I’m guilty of making the same brownies again and again (and I can’t feel too bad about it as they are delicious) but a recent pit stop at Gloucester Services, of all places, has inspired me to expand my repertoire.
I should explain that the service station in question is actual part farmers market, part artisanal coffee shop, so as you can imagine that they weren’t peddling any ordinary brownies. There were salted caramel brownies, peanut butter brownies and the prettiest swirled cheesecake brownies, all of which I am determined to try!
The brownies recipe used for the base is slightly less involved that my regular one, with the cheesecake bringing a sweetness and chewiness of its own. I should warn you that these are not the cakey variety of brownie – in truth, these are so squidgy they could be mistaken for fudge. But that makes them kind of perfect.
3 ½ oz / 100g butter
3 ½ oz / 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 oz / 125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ oz / 75g self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa
3 ½ oz / 100g dark chocolate, chopped, or dark chocolate chips
7 oz / 200g cream cheese
1 medium egg
2 ½ oz / 75g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and take the eggs and cream cheese out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
Grease a 20cm square tin and line the base with baking parchment.
Gently heat the butter, sugar and chocolate over a very low heat and stir. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat let the butter will continue to melt the chocolate. Allow the mixture to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before beating in the eggs and vanilla extract – the cooling stage is important unless you like the idea of chocolate scrambled eggs. Sift in the flour and cocoa and stir until combined.
Stir in the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate – this is the last thing added, otherwise the warmth from the butter chocolate mix can melt the chips and they disappear into the brownies when the batter is stirred. Once these are distributed throughout the mix, resist the urge to stir any further. That way, you get little morsels of chocolate throughout.
Pour the brownie batter into your prepared tin. Give it a gentle jiggle to help level out the mixture. There’s no need to be precise, as you are about to make a mess with the cheesecake topping.
Speaking of which:
In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the egg, vanilla and sugar. If you only have large eggs, separate the yolk from the white and just use the yolk. Don’t worry if the mix seems very wet; it will still set!
Pour the cheesecake mix over the brownie batter. It might be quite a tight fit, so you’ll need to use your judgement over whether to use it all or not. The batter will rise slightly in the oven, so be sure to leave at least half a centimetre clear at the top of the pan. Use a knife to swirl the two so that some of the brownie mix shows.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the sides begin to pull away from the sides. The centre may still be a little jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.
Allow to completely cool in the tin, resting on a cooling rack. The brownies should leave the tin easily once cooled, but if you have any problems, slide a sharp knife down the sides of the tin to loosen the brownies. Don’t forget to peel the baking parchment away from the base!
I sliced these into nine individual brownies, but they are so rich that you might prefer to go with twelve pieces instead. That way you get to eat more brownies!
These will keep for up to three days in an airtight tin.
I’m kidding of course, there is no way they will hang around for three days. Full disclosure: the popped air bubbles in the first picture are because I could not even wait for these to cool fully before turning them out of the tin to slice them. They’re pretty delicious warm out of the oven, with little pockets of melted chocolate, but I do think they are best once they’ve cooled.
Downloadable PDF: Cheesecake Brownies