Back in the ancient days when a phone meant something with a curly cord attached to a wall and text was the stuff printed on a page I made my first cheesecake brownie from a recipe on the back of a brownie mix box. Cheesecake brownies were revolutionary but also slightly over the top and way too sweet. I made them a few times because, well, cheesecake and chocolate.
Skip forward a few centuries and imagine a swirly, gooey good intensely fudgy and dense cheesecake chocolate bar – marbled together. That’s this stuff. The key to making them really taste like something special is to make sure they aren’t over baked and to keep the bars refrigerated. Plus using an extra touch of chocolate, unsweetened or bittersweet, lightening up on the sugar and not skimping on the butter, you’ll end up with a fudgy swirly cheesecake chocolate bar.
Cut them into small bites, serve them cold and think about how good a slightly under baked brownie tastes. All that smushy chocolate with a little cheesecake smeared in – like a bagel only better.
The more modern recipes circulating on mix boxes and the internet use a giant brick of cream cheese but going back to the original recipe printed way back in 1962 it used not only German Chocolate (way too sweet) but only a few ounces of cream cheese (plus way too much sugar). That was the building block for this recipe – using less cream cheese, more chocolate, better chocolate and less sugar – all to make the bar more intense plus fudgy. The original recipe also used baking powder which would make it more like a cake and not a dense bar.
There’s room for variance in exactly how much chocolate to use, as well as the kind you choose. I liked the result with about 150 grams or 5 ounces of a mix of unsweetened with bittersweet – I used Scharffen Berger Unsweetened and Bittersweet or Tcho or Endangered Species Dark. But you could also use just 130 grams or 4 ounces of all bittersweet or unsweetened and get similar results. The bar with the larger amount of chocolate was more dense and fudgy. I started with 4 ounces of cream cheese and ended with 6 ounces being a better choice. An amount between those two is fine, but the higher amount will yield a richer brownie.
Here’s to a new year filled with plenty of good chocolate good stuff.
|Cheesecake Brownies|| |
- 150 grams bittersweet and/or unsweetened chocolate, chopped (5 oz.)
- 115 grams unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
- 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 2 extra large eggs
- 65 grams Canteen flour blend (1/2 cup) (see notes)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Kirsch or your favorite liqueur (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon brewed coffee
- 170 grams full fat cream cheese (5 oz.)
- 30 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
- 1 extra large egg
- 24 grams Canteen flour blend (3 tablespoons)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 pan with foil. In a double boiler or a bowl set over a small pan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until smooth. Keep the heat very low and when almost melted, turn off the burner and let the mixture finish melting slowly. Remove the bowl and place on the counter top away from the water (and the steam). Stir to combine and let cool until you can touch the bottom of the bowl safely. Add the sugar and stir until fully combined. Add eggs and stir until eggs disappear into the batter. Add flour, salt, vanilla and coffee and beat until mixture becomes glossy and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
- In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and beat until mixture is smooth. Dollop over the chocolate mixture in the pan. Using a butter knife, drag the cream cheese batter through the chocolate until the batter is marbled.
- Bake 10 minutes. Turn oven temperature to 325 and bake 20-25 minutes more or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with wet crumbs but not raw looking batter. Remove pan from the oven to a rack and cool completely before slicing. Use the foil to lift the brownies from the pan to a cutting board. Makes 16 large brownies or 32 small bites. Refrigerate and serve cold for best flavor.