Cream Cheese Brownies are a decadent dessert mash-up featuring a rich, chocolatey, fudgy brownie with creamy swirls of cheesecake.
If I had to pick a favorite dessert, it would legit be a toss up between brownies and cheesecake. They are both decadent and rich in their own way and definitely satisfy that sweet tooth craving. Marrying them together is likely the best thing I’ve ever done in my life and just short of solving world peace.
HOW TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES
Since you are essentially making two separate desserts, this cheesecake brownie recipe does require a few extra steps. But let me promise you they are well worth it!
Start by mixing the cheesecake filling which is just cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and a little flour to bind it all together. For best results you’ll want to start with room temperature cream cheese and use a hand mixer to beat the cheesecake filling in order to get it nice and fluffy. Set it aside until you’re ready to swirl the cream cheese over the brownie batter.
Make the brownie batter. First melt some chocolate and butter together in the microwave. The most important thing to remember when melting chocolate like this is to not introduce any water at all because it will immediately seize up the chocolate and you will have to start over.
Add eggs and vanilla, then flour, salt and baking soda.
Once the brownie batter is complete it’s time to layer your cream cheese brownies! Spread the brownie batter into the bottom of an 8-inch square pan (make sure to line it with parchment paper to make the brownies easy to remove). Then you’ll add dollops of cream cheese filling and a little more brownie batter and, using a sharp knife, make gorgeous swirls all throughout.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CUT BROWNIES?
For ease in cutting, chill the brownies in the refrigerator first. Place the brownies on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into squares. This will give you nice, smooth cuts with minimal crumbs every time.
DO CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES HAVE TO BE REFRIGERATED?
You can keep these cream cheese brownies on the counter for a couple of days, then in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. They are delicious chilled or at room temperature. They also freeze beautifully for up to 6 months, just let them defrost on the kitchen counter for a few hours before serving.
Whisk together softened cream cheese, sour cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F with the baking rack in the center of the oven. Cut parchment paper to 8” x 12”. Line an 8” square baking dish with the measured parchment paper (or foil) to act as a sling to remove the brownies. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a microwavable glass dish, microwave chocolate and butter together until melted, stirring at 20 second intervals. Set aside to cool.
In another medium bowl, combine sugar, eggs and vanilla until well mixed. Stir in melted chocolate until incorporated. Add flour mixture and stir just to combine.
Transfer ½ cup of the brownie batter to a bowl (like the one used to melt the chocolate) and set aside. Spread remaining brownie batter in the prepared pan. Gently spread cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter.
Stir reserved brownie batter (or microwave for a few seconds if needed) and spoon dollops of the batter over the cream cheese filling. Using a knife, swirl through the batter and cream cheese filling, leaving a ½ inch border around the edges.
Bake 45-50 minutes in the preheated 325 degree oven until a toothpick inserted into the brownie center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for one hour, then, using the parchment paper as “handles” carefully remove the brownies and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
TIP: To accurately test the doneness of the brownies, be sure to stick the toothpick into the brownie portion, not the cream cheese. Leftover brownies should be stored in the refrigerator. Let leftovers stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.