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Everyone loves brownies. Everyone loves cheesecake. Why not marry the two together?
It’s easy to make a cheesecake filling and you can swirl it through a brownie batter to make a delightful and delicious variation.
We took our Fudgy Walnut Brownies, omitted the nuts, and swirled cream cheese through the batter.
This fancy-looking brownie is easy to make. It’s a simple two-step recipe. Mix the batter for the brownies in one bowl and the cream cheese mixture in another. Pour the brownie batter and the cream cheese mixture into the pan in stages, then swirl it with a spatula.
Dark Fudgy Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirls
For the brownies:
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose or bread flour
For the cream cheese filling:
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Dust with flour or line with parchment paper.
- Cut the chocolate into pieces. Melt the butter in the microwave or a double boiler. Add the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute and then stir. If the chocolate is not completely melted and the mixture smooth, return it to the microwave or double boiler and heat until melted and smooth. Stir in the sugar and salt.
2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the eggs and vanilla to the chocolate mixture. Stir until combined.
3. Add the flour. Stir until combined again. Set aside.
4. For the cream cheese filling, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat in. Add the egg yolks and beat until smooth. Set aside.
5. Pour half of the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Spoon half of the cream cheese filling onto the batter in pools. Pour the rest of the chocolate batter over the cream cheese pools. Spread smooth. Spoon the remaining cream cheese filling in pools over the top of the brownie batter.
6. Hold a table knife or spatula vertically and cut through the batters just until the two batters are swirled together. Do not over mix.
7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the brownies test done by sticking a toothpick or knife into the center of the pan. The brownies will be done when moist crumbs cling to the toothpick or knife. Let the brownies cool completely before removing them from the pan.
Baker’s note: If you are in a hurry to get to your brownies—and who isn’t—stick the pan of brownies in the refrigerator to cool.
Cream Cheese Brownies. Make twice as much cream cheese filling by doubling that portion of the recipe. Instead of swirling the cream cheese through the brownie batter, spoon all of the cream cheese filling on top. The result will be a double-decker brownie: chocolate on the bottom and cream cheese on top.
Tips for Great Brownies
How do you prepare the pan for brownies?
We usually line our pan with parchment paper or foil. Here’s how you do it: Lightly grease the pan with butter or shortening, then line the pan with parchment paper or foil. The butter or shortening will hold the paper in place. Make certain that the paper extends up the sides of the pan. After the brownies are baked and have partially cooled, grab the edges of the paper and lift the cake to a cutting board. Cut the cake into nice, neat squares on the cutting board using a ruler.
Do you like your brownies extra chewy?
Try using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. Bread flour has a higher gluten content than does all-purpose. Gluten creates the chewy texture that we find in good bread and will make your brownies chewier. Be sure and mix your brownie batter for several minutes to develop the gluten strands.
What’s the proper way to measure my flour?
Carefully spoon the flour into your measure. If you dip and scoop, you will pack the flour and the brownies will turn out more cake-like.
Can I double my batch?
Certainly. A recipe calling for an 8 x 8-inch pan can be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan. A recipe calling for 9 x 13-inch pan can be doubled and baked in half-sheet pan, 12 x 18-inches. If you take a recipe that calls for a 9 x 13-inch pan and multiple it by 1.5, you can use a 10 x15-inch pan.
How long do I need to let my brownies cool?
On a wire rack in the kitchen, they should cool for four or five hours. We cheat and often put them in the refrigerator after a half hour. We’ve even been known to put them in the freeing compartment for a half hour. The brownies should be completely cooled before cutting or trying to lift the cake from the pan.
How do you make nice, clean cuts when cutting brownies?
We usually trim the edges so that the cookies will be uniform. Use a sharp knife and wipe the blade with a damp cloth after each cut.
How do you store brownies?
For short-term storage, layer them between wax paper or parchment sheets inside of a container with a tight-fitting lid. You can store your brownies this way for up to five days. For longer-term storage, freeze them. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and put them in a heavy plastic bag. They will last for several months.
About the Author
Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and six beautiful granddaughters.