Another first – brownies made from scratch. It seems silly to make brownies from scratch, simply because the boxed variety is so easy to whip together and always come out perfectly. Well, this recipe is nearly as easy and yields the most dense, moist, absolutely delicious brownies you could ever hope for. There used to be a boxed brand of Cream Cheese and Chocolate Brownies that I loved as a kid, but I haven’t seen them on the shelves at the grocery store in a long time. I remember them having the perfect amount of cream cheese to cut the almost unbearable sweetness of the chocolate, and the mix of textures was amazing. I’ve finally found a copycat recipe for that lost relic of the baking aisle, and you can easily make it at home with what you’ve got in your pantry already. The end result of this recipe will have your friends asking which boxed brownie mix you used, probably assuming it was the ultra-dense Ghirardelli variety, to which you can respond that there was no box required!
These brownies can be made with chocolate chips, but honestly, they’re absolutely delicious without them. The crunch of the chips is a nice extra layer of texture to the creaminess of the brownies, but if you use large chips (like we did), the chocolate chips sort of overpower the flavor and texture of the brownies themselves. Feel free to skip the chocolate chips, or use the miniature version. I think that’s what we’ll do next time around.
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces [800 calories]
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate [420 calories]
1 cup (258 grams) granulated white sugar [720 calories]
2 large eggs [140 calories]
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
~ 1/8 teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup (110 grams) all-purpose flour [270 calories]
Cream Cheese Batter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature [800 calories]
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar [240 calories]
1 large egg yolk [55 calories]
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips [160 calories]
(We had jumbo size on hand, but I think the miniature version would work much better in the future)
Makes 16 brownies
Calories per serving: 225
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a baking dish with Pam for Baking.
* The original recipe calls for an 8-inch square baking pan, but we only had a 9 x 13-inch glass casserole dish. It seemed to work fine with the larger size dish, but the brownies were definitely thinner than they would be if you had the 8-inch pan on hand. *
Fill a small saucepan with ~ 2 cups of water, and then bring to a boil on the stove top. In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, add chocolate and sliced butter. Set heatproof bowl on top of the boiling water, then use a whisk to gently melt the chocolate and butter together.
Once fully combined, remove the heatproof bowl from heat and turn off the heat on the boiling water.
Add all of these ingredients to the chocolate/butter mixture, and use a large whisk to combine well. Whisk in flour, a little bit at a time, until entire mixture is just combined. Pour into your baking dish and spread out evenly.
Using a large soup spoon, dollop the mixture evenly across the top of the brownie batter. Use a butter knife to swirl the cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter until it’s as beautiful as you want it to be.
Sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips.
* As we mentioned in the ingredient list, the jumbo chips were honestly a bit too much and overpowered the flavors of the brownie. You can probably skip the chips altogether if you like, but if you use the mini chocolate chips, it might be a nice crunchy texture to cut the density of the brownie. *
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is set (comes out clean when pierced with a toothpick). Allow brownies to cool completely before slicing and serving.
This recipe was adapted from the original version that appeared in Gourmet Magazine, with some help from Deb Perelman’s adaptation over at Smitten Kitchen. Either version can be found here