I've hardly used this cookbook and I think I must've bought it because it had a lot of pictures to go with the recipes. Or I bought it early in my baking days and, at the time, liked the simplicity of the recipes. It tends to use a lot of name brands for the ingredients since their companies published this cookbook but I've deliberately taken out the brand names and would recommend you use what you're comfortable with using.
This is the closest I'll likely come to making a cheesecake: as part of a brownie with the chocolate layer on the bottom and the cheesecake layer on top so I decided to use my mini cheesecake pan to bake them in. With the leftover batters, I baked the rest in an 8" square baking pan. The mini cheesecakes didn't quite turn out as I had envisioned. I thought they would just be cute little rounds with an even brownie layer and an even cheesecake layer. Haha. Not so much. The brownie layer, because it had the chemical leavening of baking powder, rose up in the center forcing the cheesecake layer to dome around it. The cheesecake batter was so liquidy that it ran down the sides of the brownie layer, ruining the even layer effect. Regardless though, I like the more "rustic" look of these and as always, taste matters to me more than appearance.
When you combine sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese for the cheesecake layer, I figured this would make a pretty rich cheesecake brownie. Instead of nuts in the brownies, I added mini chocolate chips in the cheesecake layer so it wouldn't be so plain or look so starkly cream-cheesey. The only drawback is the cheesecake batter was so liquid-y that the mini chocolate chips sunk to the bottom. Taste-wise, this was pretty good. The brownies were more cakey than I had expected though but as a cheesecake base, it turned out okay. I tried a piece without so much of the cheesecake layer so it wasn't as overwhelming to me. I think the more traditional way this is baked into bars might be richer.
Read through the recipe first as the ingredients listed are for both the brownie layer and the cheesecake layer and need to be mixed separately in the right amounts.
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
½ cup milk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
2. Melt 2/3 cup butter. In large mixer bowl, beat melted butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, milk, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and baking powder until well blended. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread in greased 9 x 13” pan.
3. In small mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cornstarch until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk then the remaining 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour evenly over brownie batter.
4. Bake 40 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Cool. Chill. Cut into bars. Garnish as desired. Store, covered, in refrigerator.