If it ain’t broke… (chocolate cream cheese icing)

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recipe: chocolate cream cheese icing with link to our favourite brownie recipe

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

brownies As I begin to emerge from December’s relative silence, I have begun to get caught up on others’ blogs. I just came across Brilynn (Jumbo Empinadas) post about brownies. She mentioned that she was willing to continue trying different brownie recipes, in search of the ultimate brownie. I’m not so willing.

I might be wrong but let’s face it. The brownies I make are so good, I cannot imagine any brownies being better. So if it ain’t broke…

I also realized it had been too long since I made brownies! And so, because T didn’t get a cake on his birthday, I made unbirthday brownies for him yesterday. The best brownies ever. And as Brilynn said in her post, I know what you’re thinking

I’ve seen countless recipes for The Best Brownie EVER, The Perfect Brownie, The Last Brownie You’ll Ever Eat, etc… There’s always someone who thinks they have the be all and end all recipe for brownies

No, really and truly!! Our brownies are indeed the best brownies. Or at least the best brownies we’ve ever had. They are “brownies cockaigne” in The Joy of Cooking (1975 edition) by Irma S. Bombauer. I’d like to say that I made an essential alteration to Bombauer’s recipe to make it into the quintessential brownie recipe but I can’t. I don’t really make any change to the recipe except to add Thompson raisins rather than nuts.

who do they think they're fooling?? Oh yes, and I have also changed how many brownies the recipe makes… 30 brownies?? I don’t think so. It’s more like 12 to 15.

Now the icing for brownies is a different story – because, let’s face it, brownies are just better with icing. Each time we make chocolate icing, we continue to work on it. The icing in the past has been pretty close to perfect but still required small refinements. And this time, I think that T has come up with the ultimate chocolate icing.

The ultimate chocolate icing that doesn’t use icing sugar! I shook my head as he insisted on using regular granulated sugar. But after getting the look and firm, “Trust me. I know“, I wisely stepped aside and waited for the wails and shrieks of failure.


There are never wails and shrieks of failure coming from T. Of course, as usual, he was right. I should have trusted him. He does know. The icing is stellar. Here is what he did:

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
enough for way too much on a 9×13″ pan of brownies

  • ½ c granulated sugar
  • 1 c cream cheese (with guar gum), softened
  • ½ c salted butter, softened
  • ½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp HOT coffee (or hot water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • plain yoghurt, optional


  1. Cream the sugar into the cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add salt, cocoa powder, coffee and vanilla and continue to stir til the icing is smooth and fluffy.
  3. If the icing seems too thick, add a little yoghurt.

Slather over cooled cake or brownies.

brownies And speaking of too much chocolate, have you read Jeanne’s (Cook Sister!) Death by Chocolate post?

edit 29 April 2007: During April, there is a brownie event taking place on Myriam’s blog, Once Upon a Tart. Read more:


This entry was posted in baking, cakes, pastries, cookies, etc., dessert, food & drink, posts with recipes on by .

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6 responses to “If it ain’t broke… (chocolate cream cheese icing)

  1. MrsBrown

    sigh…big big sigh. I can’t eat chocolate. sigh I guess I’ll have to make do with blondies (which are also excellent with icing!) I love the idea of making icing without icing sugar. I wonder if this recipe could be adapted and I could just leave out the cocoa powder. Perhaps I need to try this and report back!

  2. Jeanne

    O. M. G. How heavenly those look and sound. I have a bit of a thing for chocolate brownies – in fact I owe a colleague a batch and I suspect that I will try this icing on them. Thanks for the tip!

  3. ejm Post author

    They really are fantastic with this icing, Jeanne. You might need to make two batches – one for your colleague and one for your own household. (Don’t forget to add Thompson raisins to your brownies! They add a lovely chewiness.)

    The thing we really like about the icing is that it isn’t insanely sweet and contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the brownies.

    I’m positive that this icing doesn’t need to have cocoa powder, MrsBrown. We have made it plain to go on carrot cake and with pineapple chunks to go on pineapple cake and it has been wonderful both ways. It’s the salt and cream cheese in the icing that really does the trick… not to mention the butter…. :whee:

  4. Brilynn

    I don’t know about adding raisins to brownies… that doesn’t seem quite right, I don’t think I can allow that to be called the best brownie ever… now if you soaked those raisins in rum first, we might be able to come to an agreement.
    Thanks for trying to help with my blog, but the new blogger code seems to be different from old blogger code and I can’t figure anything out, (but it’s all just dashes and dots and brackets to me anyways…). I’m still struggling, but I figure it out eventually. In the meantime my blog might just be a little messy.

  5. ejm Post author

    You’ll never know until you try brownies with raisins, Brilynn. Nice idea to soak them in rum. I wonder if they’d still get chewy or if the rum would keep them plump.


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