There’s a bullet hole in the door to my new building. Yes, you read that correctly. No, I’m not in Baltimore anymore. . . What’s even more wackadoo is that my new neighborhood in San Francisco looks like something out of Leave it to Beaver. It is so ridiculously cute and safe (looking) that, there is even a 1930s soda fountain and creamery a block up the road where the scoopers all wear little paper boat hats and the owners are named Johnny and Peggy Sue (just kidding). It’s genearlly a great place to live…I guess. As long as you don’t knock the flavor of the day…
For as cute as this city appears to be, I’ve come to realize that San Francisco is an entirely backwards place. It is a strange piecing together of villages. Picturesque Victorians and neighborhood restaurants buttress buffalo heards of homeless who roam the streets and ride mass transit together with millionaire techy tweens from facebook and Linkedin and whatever else. I am uncomfortable with this city’s live and let live attitude, but it’s growing on me…like a wart.
Pushing politics aside for the sake of my expanding waistline, one thing I have come to appreciate, however, is…the growing number of bakeries and ice cream bars! The interconnected village matrix in The Golden Gate City is dotted with so many sweet things, I am developing cavities just thinking about trying all of them!
This past weekend, I took my first bite out of the SF bake scene at B.Patisserie, located in Lower Pacific Heights on California Street and Divisadero Street. B. Patisserie is a true French pastry shop, and I highly recommend it for the pickiest, high-brow pastry lover. The bakery serves delicious viennoisserie (bread pastries), like chocolate-banana almond croissants, Madeleines, and Sugary Brioche…
….beautiful french pastry, like Mille Fieulle, Grand Macarons with raspberries and rose mousseline, and lemon tarts, and small sandwiches (but if you come here just for the sandwiches there’s something wrong with you).
I had the most delicious and perfectly made Kouign Amann (pronounced: Queen Amann) with plum and fig preserves I have ever had in my life–the butter and sugar had caramelized together perfectly and the pastry was so perfectly flakey on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside, my arteries clogged and fainted in happiness at first bite.
I mean… this is serious.
This is just too F#$!*ing cute and French.
I thought briefly about heading home to teach myself how to make this delectable high-brow French treat. There are definitely weeks upon weeks of baking lessons to be had here. But as the bullet hole greeted me on my way home, I decided on something a bit more low brow and American, albeit delicious–Oreo Cheesecake Brownies. I’m saving the Kouign Amann lesson for another day.
Rest your head here. Look at that pillowy cheesecake cookie deliciousness!
For the brownies, which I’ve made modifying a delcious recipe off of epicurious.com, you will need 3 tbsp of cocoa powder; 1 stick of unsalted butter; 3 oz of unsweetened chocolate; 2 oz bittersweet chocolate; 2/3 cup all purpose flour; 1/4 tsp of kosher salt; 2 large eggs, 1 large egg white (yolk discared); 1 cup granulated sugar; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1/4 cup milk or cream. For the cheesecake, you will need 6 oz of cream cheese; 6 oz of sour cream; 2 large egg whites; 1/2 cup powdered sugar; 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. It sounds like a lot, but it goes quickly!
First prepare an 8×8 brownie pan. Spray the pan with canola oil and “flour” the pan using cocoa powder instead of flour.Melt the unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and butter together in a bowl until smooth. You can do this by zapping it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time stirring in between zaps.
In another mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment for at least 5 minutes until nice and smooth and creamy. Add the sour cream and the vanilla and the powdered sugar and beat for another few minutes. Add in the egg whites and beat until combined. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the brownie mixture in the brownie pan. Go crazy with adding crushed OREOs to the top!
When you cut into the center of the brownies and allow them to warm to room temperature the chocolate may seem wet, but this is really just fudgey deliciousness. Enjoy 1 or two and make time for a run tomorrow!
- Brownie Base
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli)
- 1 stick (8 tbps) unsalted butter
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg white (yolk discarded)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cheesecake Top
- 6 oz Cream Cheese
- 6 oz Sour Cream
- 2 large egg whites
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract