Strawberry Cream Cheese Brownies -Easy, everyday fudge brownies become worthy of a black tie affair when topped with cheesecake and strawberry jam. Strawberry Cream Cheese Brownies make any occasion special.
Friends…I just have to know one thing…do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, how do you celebrate? Valentine’s Day is a source of much discussion in my house, so I really do want to know.
The Sons and I have been having torrid debates over our Valentine’s Day menu. My boys are all about a reason to celebrate! They get especially nutty about Valentine’s Day–insisting on decorating the entire house with red and pink construction paper hearts or heart shaped candy in jars–they want everything to look just so. It’s really quite sweet. Besides, it’s the only time my house can be decked out in pink, girly-looking things without my catching some serious flack from the men-folk. I do my part by I busting out the china, setting the table with a Valentine themed tablecloth, and using real cloth napkins.
Decorations aside, my boys are also pretty particular about the type of food that we eat on Valentine’s Day. As in, they want everything they eat all day to be in the shape of a heart. At first I thought this was just their little way of ensuring that they eat copious amounts of conversation hearts, but no! They literally want heart-shaped food.
I wish I were kidding. As a girl that never celebrated the holiday prior to having children, worrying about the the shape of food I serve is quite a stretch. However, I’m willing to set aside the usual “Eat it or Starve” meal time rule for a day and cater to their request because doing so makes them so dang happy that I can’t refuse.
Last year, we ate heart shaped raspberry scones and pink smoothies for breakfast, soy butter and “red” jam sandwiches cut into the shape of hearts for lunch, and a big ol’ heart shaped meatloaf for dinner. Fancy.
(Yes, I seriously molded meat into the shape of a heart because my children politely asked for it.)
This year I want Valentine’s Day to be a more casual affair, so I’m scaling back a bit. Sure, we’ll decorate in the usual fashion, and the cupid table cloth will likely make an appearance, but I’m forgoing any meat sculpting endeavors. Any resemblance to a heart on the part of our food will likely be an accident–with the exception of dessert.
While I was able to convince the Sons that a more laid back approach could still be celebratory, they insisted on an extra special dessert to mark the occasion. So Friends, go ahead and be casual on Valentine’s Day. You have my full permission!
Go ahead and wear your favorite pair of jean or yoga pants, because Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies are getting so dolled up for Valentine’s Day that after one bite, you can’t help but feel fancy, too.
Sons #3 and #4 were the driving force behind this recipe’s development. They decided which flavors to add to “regular” brownies to dress them up a bit. They also insisted on doing most of the work, which is a lot of fun to watch. Messy, but fun nonetheless.
They were kind enough to allow me to help with the layering/marbling part of the process. Oh, and I insisted on doing the whole put-it-in-the-oven part too. Call me crazy, but I’m a stickler about keeping eager little fingers away from a searingly hot oven.
After the strawberry cream cheese brownies were baked, cooled, then chilled, the Sons had a blast helping to cut the brownies into fun heart shapes. Although, truth be told, I think they had more fun sampling the scraps left behind.
As if that weren’t enough entertainment, Sons #3 informed me that he was going to do the food styling for this post!
He wanted to style food photos for my blog?! Sure I like to have him help out in the kitchen, but styling my photos for all the world to see? This kid was starting to jazz my mojo.
Then he explained that since I always work so hard, he wanted to do everything for the post for me so that I could have a break. How can I argue with that kind of sweetness? So, in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, the strawberry cream cheese brownies, fashioned as balloons, was totally Son #3’s idea.
He offered up a gift of love that is even sweeter than the strawberry cream cheese brownies.
Everyday fudge brownies become worthy of a black tie affair when topped with cheesecake and strawberry jam.
30 minPrep Time
55 minCook Time
1 hr, 25 Total Time
- 1 1/3 C. all-purpose flour
- ¼ C. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 6 oz. Bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
- 1 C. unsalted butter
- 2 C. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 C. granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ C. strawberry preserves ( homemade or store bought)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with a double thickness of aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang of foil around the pan. The foil will serve as handles to remove the brownies from the pan for cutting. Lightly grease the foil with baking lube, or spray with baking spray before setting it aside for later.
- Whisk the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl to combine. Make a well in the center, then set aside while tending to rest of the brownie ingredients.
- Melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate together in a double-boiler set over medium heat, stirring frequently, until smooth and blended. (In lieu of an actual double-boiler, I use a 2-quart saucepan with 2 inches of water in the bottom, heat the water to a simmer, and then set a large glass Pyrex bowl containing the butter and chocolate over top of the pan, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not come in contact with the water in the pan.) Remove the chocolate mixture from heat, and whisk the sugar and vanilla into it until the sugar has melted. Whisk the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the center well of the dry ingredients. Whisk until it just comes together into a smooth batter. Set the batter aside while preparing the cheesecake layer.
- Beat the cream cheese with the sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract to form a smooth batter. Stir the strawberry jam.
- Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spoon big dollops of half of the cream cheese mixture onto the brownie batter. Pour the remaining brownie batter over top of the cream cheese layer, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Drop the remaining cream cheese mixture over the second brownie layer. Spoon dollops of jam near the cream cheese. Give the pan a little shake to settle the batters. Create a marbled effect by running a butter knife through brownie batter, cream cheese mixture, and strawberry jam.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges and cream cheese, but the center brownie portion is still fudgy. Cool brownies in their pan for five minutes. Lift the brownies out of the pan by holding onto the foil edges, and set them (in the foil) onto a wire rack to cool. Once cool, lightly cover the top of the brownies, and refrigerate for two to three hours, or until firm.
- Place the brownies on a cutting board, and slice into 24 squares to serve. Firmly chilled brownies may also be cut with cookie cutters into decorative shapes. Serve brownies at room temperature.
- Brownies may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Food Done Light (@FoodDoneLight) says