These blackberry swirl cheesecake brownies are made with a homemade blackberry syrup swirled into a cheesecake layer that floats atop a fudgy brownie. Add a scoop of ice cream, and you have a decadent dessert.
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This is a story about blackberries.
At the end of summer, neighbors invited us by to pick over their blackberry vines. So for months, we have had pounds of blackberries in the freezer.
So when I was planning a dessert for company, it was going to have blackberries. Maybe the blackberry apple pie. Maybe just a crisp. Something simple and with ice cream.
But when we went to the store, the only flavors they had in the brand we love were orange creamsicle and mocha oreo. And, if you know me and my family, you know there was only one choice.
So I flopped down on the floor, trying to figure out what to make since mocha oreo wasn’t going to work with a berry pie.
And it hit me. Blackberry swirl cheesecake brownies.
Sadly, this recipe didn’t use that many blackberries. So if you’re like me and looking for ways to use up your blackberries stash, check out that pie or tart. Or perhaps you’d prefer blackberry muffins, blackberry lemon loaf cake, or berry smoothies.
Or maybe you just need a vodka sour made with blackberry simple syrup.
Tips and tricks
The base layer of these cream cheese brownies are the fudgy brownies from the Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, only very slightly adapted (Panel #1 below). Next, you spoon or pour the cheesecake layer atop the unbaked brownie layer (Panel #2) and then spread it roughly evenly.
Spoon the blackberry syrup on top (Panel #3 above) and swirl it in using a knife (Panel #4), being careful not to go into the brownie layer. You can check out my nutella swirl blondies for more images showing how to swirl.
The most challenging part of this recipe is trying to figure out when the two layers of these cheesecake brownies are fully cooked. If you have to choose, I would err on the side of underbaking.
When they are done, the cheesecake layer will be puffed and set, but the blackberry syrup will still look moist. If you stick a toothpick into the brownie center, you should still get a few crumbs.
You can either butter your baking pan or you can line your pan with parchment paper. Either one will work to prevent your brownies from sticking to the pan. Lining the pan with parchment paper just allows you to lift out the baked brownies and cut them without scratching your pan.
Raspberries and strawberries could both work with this cheesecake brownie recipe. Or, if you want to save time, you could use a purchased jam or jelly, thinned with a bit of water and strained if it has seeds.
That blackberry syrup is beautiful in yogurt or over pancakes or waffles. Or in that vodka sour I mentioned.
I applaud that question! Yes, the base of these cheesecake brownies are my favorite, fudgiest brownies. If you make them alone, consider tossing in a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips at the end.
Yes, brownies freeze very well. You’ll want to double-wrap them tightly in individual portions and then place them in a freezer bag for 3 to 6 months.
Blackberry Swirl Cheesecake Brownies
- 8 or 9 inch square baking pan
- Stand or hand mixer
- ½ cup fresh or frozen blackberries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus more or less as desired
- 5 ounces (141 grams) bittersweet chocolate
- 2 ounces (57 grams) unsweetened chocolate
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (4.4 ounces or 125 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (0.7 ounces or 20 grams) cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1¼ cup (8.8 ounces or 250 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or vanilla extract
- 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup (1.8 ounces or 50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Put the blackberries and tablespoon of sugar into a small saucepan with enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan.½ cup fresh or frozen blackberries, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Cook on medium low until the blackberries have broken down, stirring and mashing occasionally.
- Pass the blackberries through a sieve over another small saucepan to strain the seeds out from the juice. Use a spatula to mash the blackberries in the sieve to get as much blackberry juice as you can.
- Heat the blackberry juice over medium-low heat until it starts to thicken to a maple syrup consistency. Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate if not using immediately.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 inch or 9 inch square baking pan, or line with foil or parchment paper.
- Melt the bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and butter together in a double boiler. Set aside to let cool slightly so it does not cook the eggs when added.5 ounces (141 grams) bittersweet chocolate, 2 ounces (57 grams) unsweetened chocolate, 8 tablespoons (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter
- Into a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.1 cup (4.4 ounces or 125 grams) all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ cup (0.7 ounces or 20 grams) cocoa powder
- Put the 1¼ cup of sugar and 3 eggs for the brownie layer into the bowl of your stand mixer or a medium bowl if you are using a hand mixer. Beat the sugar and eggs together until lightened in color.1¼ cup (8.8 ounces or 250 grams) granulated sugar, 3 eggs
- Beat in the Grand Marnier or vanilla extract.1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or vanilla extract
- Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture and mix.
- Fold in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, and salt) by hand.
- Pour or spoon into the prepared pan and smooth. Set aside.
- Clean your mixing bowl and beaters.
- Add the cream cheese and ¼ cup of sugar to the bowl and beat for a couple of minutes until soft.8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, softened, ¼ cup (1.8 ounces or 50 grams) granulated sugar
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional minute.1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the tablespoon of flour and salt and beat on low or stir by hand.1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Spoon the cheesecake layer on top of the brownie layer and even it out in the pan, being careful not to dig into the brownie layer.
- Add spoonfuls of blackberry syrup across the top of the cheesecake layer. You will likely have excess, so don't feel like you have to use it all.
- Use a knife to carefully swirl the syrup into the cheesecake layer without going into the brownie layer.
- Bake on a rack in the middle of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes. The cheesecake layer will look puffed and set but still moist, and a toothpick inserted down into the brownie layer should come out with just a few crumbs.
- Let cool for at least an hour prior to cutting.
- Because of the cheesecake layer, these brownies need to be stored, covered, in the refrigerator. They can also be double-wrapped and stored in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
If you make these blackberry swirl cheesecake brownies, please comment or leave a rating. Pretty please!
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