Today is national brownie day so Happy National Brownie Day everyone! I have a few things in mind for this post. First off I have a cute story about brownies, then a great recipe for the most delicious cheesecake brownies, and in a follow-up post a fun video which will get everyone in the mood to make brownies. So here goes…
You know the t-shirt that reads: My aunt, mother, grandfather, (cousin once removed!), went on vacation and all they brought me was this shirt? Well that’s how I feel about my week baking brownies. In preparation for one of the farmer’s markets I attend, I baked a variety of brownies to test different recipes. I baked brownies with cocoa powder (both dutch and regular), then I baked brownies with melted chocolate, I added Oreo cookies to one batch, and chocolate chips to another. While I’d like to tell you it is all documented with luscious looking photos for my blog, sadly it is not! Photographically, this is all I have to show for the week.
However, my scale documented the week a whole different way! Hence why I sit here in workout clothes drinking herbal tea as I type this post! I was so busy trying to create the best brownie, I didn’t take the time to photograph them. At the end of the day, they were all good but very different. My first batch was made with Dutch cocoa and were so rich and chocolatey it didn’t appeal to me. However, my husband loved them so much he took them to work the next day to share with coworkers. They got rave reviews and in this little brownie’s defense tasted much better the next day. The end result, brownies made with cocoa should be undercooked a little and get better with age.
The next recipe was perfect in flavor, the texture was like fudge but lacked nuts for texture. (I’ll be posting this recipe at a later date when I have photos to go along with them!) Another batch was good but not great, and one recipe was a lot of work to prepare so I didn’t even attempt it. I made sample plates and brought them to friends to serve as my focus groups. The results were as varied as the types of brownies I had made. So what is the conclusion? Everyone likes brownies and everyone likes different kinds of brownies!
Whether you like them fudgy or cakey, with nuts or without, with chips or without, there is a brownie out there for you! The one brownie I think everyone will agree on is my cheesecake swirl brownie. They passed the test by 20 eighteen year old girls at a birthday celebration recently – and that’s a rave review! Of course I cheated a little and doubled the cheesecake swirl! (the recipe below is the doubled version) Once you take a bite of the sweet creamy cheesecake and intense rich chocolate of the brownie, it’s a win win! I think I’m going to print up a t-shirt that reads… If you go on vacation to Columbus, Ohio all I wanted is a cheesecake swirl brownie from Splash of Sherri… Bakes! Enjoy!
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 ¼ cups Hershey’s cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill)*
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
(I used a combination of dark and semi-sweet mini chips)
2 – 8 ounce packages of reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature (Philadelphia Brand)
¾ cup sugar
2 extra-large eggs
½ cup reduced fat sour cream (Breakstone)
1 tablespoon good vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 x 2″ pan with parchment paper and spray lightly.
Start with the cheesecake swirl batter first…
In a medium size bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until there are no lumps. Add the sour cream and eggs then add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix until smooth and everything is well combined. Set aside,
Now to make the brownie batter…
In a medium size saucepan add the butter and place on a low heat just until melted. Once the butter is melted, stir in the white and brown sugars. Cook until the mixture is smooth for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in the instant coffee, then take it off the heat to cool.
In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat until broken. Then add the vanilla extract and the butter and sugar mixture in 3 additions. Once it is blended together, add the flour mixture a little at a time and blend on low until just incorporated. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
Spoon a little more than half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. It’s a little thick so do the best you can to spread it evenly in the bottom of the pan. Then top it with the cream cheese batter. Finally dot the top with the remaining brownie batter and using a sharp knife or bamboo stick, swirl the two together. Don’t worry too much how it looks, it will be fine once it bakes.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. These are tricky brownies. Make sure to keep an eye on them. You want to make sure the cheesecake is completely cooked.
Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Then, carefully lift the parchment paper out, and move to a cooling rack. Once cool, place back in the pan and into the refrigerator. After about an hour, you can slice them into 2″ squares. Enjoy!
*FYI … I include specific brand names of products where needed as using different brands will alter the outcome. Once I have success in a recipe, I don’t alter the brand. That’s not to say it won’t come out good, however, it will not be the same as what I have written and can’t guarantee the results.
Check out my next post on holiday brownies with Martha Stewart!