Fudgy and very delicious, these brownies are chocolatey, not-too-sweet, easy to make and can be frozen. A chocolate layer is topped with a simple cream cheese mixture and swirled to get a marbled effect and scrumptious brownie bar.
Originally posted in February 2014, this post has been updated with text and images to serve you better. The recipe was slightly tweaked to make it better.
I think we can all agree that chocolate and cheesecake together are truly a fantastic pair. This recipe is not too dense or extreme. It's a great balance of both. A great cheesecake brownie to eat frequently or to have frozen at all times, because we never know when the craving will hit, right?
These have been a big hit among friends and coworkers for years! They helped me break the ice at a new job years ago, and it's been one the most asked for recipes since. After all, it’s chocolate and cheesecake. What on earth can possibly go wrong when those two get together? Nothing.
If you bake them until what might seem to many as slightly undercooked, you have a sort of cheesecake brownie fudge, the type that has you going to the fridge for a sliver, and then another, and then a little more… the never-ending sliver we know so well, and love of course.
About this recipe
- Easy to make. A few bowls, a pan, a whisk and you're pretty much ready to bake these.
- Make ahead. Most brownies keep well for days and can be frozen, and this one is no exception. Funny to think they will last that long though.
- Simple ingredients. Nothing out of the ordinary, so you might have everything at home right now to make this recipe.
- Crowd pleaser. Though there's not much gathering into crowds right now, these brownies are almost guaranteed to be liked by everyone.
All your usual brownie ingredients, plus some cream cheese, that's all that goes into these.
- Chocolate: semisweet is the best for brownies. I use any good brand from 60% to 72% cocoa.
- Cream cheese: good, old, full fat Philadelphia cheese is still my first option. But if you used another brand and like it, go for it.
- Butter: use your usual brand, unsalted. No shortening or low fat butters please.
- Sugar: I use regular white or brown sugar many times, which is wonderful for chocolate recipes.
- Flavoring: vanilla (pure extract or paste, my favorite) is a no-brainer, but you can also add some coffee extract and a few drops of pure almond extract. The three together make a fantastic flavor combination for chocolate.
This recipe consists of two parts: a chocolate brownie layer and a cheesecake batter to make the swirl. Both are very easy and one-bowl.
Melt butter and chocolate, add first the sugar (important to bring the temperature down and to slightly melt it), and then add the eggs.
Dry ingredients. There's no need to beat after adding the flour, only whisk by hand until well incorporated. The final batter is smooth and shiny.
The cheesecake swirl
Cheese mixture. It's only a matter of mixing all ingredients for this layer in a bowl. It's a thin batter. Pour it on top of the chocolate batter and then lightly swirl with a knife, bringing some of the chocolate to the top.
The swirl. It's important to mix both batter but not until they almost become one. It's different every time.
Brownies should still jiggle slightly in the middle when you take them out of the oven. That way they'll be fudgy when they cool down. Don't be tempted to wait until they are completely firm, as that usually means they'll be on the dry side.Vintage Kitchen Tip
My top tips
- Ingredients: read the recipe first and have all ingredients measured and at the temperature stated. These details are important to get the best possible results.
- Pans: measure your pan before using to make sure they are the right size. You can make half the recipe (like I did today) in an 8-inch square pan.
- When are they done: brownies should jiggle slightly in the middle when you take them out. They will keep baking a little with the residual heat so don't be tempted to bake them until completely firm as they will be, most of the time, overbaked and on the dry side.
- Make ahead: these keep well in the refrigerator for several days, always well wrapped, or in the freezer for a month or maybe more, also well wrapped. Thaw at room temperature but don't let them get too soft.
- Flavorings: you can use a tablespoon of your favorite liquor (orange or coffee work very well), or a ground spice like cinnamon for a different flavor.
Other recipes you might like:
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Super fudgy and very delicious, these brownies are not-too-sweet, easy to make and can be frozen. A chocolate layer is topped with a simple cream cheese mixture and swirled to get a marbled effect and scrumptious brownie bar.
For the cheesecake batter:
- ¾ cup (175g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoon of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg, at room temperature
For the chocolate batter:
- 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter
- 9 oz (250g) semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC
- Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper. If making half the recipe see Notes below.
For the cheesecake batter:
- In a bowl mix cheese, sugar and vanilla.
- Add egg and mix well. Reserve.
For the chocolate batter:
- Melt chocolate and butter together, in the microwave for about 1 minute (20 seconds at a time and stirring well before mocrowaving it again), or in a double boiler over, but not touching, the water.
- Add sugar and mix well.
- Add the eggs and whisk, making sure it's all integrated well.
- Add the chocolate mixture, cocoa powder, and mix until smooth.
- Add flour and salt. Mix only until combined.
- Pour the chocolate mixture in the prepared pan.
- Drizzle cheesecake batter unevenly over it. With the tip of a knife, swirl lightly, trying to bring some of the dark batter to the top. Stop before you have too many swirls and the cheesecake part is too mixed.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until the top dries but the center is still jiggly.
- Remove, let cool on a wire rack, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm to cut. I like to eat them the next day.
- Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator or freeze for up to a month.
Half the recipe: use a square 8-inch pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Check at 15 minutes and see how it goes. It's done when it's still barely jiggling in the middle. For the cheesecake mixture use half an egg (lightly beat it and add half; use the other half for scrambled eggs or something similar). The rest of the ingredients are easy to cut in half.
Ingredients: read the recipe first and have all ingredients measured and at the temperature stated. These details are important to get the best possible results.
Pans: measure your pan before using to make sure it's the right size.
When are they done: brownies should jiggle slightly in the middle when you take them out. They will keep baking a little with the residual heat so don't be tempted to bake them until completely firm as they will be, most of the time, overbaked and on the dry side.
Make ahead: these keep well in the refrigerator for several days, always well wrapped, or in the freezer for a month or maybe more, also well wrapped. Thaw at room temperature but don't let them get too soft.
Flavorings: you can use a tablespoon of your favorite liquor (orange or coffee work very well), or a ground spice like cinnamon for a different flavor.
Keywords: cheesecake brownies
Adapted from Breakfast Lunch Tea at Rose Bakery, by Rose Carrarini