Cream Cheese Brownies

I made some excellent cream cheese brownies last night, using the recipe from the January 1999 Cook’s Illustrated. The combination of cocoa and bittersweet chocolate works wonderfully. I used whole wheat flour because this would otherwise absolutely no redeeming nutritional value. Eat sparingly.

I love the magazine, but its indexing is frustratingly linear. Instead, I’d recommend either the
The Best Recipe book, which is a compendium of the recipes, tips and techniques, or their online service, which encompasses most everything they’ve done on the magazine, books and “America’s Test Kitchen” TV show.

Cream cheese brownies — www.jimcarson.com, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, 1/1999
Brownie base:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate — I use 1/4 bar of the Trader Joe’s “70% bittersweet variety”
8 T (one stick) butter
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa
2 T vanilla
2 C sugar
3 eggs
2/3 C whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking powder

Cream cheese mixture:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese at room temperature
one egg yolk
1/4 C sugar
1 t vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ pan.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter on low heat, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Stir in the cocoa, sugar, and vanilla. Cool.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, egg yolk, vanilla and 1/4 C of sugar until creamy.
  4. Stir the 3 eggs into the chocolate mixture, one at a time.
  5. Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. (You could just add it to the chocolate mixture, but the baking powder might not be distributed evenly. If you didn’t cool the mixture, you might have some interesting side effects.)
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture just enough to incorporate it. Behold! You have brownie base.
  7. Pour the brownie base into the pan. Dollop the cream cheese in even chunks. You’ll then swirl it gently to distribute it on the top.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes. Check that the center is cooked by inserting a toothpick or butter knife in the center. If it comes out mostly clean (“only slightly dirty” is okay, “wet and goopy” is not), the brownies are done. If not, cook for another 5 minutes and repeat the test.
  9. Place on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Cut when you’re ready to serve them.

2 thoughts on “Cream Cheese Brownies

  1. And no icing! Yay you. Why does everyone in this corner of the world believe that brownies have icing??? And scraping it off is unsatisfactory.

    Oh and you left off the info about where I go to pick up my batch of cream cheese brownies.

  2. Cream cheese chocolate chip cupcakes… they are so amazingly good. And they are always staring at me at my local cafe. ‘No’ I say, I will not add you to the weight I must carry up the hills. But the little cupcake sits there, sad, looking like a lost puppy… ‘No!’ I mutter to myself and produce a few akward glances my direction. Ah, don’t they know the cream cheese chocolate chip cupcake turmoil? Curses on the cook that created this combination! :’)

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