Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chunky Cheesecake Brownies


I may have mentioned this before, but my adoration of cheesecake goes back a long way. The Cheesecake Factory is one of my favorite restaurants, and many years ago I made the (possibly ill-advised) resolution to try every kind of cheesecake on their menu. (Still haven't made it--I keep getting stuck on Adam's Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple. How can I choose apple when chocolate and peanut butter are being paired with cheesecake in my general vicinity?) When my husband Anthony proposed to me 10+ years ago, he did so by composing a giant cheesecake made of different slices from the Cheesecake Factory. He knew I would I would say yes, but the cheesecake didn't hurt. I wish I had a picture of it. In fact, I wish I had a replica of it. 

A year later at our wedding, the wedding cake was--you guessed it--cheesecake! My dear college roommate and baking whiz Brittany generously made chocolate and white chocolate raspberry cheesecakes for our guests, supplemented by plain ones from Costco. Thankfully, Anthony was kind enough not to shove any cheesecake up my nose during the feed-each-other-cake portion of the reception. As much as I love cheesecake, I don't think I'd love it lodged in my nasal cavities.

All this being said, the weird thing is that I myself have never actually made a cheesecake. It all comes down to the lame excuse that I don't own a springform pan. I know, go to Target and get a stinking springform pan, right? Well, maybe tomorrow. For today, I have these delicious chunky cheesecake brownies. Brownie + cheesecake = at least as good as a regular cheesecake, in my book, and definitely worthy of a special occasion like Valentine's Day tomorrow! Plus, if you, like me, don't own a springform pan (and don't have time to go through the rigamarole of the water bath/lengthy baking time/chilling overnight of cheesecake making) you're in luck--these can be whipped up in short order and baked in a regular old 9-inch Pyrex. Cut into squares to show off their chocolate-chunky cheesecake layer, place on a fancy serving dish, and you have a lovely dessert to serve your special someone.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Chunky Cheesecake Brownies
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

For the cheesecake layer:

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the brownies:

1/4 c. butter
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.

2. Make the cheesecake layer: mix cream cheese, sugar, and egg until thoroughly combined. Stir in 1 c. chocolate chips. Set aside.

3. Make the brownie layer: in the microwave or over a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Mix in sugar and eggs, then flour, baking powder, and salt until evenly blended.

4. Pour half the brownie mixture in the prepared dish. Spread the cheesecake layer on top of the brownie layer, then top with remaining brownie mixture. Swirl with a knife for a marbled effect, if desired.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 


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