Published January 1, 1999.
The secret to moist, but not wet, cream cheese brownies is the correct proportion of ingredients and a touch of underbaking.
The traditional brownie usually presents itself in the form of a thin, moist square with a pleasant chocolate flavor and a fine, tender crumb. Add cream cheese to the equation, however, and these assets become liabilities. When paired with dense, tangy cream cheese, the brownie's fine crumb did not provide enough structure to suspend the filling; its otherwise pleasing chocolate flavor lacked intensity, and the amount of batter did not produce a bar that was thick enough for cream cheese brownies.
We set out to combine cheesecake and brownies in one perfect bar. The ideal cream cheese brownie would be distinctly a brownie, but with a swirl of cream cheese filling in every bite. The brownie portion would have a rich, soft texture that would complement the lush cream cheese filling and a thin, crisp (but not overbaked) crust. These brownies would taste intensely of chocolate, with a tangy filling that could hold its own against such a dominant partner.
We started with a recipe from the March/April 1994 issue, Best Brownies, increasing the recipe by half (for added height), using all-purpose flour instead of cake flour (for a more solid structure), and using a combination of bitter- or semi- sweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate (for more intense chocolate flavor and a softer texture). The cream cheese filling tasted best with just an egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla added to the cream cheese. To maximize the cream cheese flavor, we distributed the filling both within and atop the brownies.list of recipes