If you love both, brownies and cheese cake, then you’ll really love this dessert. Personally, I prefer to use my index finger to swirl the sweetened cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter, but you can use the stem end of a wooden spoon, or even a table knife. And, don’t leave out the chocolate chips since they make these brownies even more interesting, texturally, not to mention great-tasting!
For the cream cheese mixture
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted for greasing the baking dish
- 12 ounces cream cheese (1 1/2 eight ounce blocks), at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1/4 cup each: granulated sugar and powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
For the brownies
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsifted plain cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 generous tablespoons “Lyles” Golden Syrup (or use light corn syrup)
- 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
To set up to bake
Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil (dull side down for glass, dull side up for metal), allowing a 2-inch overhang at each end. Brush the foil with melted butter and set the pan aside. If using a glass dish, preheat the oven to 325o F. If using a metal pan, preheat to 350oF.
To assemble the cream cheese mixture
Beat the cream cheese with the sour cream, sugars, vanilla and salt, until smooth
To make the brownie batter
Combine both types of flour, baking powder and salt, using a whisk. Sift this mixture into another bowl. In a 2 1/2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter with the chopped chocolates, over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the instant coffee and vanilla. Whisk the sugar and sugar syrup into the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well, after each addition. Whisk in the egg yolk and, when smooth, add the dry ingredients. Using a batter-whisk, combine the mixtures, until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips, using a large rubber spatula.
To swirl in the sweetened cream cheese mixture
Pour half the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish and gently spread it to each corner, using a long metal icing spatula. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture, randomly, on top of the chocolate batter. Pour and spread the remaining brownie mixture, trying to spread, superficially. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining cheese mixture on top and swirl both mixtures together, using either your index finger or the stem end of a thin wooden spoon or a regular table knife going through both mixtures, until intertwined, with swirling streaks of sweetened cream cheese remaining visible on top. (If using a knife, be careful not to tear the bottom sheet of foil)
To bake and serve
Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake the brownies until a toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out with some chocolate adhering to it without being overly wet. (If you shake the pan, gently, the brownie cake will jiggle, just a bit), about 35 minutes, avoid overbaking. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the brownie cake cool thoroughly. Once cool, cover the pan with aluminum foil and let it sit, for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) in the refrigerator.
To cut the brownies
Lift the brownie cake out of the pan, using the overhang of foil as a handle and invert it onto another flat tray, lined with wax paper. Peel off the foil, then re-invert, right side up, and discard the wax paper. Slice the slab into 2-inch squares, using a sharp knife. For easier slicing, wipe off of the knife, after each cut. To best preserve moistness, store sliced brownies in an airtight tin or in a heavy-duty rectangular plastic container, separated by sheets of waxed paper. Either way, because of the cream cheese, store these brownies in the refrigerator. For best flavor, however, bring them to a “cool” room temperature, before serving.
Timing is Everything
These brownies can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, before cutting and serving, if wrapped securely.
As a time saver, sift the dry ingredients days ahead and leave the mixture in a covered bowl, at room temperature. Whisk well, however, before incorporating it into your batter.