FOR THE FILLING: Slowly melt half the chopped chocolate and cream together in a microwave or a double boiler. Set aside to cool. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and egg together until fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix well. Add the flour and the remaining chocolate and mix until incorporated. Chill the filling while you assemble the brownie batter.
FOR THE BROWNIE BATTER: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that each one is fully incorporated before adding another. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder and gently blend them into the batter.
TO ASSEMBLE: Using an offset metal spatula, spread half the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spread the filling over the batter. Spoon the remaining brownie batter over the filling and gently spread it into an even layer. Bake for 35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean.
FOR THE ICING: As soon as you remove the brownies from the oven, sprinkle about three-quarters of the chocolate on top. Let sit about 5 minutes, until the chocolate has melted. Gently spread the soft chocolate into a thin, smooth layer. If it isn’t enough chocolate, sprinkle a few more pieces on top and spread again, but be careful not to make the icing too thick.
TO SERVE: Let the bars cool before cutting.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Fine Cooking Magazine. All rights reserved.