Monday, July 10, 2017

Baker's Corner: Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies

I am a self-confessed chronic lurker on Instagram. It is solely food that I stalk with an unshakable obsession. What else can I say folks - good old-fashioned food porn is what I seek! 😂  For novice cooks, IG is a reservoir of basic and easy cooking videos and recipes and for the more experienced cooks, it is a great platform to get introduced to complex and luxe dishes using fancy ingredients. For me, most of the inspiration to try out new recipes comes from there.

So, one day, I saw a gorgeous image of Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies on the feed of The Kitchn and it was love at first sight! It appeared like a work of art and the colors and textures just made perfect sense to me. Brownies are always in huge demand in my home, I love cheesecake in any form and after raspberries, blackberries are my favourite kind of berry. So of course I was going to try this recipe!

I was up relatively early on a Saturday morning. I peeked into my kids room and was relieved to note that they were still sound asleep. I headed to the kitchen and got started on making these brownies. The recipe turned out to be undemanding and even at my own leisurely pace, I was done with making the blackberry puree, the brownie layer and the cheesecake layer by the time they started to stir. After that, they of course wanted to see what the fuss was in the kitchen and "help" me finish (what they described as) the "pink cake" 😄  I did the swirling of the blackberry puree over the cheesecake layer as my girls intently watched over me (with rather unhelpful inputs may I add).

I didn't follow the original recipe but tweaked a few recipes and made my own version. The brownies completely met my expectations in terms of taste and texture. The rich fudgy chocolate brownie, the creamy decadent cheesecake and the berrylicious puree which not only added gorgeous color but also sweetened the cheesecake layer all made perfect sense together.

I wasn't sure if my three-year olds would appreciate the dessert but much to my surprise, they polished off one and then immediately demanded for another one. Since that day, they have been eager to finish their dinner so that they can eat a small piece of "byownie" for dessert 😂  It is safe to say that they liked it very much indeed 😊  My husband gave it the thumb's up too so I was glad to have given this recipe a go.

If you are a fan of anything chocolate and/or cheesecake and you love berries as well then this dessert will have to go on your to-do list right away.

Go make folks!

Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies

Preparation time: 45 min; Baking time: 45 min; Chilling time: 2-3 hours
Total time: ~5-6 hours
Makes: 16 medium-sized brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: Adapted from various sources


For the fudgy cocoa brownie:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and HOT
1 tablespoon cooking oil (such as olive oil or coconut oil)
1 cup fine granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose (or plain) flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the blackberry puree:
6 oz (170 gm) fresh or frozen blackberries
¼ cup granulated white sugar

For the cheesecake:
8 ounces (230 gm or 1 cup) full-fat cream cheese, softened
¼ cup greek yogurt
1 large egg, room temperature
¼ cup sugar


For the fudgy chocolate brownie:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Keep all the ingredients for the brownie ready.

2. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper (or baking paper); set aside.

3. Heat the butter carefully. Combine hot melted butter, oil and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl.

4. Whisk well for about a minute. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until lighter in colour (another minute).

5. Sift in flour, cocoa powder and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined (do NOT over beat as doing so will affect the texture of your brownies).

6. Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top out evenly. Tap a few times on the counter.

7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the centre of the brownies in the pan no longer jiggles and is just set to the touch. We are looking for the brownie to be slightly underbaked. Whatever you do, do NOT overbake!

8. Set aside to cool.

For the blackberry puree:

1. While the brownie is baking, cook the blackberry puree by combining the blackberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Use a whisk or spoon to help break down the blackberries. Once cooked, place a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl and, using a spatula, squeeze through all of the liquid and dispose of the solids.

2. Let cool to room temperature. I tend to keep it in the refrigerator until I need it.

For the cheesecake:

1. Combine all cheesecake ingredients in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Cream for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl at the start of the whisking to make sure all the ingredients are uniformly incorporated.

2. Pour over brownie batter, spreading evenly to the edges.

3. Add well-spaced drops of the blackberry puree on top of the cheesecake batter and swirl using a knife, or toothpick.

4. Bake 350°F (175°C) for about 25 min or slightly more until the cheesecake begins to set and a knife inserted in the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean.

5. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack, then cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or until the bars are completely chilled. I usually chill it overnight. Using a very sharp knife, cut into equal sized squares.

6. Enjoy!

  • Don't worry that the brownie layer will get overbaked because it goes into the oven twice. The first time we underbake it slightly and the second time it doesn't bake much because of the cheesecake layer on top
  •  The sugar content in this recipe may seem a bit much on the whole but I felt it was just right in the end (and I am someone who doesn't like my desserts too sweet)
  • You can use raspberries or blueberries instead of blackberries in this recipe
  • If you don't get fresh berries, you can also swirl any berry jam of choice
  • Store brownies in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days


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