Who wouldn't want marbled cheesecake brownies for their birthday? Yep, it's my 20th birthday (: Unfortunately, it's the same day as my organic chemistry midterm in the evening. Buuut my friends and I have already made plans for this upcoming weekend to celebrate in a Chicago neighborhood called Wicker Park. Lots of food and shopping involved. In fact, after laying down the plans for the day, one of my friends commented on why there seems to be a disproportionate amount of dessert involved in the day's planned activities. Hmm...honestly, if you knew me, could you be surprised?
It's at this point now that I'm starting to realize that everyone who's on the semester system is already long done with school while I have like 3 more weeks to go thanks to Northwestern's quarter system. Last year, I remember feeling pretty jealous of all my friends who were free to enjoy the summer, but I don't really mind too much this year. Maybe it's because I've gotten used to it, or maybe the fact that I know I'm going to be coming back to Evanston anyway to take summer classes...and prep for the MCAT! (It feels kinda crazy just thinking about it.)
Originally, I super wanted to make a mini chocolate peanut butter cake (like, an actual, miniature-sized layered cake) to post on my birthday, but when I tried a chocolate cake recipe using a ramekin, thinking that it would actually work...Well, it didn't. The result was more like a chocolate souffle than an actual miniature chocolate cake, so I topped it with vanilla ice cream and served it to my brother and Dad. They loved it, of course.
What I made instead was Marbled Cheesecake Brownies! Pretty and classy. I've always been enamored by the marble effect. It's also surprising that Pass the Cocoa doesn't have a single true brownie recipe (unless you count this pie or this cake), yet dozens of cakes or cookies and fancy pastries.
I hope you all have a lovely day and give these brownies a try. They're moist and chocolate-y, with half-melted chocolate chips folded inside and a thick golden ribbon of cream cheese weaving through the middle. The combination is unbeatable, and it'll make anyone's day more fabulous. I'm going to be thinking of these when I'm taking my (last ever!) organic chemistry midterm later tonight. Maybe it'll bring me luck!
Marbled Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
For the Brownie Layer:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
For the Cheesecake Layer:
16 ounces cream cheese (two 8-ounce packages), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
To make the brownie batter: In a large saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the sugar until mixture is smooth and shiny. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla. Whisk in eggs and flour, stirring until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.
To make the cheesecake batter: Whip cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and flour, and mix until incorporated. Add vanilla and heavy cream, then eggs. Mix until combined.
Transfer half of the brownie mixture to the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Top with cheesecake layer and spread evenly. Dollop remaining brownie mixture on top and swirl into the cheesecake layer using a knife. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until edges pull slightly away from pan and brownie center is no longer jiggly. Do not overbake. Cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. Enjoy!