I had big plans for today: work out, errands, some cooking and baking. I woke up and I went to pilates for the first time in weeks. I was planning on going for a run afterwards, but my legs were shaking, seriously. So I headed home to plan out the rest of my day. Well the rest of my day ended up being a nap and catching up on my blogs and my shows (Dateline, Toddlers and Tiaras and Friday Night Lights… yes I have very random taste). And baking these insane brownies. I love cheesecake. I love brownies. These brownies are basically heaven.
I found this recipe on one of my favorite baking sites, Brown Eyed Baker, and then found the original recipe she was using from Baking Illustrated, a really wonderful cookbook which I happen to own. This was my first time ever creating a marbled effect (using a knife tip to blend the cream cheese and the brownie) and it actually came out better than I had anticipated. The brownies are moist and just rich enough in flavor. They melt in your mouth.
Cream Cheese Brownies
Makes 16 brownies
For the Brownies:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (½ cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with Pam or butter. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 8 inches wide. Fit 1 sheet in the bottom of the greased pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan (the overhang will help in removal of the baked brownies). Fit the second sheet in the pan the same way, perpendicular to the first. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Microwave in 30-second increments at 50% power, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract; allow the mixture to cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just incorporated ( *I used a spatula to fold the dry ingredients in instead of a whisk).
- Make the cream cheese filling by beating the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk together in a small bowl until evenly blended. (*I used a hand mixer. It took about a minute).
- Pour half the brownie batter into the prepared pan, spreading it in an even layer. drop half the cream cheese mixture, by spoonfuls, over the batter. Repeat, layering the remaining brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the brownie batter and cream cheese filling, creating a marbled effect.
- Bake until the edges of the brownies have puffed slightly, the center feels not quite firm when touched lightly, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out with several moist, fudgy crumbs adhering to it, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Cool the brownies in a pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil handles. Place the brownies on a wire rack; allow them to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. If you are in a rush, you can chill them in the freezer for 90 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. Wait until serving to cut the brownies otherwise they will become a little dry.