I've become a fan of combining cream cheese and chocolate brownies in one yummy dessert. I became a fan when I found a recipe on the box of a brownie mix once upon a time. Having in my possession a brownie mix that didn't have such a recipe, I went online to see if I could find a recipe for just the cream cheese filling.
Oh my! Did I ever find recipes! I thought it would be hard to choose, but after perusing several sites, I concluded that the basic recipe is so common that it probably falls into the category of common knowledge. Who knew?!?
Most that I came across were identical, or any differences I found were insignificant. Except for this recipe. This one looked interesting because it added butter, and seriously... isn't everything better with butter? That said, I was in disbelief that only 3 oz. of cream cheese would make an adequate filling. So I took the knowledge I'd gleaned from other recipes and came up with a slight variation of the above recipe.
First, if you're making brownies from scratch, I suggest using any number of the recipes you can find online. I can't vouch for any in particular as I have my own simple, but fine, from-scratch brownie recipe that I sometimes use, but I wanted something that I could use with a box mix. 'Cause sometimes a mix is just fine. 😉
Okay... so if you want to add cheesecake to pretty much any box-mix brownie, I think this should work for you:
First, make the cheesecake batter by combining the following and mix until fairly smooth:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. butter, softened (do not use margarine)
1 Tbs. flour
Then, in another bowl, make the box mix as directed. For the brownie pictured, I happened to use a Better Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownie mix, but I actually prefer Aldi's Baker's Corner Fudge Brownie mix. Cheap and yummy.
Okay... whatever brownie mix you use, pour most of the brownie mixture into a buttered 9x13 glass baking dish. I didn't measure, but I left maybe a cup, cup and a half of the brownie mixture in the bowl to use later.
Spread the brownie mixture evenly in the baking dish.
Then, with a large spoon, dollop the cheesecake mixture on top of the brownie mixture. Depending on how thick the brownie mixture is, you may be able to spread the cheesecake mixture a bit. But don't be a perfectionist about this.
Then pour, or scrape out (with a spatula) the rest of the brownie mix over and around the cream cheese mixture.
With a knife, cut through the whole mixture, snaking back and forth through the cheesecake and brownie mixtures to sort of combine them into swirls. I like to snake the knife horizontally and then vertically to really spread that cheesecake around, being careful to not over-mix the two mixtures. Again, don't be a perfectionist. Cream cheese marble brownies are like folk art. Every piece looks a little different, and each taste is it's own kind of delicious.
Follow the baking instructions on the box. When done baking, let cool completely before cutting (if you can). Then enjoy!
These don't last long enough at our house to go bad, but if you want to keep them longer than a couple of days, I suggest refrigerating or possibly even freezing.