Cheesecake Brownies

 I thought that after discovering these perfect fudge brownies, I would never have to make another brownie recipe again. After all, how could I do better than a pan (or two...or three...) of rich, dense, chocolate-y goodness, pure brownie nirvana? What else could I ever want for in a brownie?? How could perfection ever be perfected upon?? The answer to these questions came when I stumbled across this recipe for cheesecake brownies, chosen on a whim to celebrate my friend Yasmine's birthday. Bottom line: iust when I thought that the classic chocolate brownie couldn't get any better, I went ahead and swirled in a layer of cheesecake on the top, and now I have two favorite brownie recipes, which is always a good thing.

Now: cheesecake brownies are not a new dessert. I had seen recipes for them before, but had always thought (stupidly!) that cheesecake and brownies were best kept separate, left to shine on their own. They would probably be too rich when put together, I thought, and more importantly, would a scoop of vanilla ice cream really go well over a brownie if there was already cheesecake there?! The verdict here is that yes, these are rich, but in the best of ways. The tangy cheesecake complements the sweetness of the brownies perfectly, and the brownies themselves are soft and fudge-y, studded with mini chocolate chips to add an extra chocolate punch. As you can probably guess these made an awesome birthday present (is there really anything better than homemade brownies on your birthday?!) and were also a huge hit with the colleagues that Yasmine so generously chose to share a few of these with.

A couple of notes: I increased the recipe by a third because I wanted thicker brownies, but if you want the cheesecake to brownie ratio to be more even, you can cut the brownie ingredients  down by a third. If you do this, you can also use an 8 inch pan, if you'd like.


Ingredients for the brownies:
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips


Ingredients for the cheesecake:
8 ounces  cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Butter a 9-inch rectangular pan. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. When the chocolate is cool, whisk it in to the sugar and egg mixture until it is well combined. Sttir in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the chocolate chips. Spread the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan.

In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons of sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter. 

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting. Makes 20 brownies. 



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