Cream Cheese Brownies

Next to the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, there are few combinations that I love more than chocolate and cream cheese. Whether it’s in the form of a cheesecake, or something like these brownies, I swoon. I love how the richness of the chocolate is cut with the cool creaminess of the cream cheese. I have been wanted to find a perfect cream cheese brownie recipe for the longest time, and finally made it my mission this week to get it done. These brownies are an amazing blend of rich brownie and perfectly creamy cheesecake. In fact, there are very much the exact inverse of the Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake. Instead of a cheesecake with chunks of brownie in it, here we have brownies with swirls of cheesecake. Such a lovely little ying and yang.

This is a basic brownie recipe that is layered with a cream cheese filling, and then marbled to create layers and swirls of cheesecake within the brownie. It’s the prettiest version of this type of brownie that I think I’ve seen. I love them!

A word of caution: be very careful not to overbake these. I would recommend checking them about 5 minutes before they were supposed to be done. I usually do that, but got a little sidetracked, so these baked for the minimum time (50 minutes) and they were a little too done – the toothpick test came out clean, when ideally it comes out with moist crumbs when you’re dealing with brownies. So just a head’s up that you may want to check on them a little early. Otherwise, enjoy every sinful bite of decadence!

One year ago: How to Make Perfect Homemade Popcorn
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Four years ago: Perfectly Chocolate Cake & Frosting

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Cream Cheese Brownies

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

8 tablespoons (½ cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs


For the Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg yolk


Directions:

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil lengthwise to measure 8 inches wide. Fit 1 seet in the bottom of the greased pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan (the overhang will help in removal of the baked brownies). Fit the second sheet in the pan the same way, perpendicular to the first. Butter the foil; set aside.


2. Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl; set aside.


3. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Microwave in 30-second increments at 50% power, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract; allow the mixture to cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just incorporated.


4. Make the cream cheese filling by beating the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk together in a small bowl until evenly blended.


5. Pour half the brownie batter into the prepared pan, spreading it in an even layer. drop half the cream cheese mixture, by spoonfuls, over the batter. Repeat, layering the remaining brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the brownie batter and cream cheese filling, creating a marbled effect.


6. Bake until the edges of the brownies have puffed slightly, the center feels not quite firm when touched lightly, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out with several moist, fudgy crumbs adhering to it, 50 to 60 minutes.


7. Cool the brownies in a pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil handles. Place the brownies on a wire rack; allow them to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. Cut into squares and serve. The brownies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerate for up to 5 days.


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(Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)


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