can find her previous work on Food52.