Cream cheese swirl brownies

2014-02-24 18.08.04

Ugh, I get busy for a few months (grad school takes up a lot of time–who’da thunk?) and this blog degenerates into a vegetable and fish party. Gross. Time to fix that!!!

I started this post in March, but forgot to finish it and got distracted. Still, I actually remembered to take pictures this time I baked something, so I’m sharing! It had been a long time since I’d baked anything, due largely to the fact that in January, I shut my car door on my finger and dislodged my nail bed, resulting in a trip to urgent care and a warning about staying away from dish water for several weeks, lest I get myself infected with something funky. Oh, and it was my right index finger. And I’m right-handed. Soooo I was useless. Well, I couldn’t write, type, hold a pipette, or scrub a fish tank, and as a grad student, that’s about all I really do. Anyway, my finger is almost fully functional again and I am starting a new major baking project, which will be detailed in a future post.

I needed to make something tasty for graduate student recruitment a while back. Naturally, I completely forgot that I agreed to bake something until the night before at about 2am. Luckily, I had a block of cream cheese in my fridge, so I opted to make one of my favorite easy recipes: cream cheese brownies.

Some notes:

  1. The cream cheese is supposed to be softened before you use it. I’ve found it needs to soften for several hours (longer than butter) if there’s any hope of making a smooth cream cheese filling. Of course, I usually do not have the foresight to soften the stuff all day, so I’ve also “softened” it by warming it over a preheating oven, mashing frequently…

  2. The proportions below are as of the original recipe. This may be obvious from looking at the picture below, but I tend to think the ratio of cream cheese filling to brownie batter is too high for a proper fancy marbling. I’ve considered cutting the cream cheese part of the recipe in half, but never do it, because it tastes SOOO DAMN GOOD as it is.


Brownie batter

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate (I use whatever I have on hand–chips, baking bars, spare Easter bunnies…)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Cream cheese filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to tree fiddy.

  2. Prep cream cheese filling: In a small bowl, beat together filling ingredients until smooth, then set aside.

  3. Prep brownie batter: In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from head, then stir in sugar, eggs, water and vanilla. Add dry ingredient and stir until combined.

  4. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Pour brownie batter into pan and smooth with a spatula.

2014-02-24 02.01.48

I hear Ed knows how to use a spatula, and may be willing to share his knowledge with a…willing recipient.

5. Strategically drop spots of cream cheese filling on top of the brownie batter. Or just dump it all. It really doesn’t matter.

2014-02-24 02.03.39

The original recipe says to reserve some brownie batter to put on top of the cream cheese, but as I mentioned, the brownie:cream cheese ratio doesn’t really allow that.

6. Swirl it up all artistic-like with a knife, spatula, whatever, then bake for ~30 minutes, until cream cheese on edges browns slightly. Store brownies in the fridge. Also, have some milk on hand, because these are rich and delicious and will make you thirsty!

2014-02-24 02.05.09


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