Prep time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes baking

Servings: 14-16 brownies

Brownie Batter

1 stick (4 ounces) butter or margarine

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

1 ¼ cups sugar

2/3 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)

½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Cream Cheese swirl

2 tablespoons butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (or at room temperature)

¼ scant cup sugar

1 egg

1/3 to ½ cup raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium- to large-sized mixing bowl, melt the butter and the ½ cup of chocolate chips for 1 to 2 minutes at half power in the microwave. Once the chips just begin to melt, stir vigorously with a fork until they are fully incorporated into the butter. Set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and butter using an electric hand mixer set on high. Add in the sugar and then the egg. Turning the hand mixer to low power mix in the raspberry jam (or whatever jam you choose to use). Set aside.

Using the same beaters (hey, why clean ‘em if you don’t have to), mix the sugar into the chocolate and butter at medium-high speed. Add the eggs, mix. If you’re using it, add the almond extract and mix thoroughly. Measure and add the flour and salt, but stir the batter instead of mixing it just until the flour streaks disappear. Add additional chocolate chips, if you’re using them.

Lightly coat a 8×8” baking pan with cooking spray (mine is more like 10×6”, but whatever smaller baking pan is your favorite). Pour the brownie batter into the pan. Next, pour the cream cheese swirl batter on top of the brownie batter—don’t worry if the batter seems thin. Take a fork and swirl the cream cheese into the brownie batter.

Bake the brownies for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While these brownies are really good the day you make them. I like to cut them into neat squares and refrigerate them for a day before taking any big bites—the flavors are richer and the brownie moister after a little time to chill.

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