Dessert gets a dose of fruit jam in these strawberry cheesecake swirl brownies. Make a batch the next time you need a sweet treat.
Sometimes I feel like I’m in too much of a rut. Living in a house with children is akin to taking on multiple Sisyphean tasks each week.
By the time I eat breakfast, exercise, and shower, it feels like half the day is gone and I only have three solid hours to work before school is over and I need to retrieve my older son.
That’s not even including the days I head to the grocery store (which feels like every day), the time I spend on doing laundry, washing dishes, or putting away random things.
Days like these call for brownies.
Brownies are one of the first things many of us learn how to make — they were even included in my junior high home ec class — but they still always feel like a special treat.
These strawberry cheesecake brownies are one of my favorite varieties, because I love figuring out more ways to include strawberries into things.
They are the perfect texture for me, smack in the middle between cakey and fudgey, with the lovely tang from cream cheese playing off the chocolate.
How to make a cheesecake swirl
The “hardest” part of making strawberry cheesecake brownies is making a perfect swirl with the jammy cream cheese. I say “hardest” because i t is actually really easy.
Once the brownie batter is in the pan, smooth it out to the edges. Use a spoon to dollop spoonfuls of the jam-cream cheese mixture evenly across the top of the batter.
Grab a butter knife and run it back and forth through the batter and the dollops of cream cheese.
I do swirls from all sides of the pan to mix it more, but you can do as much or as little as you like.
You can also just evenly spread on the cream cheese mixture and skip the swirl.
Either way, you’ll get a cheesecake layer baked onto the top of the brownies, adding flair to this everyday treat.
Can I use a different jam instead of strawberry?
Yes! You can use any flavor of jam or jelly that you prefer.
Berry flavors work best when pairing with the chocolate of the brownies, but feel free to experiment.
Blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and cherry are all good choices. Pear jam is also delicious with chocolate, but may be harder to find.
Don’t want to bother with fruit? Mix the cream cheese with ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla instead and spread that on.
What kind of chocolate do I need for brownies?
You’ve probably seen brownie recipes that call for just melted chocolate, just cocoa powder, or a mix of both.
This recipe uses melted chocolate, which gives the final brownie a great fudgy but not gooey texture.
I like to buy Baker’s chocolate, because it comes in 4-ounce packages and breaks into smaller pieces easily. Chocolate chips also work!
While I recommend semi-sweet chocolate for this recipe, you can swap in your favorite from “German sweet” to milk chocolate to dark chocolate.
Do not use unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder in this recipe in place of the chocolate, as the brownies will turn out bitter.
Can I freeze brownies?
One of the great things about brownies is that they store well.
If you’re not eating these brownies the same or next day, I recommend you store them in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese on top.
They’re delicious cold, or pop them into the microwave for just a few seconds.
Brownies can be frozen for long-term storage.
Wrap each brownie individually in freezer paper, then tuck into a freezer-safe container such as a zip-top bag.
When you’re ready to enjoy a brownie, remove from the freezer and warm in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Or, let come to room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup strawberry jam
- Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a square baking pan, or line with parchment, leaving an overhang on both sides for easy removal.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Remove pan from heat and whisk in chocolate until melted and mixture is smooth.
- Pour chocolate mixture into a large bowl and mix in espresso powder and sugar.
- Beat eggs in a small bowl and then slowly whisk in to ensure the mixture (which might be still warm from the stove) does not cook the eggs. Whisk in vanilla.
- Stir in salt and flour until well-blended.
- In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and jam until smooth.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth to the edges. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top, then, using a butter knife, gently swirl by moving the knife back and forth across the batter.
- Baked for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 brownie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 112mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g