Here, in the Test Kitchens at Land O’Lakes, there are a handful of recipes that we all seem to go to over and over again. Double Fudge Cream Cheese Brownies is one of those recipes. This recipe was developed back in the 80’s for a cookbook. It was a hit then and its popularity has just continued to grow.
We have served Double Fudge Cream Cheese Brownies at many events over the years from birthday celebrations to baby and wedding showers. As you might guess, we kind of live and breathe recipes here in the Test Kitchens. We even discuss recipes and all things food during our lunch breaks. Often someone will ask for recipe ideas for an easy but sure-to-be-liked dessert. When this question comes up, the first recipe on everyone’s lips is Double Fudge Brownies. If, for some reason a pan of these hard-to- resist brownies is made in the Test Kitchens, any leftovers disappear instantly. I guess you can call this a very well-loved recipe.
Now, I will admit there are other cream cheese brownie recipes out there in "recipe world," but I will contend that this is the best. There is no starting with a brownie mix here – oh no, we start with a rich fudgy scratch brownie that requires two kinds of chocolate. Yes, I said two kinds of chocolate, unsweetened baking chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Uh, huh, that’s what we chocolate lovers like to see.
Then we swirl just the right amount of a sweet cream cheese mixture into that fudgy delight. Pop them into the oven for about a half hour and out comes pure chocolate heaven. Serve as is, or top with a scoop of ice cream. Either way, the requests for the recipe will start rolling in.
Brownies are a quick and easy to prepare. Begin by setting out on the counter the 3-ounces of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of butter needed for the filling. Let these two ingredients warm-up and soften while you make the brownie batter.
Next, heat the oven to 350°F. In a 2-quart saucepan melt 1 cup of butter and the unsweetened baking chocolate over medium heat. Be sure to watch the mixture and stir it once in a while as it melts. Trust me, burned chocolate does not taste good in brownies.
Once the butter and chocolate have melted into a smooth mixture, remove the pan from the heat and stir in all the remaining brownie ingredients, except the chocolate chips.
Once the batter is well mixed, gently stir in the chocolate chips. Your brownie batter will still be a touch warm so the chips may begin to melt. Gently stir just until the chips are evenly distributed. You do not want the chips to melt completely. Instead, you should still be able to visibly see chips in the batter. If the chips all melt completely your brownies will turn out just fine. But, I like to have little pockets of chocolate in the baked brownies which are formed by the chips that are not melted.
Spread half of the brownie batter into a greased 13x9-inch baking pan.
Set the remaining half of the brownie batter aside while you make the cream cheese filling. Combine all the cream cheese filling ingredients and beat on medium speed until creamy.
To achieve a creamy mixture it’s important to start with softened cream cheese and butter to prevent lumps. That’s why the first thing I do is set the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of butter out on the counter. It gives them time to warm up and soften while I make the brownie batter.
Spread the cream cheese mixture over the batter that is in the pan.
Now place spoonfuls of the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese mixture. You want to have some of the cream cheese mixture showing around and through the brownie batter.
Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes or until they begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. They will still be slightly soft in the center.
The recipe recommends cooling the brownies completely before cutting them to serve, but I have been known to serve them slightly warm with a scoop of ice cream.
Mallory made these brownies recently and, of course, a group of us couldn’t resist "testing" the recipe for her.
Because of the cream cheese filling we recommend storing the brownies in the refrigerator. If you want to serve them at room temperature or warm, just zap them in the microwave for a few seconds.
I’m guessing this Double Fudge Cream Cheese Brownies recipe will find its way to your "keeper" file (or "pile" at my house). It’s the first one in the file here in the Test Kitchens! Let me know what you think and please come back to rate and review the recipe after you have given it a try.
Come back in a few days when Vicky will share a great weeknight meal.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.