I'm so easy when it comes to falling for foods based solely on their appearance. Of course these brownies have a sinfully rich taste and moist fudgy texture, but they're so pretty too! Just as my cat Niles is drawn to any form of trickling water (so he can ruin a freshly cleaned wood floor) so am I drawn to swirly, abstract designs, Especially when those designs are edible.
Of course they taste as fabulous as they look. When you put cream cheese and brownies together, you can almost feel your stomach rumble with hunger. As I mentioned before, these are moist, and rich, plus they have the lush flavour of cream cheese which lends a slight tinge of tanginess in just the right spots. There will be a lot of dishes to wash when you're finished with the recipe but I found that if I cleaned up after the brownies were out of the oven, it was just enough time to wait for them to cool off enough for a small square all to myself. A well earned reward.
Cream Cheese Swirl
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325°F. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Beat cream cheese and two tablespoons butter in medium bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in egg. Mix in one tablespoon flour. Set mixture aside.
Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
Transfer half of batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Pour cream cheese mixture over, then second half of brownie batter. Swirl the batters together decoratively with the tip of a knife. Be careful not to swirl too much or you will loose the marbleized effect. Bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 45 minutes, watching carefully for overcooking. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours (or until you're done doing the dishes.)