I made these brownies mostly because I happened to have all the ingredients on hand and I needed a dessert for company. The recipe is from Let Them Eat Cake by Susan Purdy with some minor altitude adjustments for my mile-high location. I’ve put the original in too for you folks who are altitudanally challenged. 🙂 Also, I used full-fat cream cheese – because that is what I had. Purdy has written some of my favorite baking cookbooks: Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too (a healthier baking book like Let Them Eat Cake), The Family Baker, and an excellent high-altitude baking book called Pie in the Sky. Her recipes are well-tested and most are totally doable by novice bakers.
Cream Cheese Brownies
(makes 16, one 9×9″ pan)
Butter or Butter-flavored cooking spray for greasing the pan
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut up
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons (⅞ cup) sifted cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 generous pinch ground nutmeg
½ cup unsifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
¼ teaspoon baking powder (I did not change this for altitude)
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons water (increase to 4 Tablespoons at high altitudes)
Cream Cheese Batter
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Position rack in middle of oven. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a 9″x9″ (an 8″x8″ pan works too according to Purdy’s recipe). Line the bottom of the pan with waxed or parchment paper and then grease the liner.
In a small saucepan, combine butter and unsweetened chocolate over very, very low heat. If you have a hard time getting it really low, I’d suggest a double boiler for melting the butter and chocolate to prevent scorching. Stir well to combine until melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sift in cocoa and baking powder (they tend to be lumpy). Whisk together and set aside.
Place 1 ¼ cup sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in butter-chocolate mixture, making sure to scrape down the sides. Add the egg, egg whites, vanilla, and water and beat well to combine. While mixing on low, add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
In another medium bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat well. Add egg white and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Spread ⅔ of the chocolate batter in the prepared pan, spreading it carefully to cover the pan bottom. Spread the cream cheese batter over the chocolate. This is easier to do if you pour the batter around in small bits rather than trying to spread it after you pour it in the pan. Swirl on the remaining chocolate batter. With a table knife, draw S shapes in the batter to create a marble pattern.
Bake brownies for 22-25 minutes (took 25 minutes for me) until top is dry and springy to the touch. A toothpick inserted 1″ from the edge should come out with just a few crumbs. The center will remain slightly gooey. Do not overbake. Cool in the pan, then cut into squares.