I wanted to bake something yesterday, but I wasn't sure what to make. I put an all call out on The Facebook and got a lot of different responses: muffins, cake, enchiladas, King Cake, Creme Brulee, peach cobbler, cheese wafers, cream puffs, one request to "bake a pie", and then, my bestest friend suggested Cheesecake Brownies. I later found out that she was craving them because they have them at Starbucks and she saw them and wanted one, but was trying to be good, so she didn't buy one. That didn't mean she didn't want to eat one, though. And when you know that your best friend has been working really hard to eat healthy and hasn't been treating herself at all over the past few weeks, well, you would be a terrible person if you didn't bake something for her when she asks.
Smitten Kitchen is one of my go-to blogs for dessert recipes, so I started there, since I've never made Cheesecake Brownies before. And the recipe she has did not disappoint. I had to make a few minor adjustments to her version - I was planning to bake a 9 x 13 pan of brownies and her recipe was designed for an 8 x 8 pan, so I made a 1 1/2 batch of the brownie batter, but kept the cheesecake batter recipe the same, since I didn't want the chocolate flavor to get lost.
Also, I only had 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, and needed 4 1/2 ounces for the batter. I adjusted this by adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder and taste tested the batter to make sure the chocolate flavor was there - and it was! It really was!
1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
3 Oz. Unsweetened Chocolate
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 tsp. Vanilla
1 Cup Flour
1 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
8 Oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Large Egg Yolk
1/4 tsp. Vanilla
Optional Additions: 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips, 1/2 Cups Chopped Nuts (I went with the chocolate chips and I'm glad I did!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter (and this is important - use butter, not baking spray, because, well, butter is just better) a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Prepare the Brownie Batter - Melt the butter and chocolate in a double-boiler. Do this in your mixing bowl and it saves you from having to wash one. more. dish. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, and cocoa powder. Do not overmix, whisk until just combined. Pour this into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
Prepare the Cheesecake Batter - Using an electric mixer, or your arm and a whisk if it's Arm Day, combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Whip until it is smooth and creamy.
Dollop the Cheesecake Batter all over top of the brownie batter.
Take a butter knife and swirl the mixture all around, creating a beautiful, tasty, marbled effect. If adding, sprinkle the chocolate chips or nuts over the top of the brownies and press down a little, to make sure they bake into the batter.
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes. You want the edges to be slightly puffy and the Cheesecake Batter to be almost fully set.
Let the brownies cool slightly (for about 10 minutes) before you take a fork to them. Oh, that's just me, huh? Well, let them cool before you slice them into pretty little squares. They will slice easier if they are completely cool.