A swirl of cheesecake topping gives these brownies a different look, and a delicious, creamy contrast to the dark fudginess beneath. Prefer a simple brownie? Just leave out the cheesecake topping and jump to step 8. And yes, the batter will give that shiny, papery crust we all love.
Fudgy Cheesecake Brownies
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30-35 minutes
For the brownies
200g butter, plus extra for greasing
200g dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids (see note)
4 medium eggs
300g caster sugar
125g plain flour
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
For the cheesecake topping
200g full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 medium egg
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate in cooking
A good-quality 70% cocoa chocolate is often used for baking for its intense cocoa flavour. But it can sometimes seem a little sour and overwhelm a family-style treat, such as brownies. My preference is to use a bittersweet (dark) chocolate of around 60% cocoa, or a half-and- half mixture of 70% and 50%. This reduces the cost a little, too.
1 Grease a 23cm shallow square cake pan with a little butter, then line it with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Make the brownie batter first. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. While you wait, break the chocolate into pieces, then add them to the melted butter and take the pan off the heat.
2 Let the chocolate melt until smooth, stirring now and again with a spatula.
3 Put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl. Using a whisk, beat together until frothy and a little thicker, just for 30 seconds or so.
4 Pour the melted butter and chocolate into the eggs and whisk to combine. Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt into the bowl.
5 Beat together using your (already chocolaty) whisk, until smooth and thick. Scoop about 5 tbsp of the batter from the bowl and set aside, then scrape the rest into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
6 Now make the topping. Put the cream cheese into a large bowl, and add the egg, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
7 Spoon the cheese mixture over the brownie batter in the pan, then spread it into a thin layer using the back of a spoon or a spatula. Spoon the reserved brownie batter over the cheesecake topping. Drag a skewer, toothpick, or the tip of a knife through the cheesecake layer to create feathery swirls.
8 Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the brownie has risen all over and jiggles just a little in the middle when you gently shake the pan. This is vital for a fudgy result. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut into squares. They’ll keep in an airtight container for several days.
Add different flavours at step 5 and omit the cheesecake topping.
Classic Walnut Brownies: Fold 100g chopped walnuts into the batter.
Sour Cherry & White Chocolate Brownies: Fold in 80g dried cherries and 50g chopped white chocolate.
Peanut Butter Brownies: Warm 4 tbsp peanut butter in a saucepan, then spoon it over the raw batter and swirl in with a knife.
Extracted from Simple & Classic: 123 step-by-step recipes by Jane Hornby (Phaidon, approx €34).