I was craving brownies again, and I decided that cream cheese brownies sounded good. I really enjoy experimenting with different types of brownies and combinations of flavors. I had saved a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, so I wanted to give that one a try. These were pretty easy to make. Make sure your cream cheese is soft and at room temperature for easier mixing. I thought these had the perfect amount of cream cheese. The flavor wasn’t too overpowering, but still added a lot to the brownie. The swirling effect is so pretty and I like the way it adds a little cream cheese flavor in every bite. I’d definitely make these again. The only thing I would do differently would be to bake them for a couple minutes less because I like brownies to be a little softer. Otherwise, these were perfect!
Cream Cheese Brownies
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter (8 ounces)
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray, and, fit an 8-by-16-inch sheet of aluminum foil in bottom of pan. (Foil overhangs both sides of the pan; use as handles to remove baked brownies from pan.) Coat foil with cooking spray.
In a medium heat-proof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, melt chocolate and butter in microwave oven.) Remove melted chocolate mixture from heat; whisk in 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla; then whisk in 3 eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue whisking until mixture is completely smooth. Add dry ingredients; whisk until just incorporated.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and egg yolk until of even consistency.
Pour half the brownie batter into prepared pan. Drop half the cream cheese mixture, by spoonfuls, over batter. Repeat layering and swirling with remaining brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Use blade of a table knife or a spoon handle to gently swirl batter and cream cheese filling, creating a marbled effect.
Bake until edges of brownies have puffed slightly, center feels not quite firm when touched lightly, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into center comes out with several moist, fudgy crumbs adhering to it, 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool brownies in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use foil sling handles to lift brownies from pan. Place brownies on wire rack; allow them to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. (To hasten cooling, place brownies in the freezer for about 1 1/2 hours.) Cut into squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve. Whole bar can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, and refrigerated up to 5 days.)
Source: Cook’s Illustrated January 1999