Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cream Cheese Brownies....

These are not for the faint of heart, they are rich and fudgy. These brownies have been in my baking arsenal since June of 1983 when I saw the recipe in the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday food section. I knew I had to try them and was having a pot luck at work a day or so afterward. We have loved them ever since. They are rich...I find them to be a very adult brownie. They are a must to have cold,  straight from the fridge or cooler. I find them better made the day before you need them. They also freeze come and go. There are those that you bake once or twice. For me ...this one has been a keeper.

I still have the very fragile and yellowed newspaper clipping...I had never seen a Cream Cheese Brownie before. The recipe called to me...
I was just really starting to seriously bake. I had been married for two years when I tried these....they were a big hit then and have been ever since. I do not bake them often...but every now and then they are a special treat.
I usually cut them into tiny squares and put them into mini muffin or cupcake liners . A little goes a long way here. This is a Maida Heatter can not go wrong with her recipes. This may be a little bit fussier than other brownies, but they are worth the effort.This is one instance where the nuts really make a difference...I think they are needed to cut the richness of the brownie.
Maida Heatter
from SF Chronicle Food Section-Wednesday , June 29,1983

Chocolate Mixture
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 ounces walnuts, coarsely chopped

Cheese Mixture
8 ounces cream cheese
4 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Adjust a rack one third up from the bottom of oven and pre-heat oven to 350*. Butter 2, 8 inch square pans.

CHOCOLATE MIXTURE: Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over hot water on low heat. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Beat eggs in an electric mixer until foamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat at high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until mixture is light lemon colored and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted. On low speed beat in the chocolate mixture and then the dry sifted ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Remove and set aside 1 ½ cups of the mixture. Add one cup of the nuts(reserve the rest for the topping)to the remaining batter and stir to mix. Spread the chocolate mixture evenly in the buttered pans; the layers will be very thin.

CHEESE MIXTURE: Have the cream cheese and butter at room temperature. Beat them together in the small bowl of an electric mixer until soft and smooth. Add the vanilla and sugar and beat well. Add the eggs and beat again until very smooth.

Spread half of the cheese mixture evenly over the chocolate layers in the pans. Divide the reserved chocolate mixture and place by heaping tablespoonsful, on the cheese layer, letting the cheese show through between the mounds. Cut through the chocolate mounds and the cheese layer with a small spatula or table knife. Do not cut down into the bottom layer. Zigzag the knife to marbleize the batters slightly: don’t overdo it. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped nuts.

Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan and then let stand at room temperature for a few hours. Do not cut too soon or the cake will be too sticky to cut neatly.

Run a small sharp knife around the sides of the pan to release the cakes, then cut into bars or squares. If you find it a bit sticky, cut the cake into quarters and transfer to a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator or freezer until firm enough to cut into 4 squares.

Transfer the squares to a serving plate, cover airtight with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Or pack in a freezer box and freeze.
Makes 32 squares

*an updated version can be found in Maida Heatter’s Cookies…1997 version.
She makes the recipe in one 9 inch square pan and the recipe is cut in half, baking time is then 30 minutes.

My Notes: You can line the pan with aluminum foil and then butter or spray it…and then turn the pan out onto a board , peel off the foil and then turn it back over again and cut and that is most likely easier.

I made this last batch in a 9 by 13 inch pan....I made them exactly as written otherwise.


  1. Linda, these look so good -- cream cheese brownies are a huge hit with my extended family and I will make these -- probably this summer for the beach house! I always used a Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipe but yours looks too good not to try. ((Hugs)) Regina

  2. I even love the look of the newspaper..
    I am thinking Easter:) My Kids love cheesecake and brownies..I don't want hen pie again..These may sit on our table:)
    They sound so good..
    Took me a while to become a better baker:) Marrying at 20 w/ no experience..we ate Pillsbury turnovers alot..I thought I was doing well:)!

  3. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting dear friends...

    These are special to me...fudgy and yummy...

    Monique...these would be great for Easter...i usally make the lemon tart also...for a crowd both would be super...

  4. These are my go to cream cheese brownies, too...thanks to you! They are marvelous!

  5. Glad I could be of service! Lol...
    Happy Valentines Day Lizzy! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. There is no better dessert than this, Linda. There is something about cream cheese and chocolate that is impossible to beat. If I had a plate of these I wouldn't leave them alone until every single one was gone.

  7. Thanks Kathy..I must admit I have nicked a few little tiny squares from the freezer...unfortunately they taste amazing even frozen!
    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I know this is terribly mean of me but I made her mint brownies years ago and just hated them. Never touched another recipe by her... is that just too childish??? I think it's time I let bygones be bygones and try another since I do love brownies so... yours look great.

  9. Not at all childish...i do not think i would go for mint either truth be told...she has been a mentor to many bakers, including Nick Malgieri...who i love...took a few classes with as well. I made one of his recipes that was a complete disaster for me...the night before Thanksgiving at that. I took me a while to make another of his recipes...I totally understand your feeling.
    These are very fudgy brownies...must be made the day before and MUST be eaten cold...if you are a cakey or chewy brownie fan...these are not for you.
    Thanks for stopping by Deana! Xo

  10. Dear Linda, these look absolutely delightful!!! Delicious photos! Blessings dear one, your friend, Catherine xo

  11. Those look amazing Linda! Wish I had one right now along with my cup of coffee!

  12. Catherine...thanks so much! good to see you! I gope you are enjoying the winter so far!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  13. This is so celebratory and am searching for that - rich, indulgence, saying "love you" with every bite.

  14. Thank you Claudia!
    I am glad you stopped by!

  15. These look irresistible...they seem like they combine the best attributes of brownies and cheesecake...I'm bookmarking them right now!

  16. Thanks Sue...glad you stopped by!

  17. I tried to leave you a message on this entry a while ago - but blogger was having none of it.

    Cream cheese and brownies sounds like a match made in heaven !

  18. Thanks Sarah- Jane....
    Your brownies were also fabulous looking!
    Blogger has been strange lately!

  19. I remember making, eating and loving these brownies years ago, then they fell from my repertoire. Why, oh why? These are worth resurrecting.

  20. Yum. Just yum.

    It is very likely I will try these Linda!

  21. Thanks Stella!
    Nothing better than a cold brownie....

  22. Linda...they are like an old friend who comes back to visit every now and again!

  23. hi linda
    you have some great recipes- i never thought about putting cream cheese in a brownie what a great idea! this will go great with bbq ribs

    best wishes


  24. That is curious and attracking, I should taste one :)

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