Raspberry + Cream Cheese = Decadent Brownies
The other day I made chocolate raspberry brownies for a get-together with friends. Here’s the problem: with the dark color of the brownie batter and the equally dark color of the raspberry jam swirled into the batter these looked like your standard brownies. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a regular brownie—I could eat them all day (I shouldn’t, of course, but if you forced me—or asked–I’d be happy to).
But part of the experience of eating dessert should be a bit of visual appeal, right? So I set out to find a brownie that would show off the raspberry punch without adding too much extra work. While I wanted to stick strictly with raspberry jam, there’s just no way to lighten the color without a little help…enter cream cheese. My oldest daughter loves cream cheese swirled brownies, why not raspberry cream cheese? I used my standard brownie recipe and added a cream cheese swirl that I spiked with raspberry yumminess.
The finished brownies didn’t necessarily scream—“Hey there’s raspberry in here!,” but with baked on swirls the brownies did hint there’s more than just chocolate inside. I will say, the cream cheese does take out a bit of the tart flavor and fruitiness of the raspberry jam but in return it gives a richness and creaminess it didn’t have before. The recipe also passed the “asking-for-seconds” test. Of course, where chocolate is concerned I haven’t had my kids not ask for seconds, but hey, they still passed.
If raspberry’s not your favorite flavor you can use just about any jam to perk up the cream cheese (although grape wouldn’t be my top choice). Apricot, strawberry, mixed berry, any would make for a tasty brownie.
Prep time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes baking
Servings: 14-16 brownies
1 stick (4 ounces) butter or margarine
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
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
1/3 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.