It’s always important to consider the crowd when you’re charged with bringing food somewhere. Recently I was to bring something sweet to a lunchtime play date. My cousin Katie was going to be there and she’s a ravenous breast-feeding skinny girl – the other two ladies I don’t know quite as well but I knew for sure they weren’t health food nuts. Let’s be real for a second, though; I wanted cream cheese brownies and this was a great excuse to make and eat them.
I know I’ve said this a zillion times but when you want a recipe that will turn out, FOR SURE, go to America’s Test Kitchen. The only cookbook I’ll buy and my favorite magazine to receive in the mail, it just ALWAYS works.
I find myself often attracted to recipes that involve some cream cheese and it’s an ingredient I rarely have on hand. Recently I’ve tried to buy it “just to have on hand” and I find endless uses for the stuff. I got to baking and to be honest, though delicious brownies ARE available from a box, non-box brownies are a truly simple recipe. Adding a cream cheese swirl was just as easy, not to mention fun (swirls = fun).
The girls were happy, the kids were happy – ATK strikes again! A final tip – though they need to be refrigerated before cutting, I think they’re best served room temperature (take them out about an hour before serving, but store the leftovers in the fridge).
Cream Cheese Brownies
Makes 16 large or 36 small (8×8 pan)
America’s Test Kitchen
2/3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (1 package)
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk
1. Preheat oven to 325. Prep an 8×8 pan by lining with foil, allowing foil to overhang on either side. Spray foil with nonstick spray.
2. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder together in a small bowl.
3. Place butter, unsweetened chocolate and chocolate chips in a medium glass bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each, until mixture is melted and smooth.
4. Whisk sugar and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Cool slightly.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine.
6. Add dry ingredients and fold until just combined.
7. In a second small bowl, whisk cream cheese filling ingredients together until smooth.
8. Pour half of the brownie mixture into prepared pan and smooth into corners. Drop half of the cream cheese filling into pan and swirl with a table knife, creating a marbled effect.
9. Repeat with remaining brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Don’t over-marble in an effort to smooth the top; the batter can go into the oven with a slightly uneven surface.
10. Bake until a toothpick comes out with several moist, fudgy crumbs stuck to it, about 50-60 minutes.
11. Let brownies cool on wire rack to about room temperature; cover with plastic or foil and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until cool. Remove foil from pan and cut into squares with a long serrated knife.
Don’t cut until close to serving. Brownies can be wrapped, uncut, in plastic wrap then foil and refrigerated for up to 5 days.