Life is full of tough choices. Chocolate or vanilla? Surf or turf? Boxers or briefs? Lucky for us, the choice between cheesecake or brownies no longer has to be a hard one. When offered the choice between two of life’s most delicious desserts, stand firm. Don’t choose. Or rather, choose both.
In my opinion, cheesecake brownies are the perfect confectionary pairing. This recipe, unlike others I’ve tried in the past, highlights the best aspects of each component without one overwhelming the other. The brownie part is rich and chocolately without being overly sweet. The cheesecake part is creamy, tangy, and light enough to offset the heaviness of the brownies. Combined, the flavors mingle together on your tongue in a sort of sugary nirvana.
These cheesecake brownies are relatively simple to make. They are certainly less complicated than making a traditional cheesecake, and they are barely more time consuming than making your basic brownie recipe. They are pretty rich so you can cut them in small squares to if you need to feed a crowd. For Valentine’s Day you could cut the brownies into hearts with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, or cut them into squares and place each one in a Valentine’s-themed muffin-liner.
Adapted from David Lebovitz
6 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 T. sugar
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure the foil goes up all four sides. Use two pieces if necessary. Lightly grease the foil with butter or cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat.
Remove chocolate mixture from heat, and stir in 2/3 cup sugar and then the eggs. Mix well to combine.
Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
Add the vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
Spread the brownie batter evenly into the foil-lined pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, egg yolk, remaining sugar, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
Place the cream cheese on top of the brownies in 8 large dollops. Use a spatula or a dull knife to swirl the cheesecake through the brownies.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the brownies are just set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the brownies completely in the pan, and then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares (or hearts), and serve.
** Extra brownies can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer. I actually think they taste best cold, straight out of the fridge.