Yield: 8″ square pan cheesecake brownies // Total Time: 1 hr. 20 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Shortbread, fudge brownies, and cheesecake all wrapped up into one delicious bar.
Hello hello! I’m here today with another brownie recipe. This time, we’re swirling them with cheesecake batter and putting a shortbread crust underneath them. They’re rich, fudgy, delicious brownie goodness.
here’s why I think you’ll love these cheesecake brownies:
- They’re super fudgy (as all brownies should be imo!)
- They’re swirled with cheesecake batter – not just a cream cheese mixture!
- They have a crunchy shortbread crust.
- And of course, I think you’ll love them because they are *delicious*
weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient which can turn your brownies from rich and fudgy to tough and chewy. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
mix the dough carefully
When adding in the flour, only fold the mixture just until no flour streaks remain. Overmixing the dough leads to more gluten formation, which can make the brownies and cookies tough and chewy rather than fudgy.
how to get a crinkle top on brownies
The crinkle top (while beautiful and necessary for a perfect brownie) doesn’t matter as much here since you’ll be swirling the brownies with cheesecake on the top. However – the secret to perfectly crackled tops is actually quite simple! All you need to do is whisk together the eggs and sugar to get them nice, light and fluffy prior to adding them to the rest of the brownie batter. Whipping up the eggs and sugar brings more air into the batter, which after baking collapses, forming that perfectly crackled top.
how to know when brownies are done baking
Fudge brownies are a little hard to tell when they’re done baking because they are essentially meant to be a little “raw”. You won’t be able to use the toothpick test on these brownies, because if the toothpick is coming out clean, the brownies are severely overbaked. The brownies are done when the edges have completely solidified and the middle of the brownies only SLIGHTLY wobble. This took me 40 minutes for these brownies. The brownies will continue to cook in the hot pan so it’s important to not slice into the brownies until they’ve fully cooled to room temperature.
use a metal pan, not a glass pan
You should almost always use a metal baking pan over glass when it comes to baking treats. Glass does not conduct heat as well as metal, which means your bake is going to take longer and you will probably not get any crispy edges. If you’re using a glass pan, please note that your cheesecake brownies will take a bit longer to bake.
bloom your cocoa powder
The secret to getting more flavor out of your cocoa powder? Bloom it! The process of blooming your cocoa is simple. Just mix hot espresso or water into your cocoa powder prior to adding it into your recipe. Doing so exposes cocoa solids in the cocoa powder and in turn brings out more of their flavor. In this recipe, we’ll do that by mixing the cocoa powder in with the hot butter and chocolate.
ingredients and substitutions
For the shortbread crust:
Unsalted butter: salted or your favorite non-dairy butter stick will work perfectly here as well.
Light brown sugar: for flavor and sweetness. In a pinch you can sub granulated sugar in here as well.
All purpose flour: for structure. A 1:1 gluten free flour would work well here if needed.
For the cheesecake:
Cream cheese: the base of the cheesecake and what makes it tangy, rich, and creamy.
Eggs: binds the batter together.
Granulated sugar: for sweetness and helps lock in moisture.
Heavy whipping cream: for moisture and richness. You can substitute sour cream here but note that the texture will be a little less creamy.
Vanilla: for flavor.
For the brownies:
All purpose flour: lends some structure to the brownies and makes them slightly chewy. A 1:1 gluten free flour would work well here if needed.
Salt: helps balance and bring out the sweetness and flavor of the brownies.
Unsalted butter: makes the brownies tender and gives them that melt-in-your-mouth feel. You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted, or a dairy free butter stick (not oil) just be sure to omit the extra salt from the brownies if you’re using a salted butter.
Semi-sweet chocolate: where the main flavor of these brownies comes from! I use chocolate chips as I have noticed that they are better for bringing out that crackled top when compared to using a baking bar. Make sure you use good quality chocolate chips here as this part makes up the entire flavor of the brownies!
Granulated sugar: sweetens the brownies, helps lock in moisture in the batter, and helps contribute to that perfect crackled top.
Dutch-processed cocoa powder: lends a deeper chocolate flavor to the brownies. I love using dutch process cocoa because it has a deeper and richer flavor than natural cocoa, but natural cocoa powder can easily be substituted in here. Just note that your brownies will be a little lighter in color.
Eggs: binds the brownie batter together, adds moisture to the brownies, and is the main contributor in getting that perfectly crackled top.
how to make cheesecake brownies
Below is just a little breakdown with pictures on how to make the brownies, full recipe with instructions are at the bottom of this blog post!
brownie cheesecake bars q&a
can I double this recipe?
Of course! Simply double all of the ingredients and bake the brownies in a 9×13″ pan, or bake them in two 8″ square pans. Be sure to keep an eye on the brownies if baking in a different sized pan, as the bake times may vary.
how to store these brownies
Because these brownies have a cheesecake filling on them, you’re going to need to store them in the fridge. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge, and they’ll be good for up to 1 week.
why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale.
a note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
did you make these cheesecake brownies?
If you made these brownie cheesecake bars I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
- 70 g unsalted butter (5 tbsp.)
- 75 g light brown sugar (¼ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- 120 g all purpose flour (1 c.)
- 226 g cream cheese room temperature (1 block)
- 75 g granulated sugar (¼ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- 1 egg room temperature
- 55 g heavy whipping cream room temperature (¼ c.)
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 113 g unsalted butter (8 tbsp.)
- 180 g semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 c.)
- 24 g dutch process cocoa powder (¼ c.)
- 200 g granulated sugar (1 c.)
- 2 eggs
- 80 g all purpose flour (⅔ c.)
- ½ tsp. salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Butter and line an 8" square pan with parchment paper.
- In a small mixing bowl, melt the butter. Mix in the sugar and flour until you have a cohesive dough.
- Press the crust down into your prepared baking pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown. In the meantime, make the cheesecake batter.
- Add the cream cheese and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer). Beat the cream cheese and sugar together for 2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
- Add in the egg, heavy cream, and vanilla. Beat the mixture on low speed *just until* the batter is cohesive. Set aside.
- In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, melt together the butter and chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until the mixture is smooth.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder.
- In another small bowl, vigorously whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale & fluffy.
- Add the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, and mix until combined.
- Add in the flour and salt. use a rubber spatula to lightly fold the flour into the ingredients just until no flour streaks remain.
- Pour the brownie batter over the baked shortbread layer.
- Pour the cheesecake into an even layer on top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the cheesecake batter into the brownie batter.
- Bake the brownies for 35-40 minutes, until they are set on the edges and only slightly wobble in the center.
- Allow the brownies to fully come to room temperature, then slice, serve, and enjoy!