Chocolate Pecan Pie

Cream Cheese Brownies

Blackout Cake

Chocolate Chip Noodle Pudding

Chocolate-Covered Caramel Apples

Sweet Spot


Cream Cheese Brownies

Tips: These bars combine the best of two worlds--brownies and cheesecake. They aren't difficult to make, but they're perfect for almost any type of gathering (they make a nice gift, too--wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then place in a fancy tin or basket). Because these freeze perfectly, they're ideal for dessert when unexpected guests drop by. Some people (like me) don't even bother to defrost them before serving, as they seem equally satisfying to eat whether chilled or frozen. If you must, you can add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the brownie batter, but if you do you might want to omit the chocolate chips from the cream cheese layer, unless you like a lot of crunch to your brownies (the chips will be crunchy when cold).

Cream Cheese Mixture:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs, graded "large"
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Brownie Batter:
  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 7 squares (7 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 5 squares (5 ounces) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs, graded "large"
  • 2 cups plus 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Line a 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side up, leaving some overhang and folding it back over the outside of the pan. Grease the bottom only lightly with vegetable shortening. Set aside. Adjust rack to center of oven.

For Cream Cheese Mixture: In small bowl of electric stand mixer (or use a medium bowl and a powerful hand-held mixer), combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat at low speed until mixed, then increase speed to medium and beat just until perfectly smooth (you don't want a lot of air in this mixture). Scrape bowl and beater(s) frequently with rubber spatula. At low speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating after each only until smooth and incorporated. Remove from mixer; by hand, fold in sour cream. Set aside at room temperature.

For Brownie Batter: In medium heatproof bowl, combine butter and chopped chocolates. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water; allow to cool at least 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. With large spoon, beat until well-mixed and slightly foamy, about 1 minute. Add chocolate mixture, which may still be slightly warm, and beat in until combined. Stir in flour just until incorporated. Batter will be on the thin side--OK.

Measure out 2-1/4 cups of the brownie batter (reserve remainder). Turn into prepared pan. Spread level, then run batter slightly higher along the pan edges and in the corners. Slowly pour cream cheese mixture over brownie layer and spread level. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over cream cheese, keeping them about one-half inch away from all edges. Using back of clean spoon or spatula, gently tamp chips down into cream cheese layer just slightly.

Stir remaining brownie batter to loosen; place by small spoonfuls all over top of cream cheese layer. The spoonfuls of brownie batter will not entirely cover the cream cheese layer--OK. If you wish, with a toothpick or cake tester, cut through the brownie batter spoonfuls and just into the cream cheese layer five or six times, first parallel to the long edges of the pan, then parallel to the short edges. The brownie batter spoonfuls will have set somewhat after coming into contact with the colder cream cheese layer, so they may provide a bit of resistance to the toothpick/cake tester. This step is optional, but it creates a nice marbling effect.

Place pan in preheated oven. Bake 33 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into a brownie patch in the center of the pan emerges with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake. Note that the brownies will come away from the sides of the pan only as they cool, and that the sides will take on a golden color (the top doesn't brown). Let cool to room temperature, then cover and chill at least 6 hours before cutting.

To cut, remove brownies, still in foil, from pan. Peel back foil from sides. With long, sharp, heavy knife, trim away and discard about one-half inch from each edge. Try using a straight- edged knife and a serrated knife to see what works best for you here. I cut these into 32 bars; however you cut them, you'll need to rinse the knife blade under hot water and dry it frequently. Wrap each brownie in plastic wrap; store in refrigerator or freezer and serve cold or frozen.

32 brownies

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