Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

An afternoon at home combined with a meeting later in the evening meant only one thing to me: that I needed to make brownies in order to occupy my free afternoon and to make sure everyone at the meeting was in good spirits.

The recipe I chose to make was actually my mom's. I found it in a binder that I put together about 5 years ago when I first started living on my own. Note to self: delve into that binder more often because these family recipes are awesome.

The brownies had only been out of the oven about 20 minutes before I took them to the meeting, so they were still warm, and my friends kind of attacked them like a bunch of piranhas---which of course made me deliriously happy. They really seemed to like them! I love how the top of the brownies were flaky, the insides were chewy, and the cream cheese added contrast to the chocolate that would otherwise be too cloyingly sweet. I would have loved to take a pic of a slice of one of these brownies, but as I said these were pretty much hacked apart with a butter knife. Besides, you don't want to get between a hungry graduate student and their food: you're likely to walk away with a missing hand...

Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
Printable Recipe

4 oz bittersweet chocolate
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 oz neufchatel cheese (reduced fat cream cheese), at room temperature
1 cup unbleached sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
non-stick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Melt chocolate and 3 tbsp of the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Optionally, melt chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until the chocolate is melted; set aside.
3. Blend remaining butter with cream cheese until well blended. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tbsp flour, and 1/2 tsp vanilla; set aside.
4. Beat remaining two eggs until thickened and light in color. Add remaining sugar, beating until thickened. Add baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup flour. Blend in cooled chocolate mixture, nuts, and 1 tsp vanilla.
5. Spread half of the chocolate batter in a 8-9 inch square pan (I used a 7x10 pan...odd as it sounds) sprayed with cooking spray. Add the cream cheese mixture, then dot over that mixture with the remaining chocolate batter. Swirl with a knife or a skewer until it makes a decorative pattern.
6. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away, the top is springy, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with some chewy crumbs on it. Serve warm or cool.

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