Okay.. first off.. I don’t normally make brownies from scratch. Yes, that’s lazy. But, really, I am not a brownie aficionado and I can get by on a $2.00 package of mix.
However..there are a few things that I do like, and one is ‘cheesecake brownies’. There are overly complicated ways to make this from scratch, but this recipe is the simplest one I’ve seen, and it always tastes great.
There are literally tons of recipes for these, but to me, this is the easiest ;)
Easy Cheesecake Brownies
1 package (20.5 ounces) brownie mix * see below
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts – walnuts or pecans
Mix the brownie mix according to the directions on the package. Spread in a greased cake pan (13×9 size pan).
Beat the cream cheese until smooth, and then add sugar, egg and vanilla, and mix just until blended. Mix in nuts. Don’t over mix, or it will have too much air, and will collapse once it bakes.
Pour the cream cheese mix over the brownie mixture. You can run a fork or knife through the mix to give it a ‘marbled’ effect, which looks pretty cool.
Put cake pan in a preheated 350F oven and bake between 35 & 40 minutes, or until the cream cheese is lightly browned. Cool completely, and then cut into squares.
* Don’t use the ‘added syrup’ type brownies mixes – it gets too gooey and won’t stand up properly.
Before the brownies have cooled, and you have cut them, spread raspberry jam over top — divinely yummy.
I like the Ghirardelli brand of brownie mix the best. Krusteaz is the company that makes this brand — (I love their pancake mix, and their Lemon Bar mix (the optional way to make it with cream cheese….ohhh.. yummy stuff).
There are a lot of other things you can do with pre-packaged brownie mixes:
- Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts.
- Mix in the tiny marshmallows and walnuts for a ‘rocky road’ type of brownie.
- Add in a cup of chocolate chips – I like the milk chocolate version
- Add in a cup of mini M&Ms.
- Add in 2-3 tablespoons of instant coffee to the mix
- Use macadamia nuts instead of the traditional walnuts or pecans