Cream Cheese Brownies
on Feb 09, 2023
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Made with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder, these cream cheese brownies are perfectly fudgy and rich. They have Oreo cookies mixed into the marbled batter and decorating the tops of these easy bar cookies.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Brownie Recipe
Classic brownies are always good, but this cream cheese swirl is everything. The contrast of rich chocolate and tangy cheesecake is wonderful. It’s a simple way to dress up standard brownies. All that it requires is a few extra ingredients and a second bowl.
These fudgy brownies turn out thick. Baked in a 9-inch square pan, the baked brownies are 1 inch thick. With the contrast and swirl, they worthy of a bakery display.
They have Oreos too. As if brownie and cheesecake weren’t enough, I scatter broken Oreos into the batter and then add more on top before the pan goes into the oven. These brownies give you hints of cookies and cream cheesecake.
This is what you need:
- Chocolate: For these brownies, I use bittersweet chocolate, which has a higher percentage of cacao. It’s dark, intense and rich.
- Butter: Like most baking recipes, use unsalted butter. Cut it into cubes before you melt it with the chocolate, rather than leaving it in a half stick.
- Cream cheese: You have to use full fat cream cheese. Let it sit out a room temperature, so it is soft and will easily mix with the rest of the cheesecake swirl ingredients.
- Cocoa powder adds even more chocolate flavor to the brownies. They are a supporting player to the bittersweet chocolate.
- Granulated sugar sweetens the brownie and cheesecake batters.
- Eggs: The recipe calls for using large eggs. Three are in the brownies, and 1 is in the cheesecake swirl. It helps if you let them sit out, so they aren’t fridge cold when you are ready to stir them in.
- Vanilla extract is subtle, but it still layers in something else to the rich chocolaty taste of the brownies.
- Salt in baked goods actually enhances their overall flavor.
- Flour: The recipe uses all-purpose flour.
- Oreos are a fantastic finishing touch. I love seeing them when you slice into the brownies.
How To Make Cream Cheese Brownies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
1. Melt the butter and chocolate. Put them in a bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water. Occasionally stir the butter and chocolate to distribute the heat and help them melt. Take the bowl off the heat.
2. Stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt.
3. Beat the eggs into the brownie batter.
4. Gently stir in the flour. You should not be able to see any streaks of it in the batter.
5. Make the cheesecake swirl. With an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and an egg until smooth. You can do this with a whisk, but then you really need the cream cheese to be very soft.
6. Spoon brownie batter and cream cheese mixture into the prepared pan. Alternate them as you sprinkle in half the Oreo cookies.
7. Swirl the batters together using a knife. You can do this in a figure-8 motion. Then do some smaller swirls here and there. Press the rest of the Oreos on top.
8. Bake the brownies until they are just set in the middle. This will take 30-35 minutes. You want them to be fudgy and not over baked.
How To Cut Brownies
Wait to cut the brownies until they have cooled completely, or they will get pretty messy. Then use a chef’s knife, not a serrated knife, and make cuts going straight down. Avoid a sawing motion. I like to wipe off the knife in between slices. Also, it helps to use a metal ruler for a straightedge to get even squares. That level of precision is up to you.
Serving Cheesecake Brownies
As mentioned, these brownies are a rich treat. There is no need for anything on the side except maybe a glass of milk. I usually cut them into 16 squares, but you can cut them smaller if you are serving them to a bigger group. They are great for Super Bowl Sunday, bake sales or whenever you need an exciting dessert that’s easy to make.
Leftovers & Storing
You can store the brownies in an airtight container up to 4 days at room temperature. The Oreos on top will soften the longer they are saved. You can also freeze the brownies up to 1 month. Wrap them before you put them in the freezer. Thaw them slowly in the refrigerator.
The cream cheese needs to be soft, so give it time to sit out at room temperature. Then it will be easier to mix with the other cheesecake ingredients and for it to be smooth.
Don’t substitute the chocolate with another type. This brownie recipe is written for bittersweet chocolate.
Do not over bake the brownies. You want them to turn out fudgy. It is better to under bake them slightly and for them to turn out a bit gooey rather than having dry brownies.
Let brownies cool before cutting them. This will help you cut them more cleanly and into equal squares.
Wait to cut your brownies until you are ready to eat them. Then you won’t risk the edges drying out and losing that fudgy consistency.
Yes. For this recipe, you can swap the Oreos with 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, standard or mini chips. If you want more chocolate mixed throughout the brownies, use mini chocolate chips.
It’s best to melt chocolate over a double boiler on the stove. Fill a saucepan with 1 inch of water. Bring it to a simmer. Then place a bowl with the chocolate on top of the pot. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. The heat will melt the chocolate as you stir it occasionally.
More Bar Cookie Recipes
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Candy Bar Blondies
Milk Chocolate Almond Brownies
Salted Fudge Brownies
Ricotta Cheesecake Bars
Pretzel Shortbread Bars
No-Bake Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Bars
Rocky Road Bars
Did you make these brownies? Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!
Cream Cheese Brownies Recipe
- Non-stick cooking spray
- For brownies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- For cheesecake swirl
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 10 Oreo cookies broken into pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
- For the brownies, place the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water. Use a spatula to stir occasionally until the butter and chocolate have melted. Remove the bowl from the heat.
- Stir in 1-1/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Beat in 3 eggs until they are fully mixed into the brownie batter.
- Then fold in the flour.
- For the cheesecake swirl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 egg in a large bowl until smooth.
- Alternate spoonfuls of brownie batter and cheesecake batter into the prepared baking pan. As you do this, sprinkle in half the Oreo cookies and reserve the rest for the topping.
- Use a knife to swirl together the brownie and cheesecake batters. Do a figure-8 motion with some smaller swirls. Press the remaining Oreos on top.
- Bake the brownies until they are just set in the center, but still very fudgy, about 30-35 minutes. When you insert a toothpick into the brownies, it should come out with some moist crumbs on it.
- Let the brownies cool completely before removing them from the pan and cutting them into squares using a chef’s knife.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Originally published May 10, 2013. Updated: February 09, 2023.