I chose this recipe to try out because I had every intention of adding red food coloring to the brownie batter and making these red velvet cheesecake brownie bites. Wouldn’t that have been pretty as a holiday sweet treat? Alas, I was so intent on making them and moving on to the next thing that I mixed them up as is and forgot to add the food coloring. So instead, these became (or stayed) regular brownie cheesecake bites.
I had someone ask me once why I make “cheesecake stuff” when I don’t like cheesecake. I tried to explain I actually don’t mind if the cheesecake part is swirled into a brownie or something else equally dominating and the cheesecake only has a supporting role. Plus, for reasons unknown to me, I buy the Costco pack of cream cheese every so often and I need to do something with them that doesn’t involve making an actual cheesecake. They just looked baffled. Yes, apparently I am inexplicable.
In any case, these looked pretty in the picture from the blog I got the recipe from. My own brownie cheesecake bites did not turn out so well. You don’t know how many pictures I took at various angles trying to find a halfway decent shot. The problem was I didn’t line the mini muffin tins with any liners so the bites were hard to take out of the tins without causing them to become misshapen. If I took them out too soon, the cheesecake swirls were too delicate and the bites broke apart. If I let them cool for too long, the brownie part stuck to the sides of the muffin tin cavities. There was just no winning.
Fortunately, as deformed as some of them ended up being, they actually tasted pretty good. The brownie part was moist and I only took a taste test of the one that had the least amount of cheesecake swirl. Ha. The dark chocolate richness of the brownie was complemented by the sweet tang of the cheesecake part. Baking them as minis was also a good call. I think if you tried to bake these as regular size “cupcakes”, they’d be a bit too large of a portion. Remember, you want to exit the holiday season with your clothes still fitting reasonably well.
1¼ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the Cheesecake Swirl
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin tin (or 2 tins, depending on the size) with cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add the warm melted butter to the dry ingredients, add the vanilla extract, and mix until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. (I know this is tiring for those of you with very little upper body strength, but you can do it!) When the batter looks thick and shiny, add the flour and mix until it’s well incorporated. Fold the chocolate chips into the brownie batter and briefly set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the cheesecake swirl.
- Spoon about a tablespoon of brownie batter into the well sof the prepared mini-muffin tin(s). Add a dollop (about ½ tablespoon) of the cheesecake swirl batter to each well. Use a knife to swirl the cheesecake into the brownie batter.
- Transfer your brownie bites to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (I baked these at a very high altitude and they took about 20 minutes, but I recommend checking yours after 15 for safety’s sake.)
- Allow your brownie bites to cool completely before removing them from the muffin-tin.