27 May 2010

Cheesecake Brownies

(this recipe for the cheesecake and this recipe for the brownies)

I've been baking for birthdays a lot (duh). Cakes are great, but if there's no party, a cake is silly. Cakes are for big groups and should be cut with lots of people around. When I'm bringing a dessert to school a cake is really too much to deal with. I've been trying out different bar things. I looooove brownies but the problem with being the birthday fairy is that you always have to one-up yourself. I worry that I have to keep it fresh!

Thus, cheesecake brownies. This recipe called for a box brownie mix which is totally sacrilege in my book. (I remember last year I made brownies for my boss for his birthday and one of the people in my lab said, "wow, I've never eaten brownies not from a box before!") I used my favorite brownie recipe instead. If you have a favorite, feel free to substitute. This one is super easy, the brownie part takes less than 10 minutes to make, and... these brownies are just about perfect if I do say so myself. Then you take something perfect and add cream cheese and sugar. Ohhhh!

For the brownies
1 cup melted butter
3 cups white sugar (some of the reviewers on this recipe recommended using some brown sugar, but I tried that and don't like it as much)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (or more, I never measure vanilla, I just pour until I'm happy)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder (sifted to remove clumps)
1 tsp salt
1-2 cups chocolate chips (at least 1 cup, use more if you're indulgent, but don't skip these!)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, I didn't use them this time, but I often do when I just make brownies without cheesecake on top)

For the cheesecake
8 oz. bar of cream cheese at room temperature (use Philadelphia! it's the best for baking, seriously)
2 Tbsp butter at room temperature
1 Tbsp cornstarch
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat your oven to 350. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and grease generously.
2. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar and vanilla.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
4. Mix in flour, cocoa and salt.
5. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts (if using)
6. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.
7. Cream together cream cheese, butter and cornstarch in a medium bowl or mixer. This will take a little while if you are doing it without a mixer, so make sure it's very soft!
8. Slowly mix in vanilla and egg, followed by sweetened condensed milk and keep mixing until everything is fully worked in.
9. Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the brownie batter, smoothing with a rubber spatula.
10. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the cheesecake is starting to brown. The top might crack a little. DO NOT OVERBAKE. If you're unsure, just take it out of the oven. These (like almost all brownies) are better undercooked.
11. Allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours) before cutting into bars and eating more than you intended to.


  1. We share opinions on brownies from a box, as you know! I might make these tomorrow - they look fantastic, and I was just looking for a cream cheese brownie recipe last week!

  2. Crap, are you sure you can't skip on the chocolate chips???

  3. Hmm... I don't know if they are absolutely essential, but they kind of melt into the brownie to make it nice and rich. You could probably make it without, but I think the chocolate chips are part of what make these brownies so good! Can you get a chocolate bar and just break it up into pieces? Or something along those lines?

  4. Well, I made them, with my favorite brownies recipe. The cheesecake part I changed a lot - I had a whole lot of leftover cream cheese icing from making a carrot cake last week, and I added corn starch and an egg and beat it, and it turned out great. I usually make really rich brownies, so doing without the chocolate chips was fine. Chocolate here in Chile is... lacking in quality, and dark chocolate's either nonexistant or costs about half my food budget for the week, so decided to skip it.

    Another change I made to the recipe was subtracting the willpower to wait two hours... I managed about twenty minutes, but I agree that brownies are best when you wait a few minutes, so they're hot and melty but not so hot you can't taste them!