Cream Cheese Brownies

I have been making cream cheese brownies for a long time, but never the same recipe. I have tried many different ones trying to get what I feel is the ideal one. I don’t know if this one is “it” yet…it was good, but I think I would want to make it again slightly differently, or at least remain open to new recipes. I feel like this type of brownie should be on the thinner side. You want the usual chocolatiness, but you also want a decent ratio of the cream cheese to the chocolate. This recipe came close, but maybe using a bit less in the base, or changing the amounts a bit to use a larger pan (for a thinner base)? Like I said, I’m not sure. I did like some of the technique, and the suggestion of letting the brownies sit at room temperature before you want to eat them (obviously you need to keep them for long periods in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese). And if you’re impatient, or working on limited snacking time with a toddler who still doesn’t sleep long stretches? (ahem) You can totally microwave the brownies for 10-20 seconds to get the freshly baked taste, without it being too melty.

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The other part I liked was the swirling idea. Most recipes have you drop the brownie batter in the base, then top with the cream cheese. Somehow you are supposed to swirl it, but I never got it to look right. I know these are still not perfect in the looks department, but hey, that’s never been my game. This recipe has you put down most of the chocolate batter, then the cream cheese topping, and theeeeennnn the rest of the chocolate gets dolloped so that you can swirl it.

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K said he prefers my other brownies because these are slightly more cake-like. It’s possible I overbaked them slightly since it was a new recipe. I checked the brownies 10 minutes early as usual, but the original recipe called for them to take closer to an hour to bake. Next time I will check at 30 minutes, just to see.

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Directions for Cream Cheese Brownies

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book

Note: You can make the brownie base first, but pull out the cream cheese and eggs first.

Cream Cheese Topping

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat all of the ingredients with your mixer until smooth.

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Brownies

  • 2/3 cup (3/5 ounces) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish with foil that is sprayed. Melt together the two chocolates and butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until it is smooth.

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Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk the sugar and vanilla into the melted chocolate mixture.

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Then, whisk the eggs in one at a time, making sure each is well-incorporated. Whisk the batter until completely smooth.

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Whisk the flour mixture into the batter until just combined.

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Spread about 2/3 of the batter into the baking dish, making the layer as even as possible.

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Top with the cream cheese mixture, again making it as even as possible.

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Dollop the remaining brownie batter on top, and then use a knife or offset spatula (it works well for smoothly the layers first, and then doing this) to swirl the chocolate and cream cheese together.

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Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center is mostly set. Let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

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Directions for Cream Cheese Brownies (without pictures)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book

Note: You can make the brownie base first, but pull out the cream cheese and eggs first.

Cream Cheese Topping

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat all of the ingredients with your mixer until smooth.

Brownies

  • 2/3 cup (3/5 ounces) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish with foil that is sprayed. Melt together the two chocolates and butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until it is smooth. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk the sugar and vanilla into the melted chocolate mixture. Then, whisk the eggs in one at a time, making sure each is well-incorporated. Whisk the batter until completely smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the batter until just combined.

Spread about 2/3 of the batter into the baking dish, making the layer as even as possible. Top with the cream cheese mixture, again making it as even as possible. Dollop the remaining brownie batter on top, and then use a knife or offset spatula (it works well for smoothly the layers first, and then doing this) to swirl the chocolate and cream cheese together.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center is mostly set. Let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

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