Recipe for (OMG) Cheesecake Brownies

cheesecake brownies
Cheesecake Brownies - going into the oven

With brownies being a well represented delegation in the somewhat meagre dessert section of this blog, you might realise that they are my favourite things to bake for family and friends. Not as much for myself, because, well, they are decadent. They make you lose any dietary resolve you may have. There's no Pause button here. One brownie leads to another, and soon you are totally overcome by the guilt of consuming as many calories as a small country. 

There's one thing I usually consider before sinking my teeth into something totally sinful. 

"Is it going to be worth it?"

This brownie ticks all the boxes as far as culinary debauchery goes. 
Butter, yes. 
Sugar, yes. 
And to top all of it, cream cheese! 

I don't bring to you a healthy or low cal brownie here, but you bite into one small piece, and I can promise you it is going to be worth it. You bake this for your family or friends this festive season, and they will remember this for a long long time. It is THAT good. 
And yes, the marbled effect makes it quite a stunning piece of dessert. 


cheesecake brownies
Cheesecake Brownies out of the oven


Here's the recipe for these Oh My God, Cheesecake Brownies, partly adapted from Bon Appetit website.


cheesecake brownie
Sorry, shady phone pic, it tastes WAYY better that it looks :) Going to try and replace this with a worthy pic soon.


Recipe for Cheesecake Brownies or Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 smaller bite sized pieces
Preparation time - around 20 minutes
Baking time - around 45 minutes
Cooling time - 3-4 hours

Ingredients
110 grams unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (use a 100 gram slab + 2 tsp)
1 cup sugar (granulated is fine)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup all purpose flour (maida)

For cream cheese swirls / cheesecake topping
200 grams cream cheese (kept at room temperature)*
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions
Preheat oven at 160°C. 
Line a 8" square glass or aluminium tin with baking paper or foil and grease with a pinch of butter. Keep aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low-medium heat.
In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, salt with a fork, combining them.
To this add the slightly cooled melted butter in a stream, whisking them well together.
Add the vanilla and mix well.
Add the eggs one by one and beat well to combine after each egg.
Finally add the flour and gently combine into the batter. Do not overmix or beat at this stage. 
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, reserving around 1/4 cup batter for the swirls.

Using an electric beater or a hand-beater, mix all ingredients for the cheesecake topping well, until these are no lumps and sugar is mixed well. Scrape this onto the brownie layer, smoothen out with the back of a spatula or wet spoon.

Place small spoonfuls of reserved brownie batter at intervals (leaving some space between each spoonful) on top of the cheesecake layer. If the brownie batter feels a bit thick, use 2-3 tsp of milk or water to loosen up, so it is easier to swirl. Using a skewer or toothpick swirl the brownie layer into the cheesecake layer by drawing circles on the batter or any other pattern.

Bake at 160°C for around 45 minutes or until the cream cheese looks baked to slightly golden and a toothpick comes out nearly clean with some crumbs. 

At this stage the top layer will feel a little un-set and jiggly. This must be refrigerated for minimum of 3-4 hours (overnight is best), and it will harden up, well enough to cut cleanly. You can remove it from the pan, along with the foil and refrigerate it, after chilling, the foil can be peeled off easily.
 Cut into 16 or 32 pieces. The brownies get fudgier if you store them in an airtight box in the freezer.

The slight sourness of the cream cheese pairs beautifully with the sweet brownie layer. You can also cut down the cream cheese layer by half, reduce baking time slightly, and it would still work well.

*I used Britannia cream cheese which is fairly easily available in most supermarkets in Indian cities.

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