One of my favorite coffee bars in Brussels is Coffee Company in the Zuidstraat. There’s a large choice of coffees, cold coffees and other drinks and the interior is filled with bazaar style sofas and bric-a-brac tables and seats. Besides offering some good salads, sandwiches and wraps for lunch, they always have a counter filled with sweet goodies like apple pies, homemade cake, brownies… In short: whenever I’m in the area (which happens now and then, since there are lots of nice clothing shops there) I have a hard time resisting a macchiato with a bakery treat. So one day I popped in and decided to try something I would describe as ‘cheesecake -meets-brownie’: cheesecake on top and brownie on the bottom. Oh my, this thing honestly came close to baked goods-perfection!
So when I was considering what to whip up for my birthday treat at work (yes, I managed to make it to a quarter century the past weekend, thankyouverymuch) while scouring Smitten Kitchen’s recipe page for something to use up the excess of chocolate chips that occupy my shelves since the last baking party, I found a cheesecake-brownie recipe that looked a lot like what I had at the Coffee Company. Time to give it a try!
My square ‘brownie-baking pan’ – actually, this glass pan is probably the most multifunctional thing in my kitchen, it serves for anything that needs to be baked in the oven – is larger than the one in the recipe (8 inches or 20 cm, while mine is 25). So I multiplied the quantities by 1.5, and also changed the sugar ratios since I don’t have unsweetened chocolate (I don’t think it’s sold in Belgium, since well, Belgians only buy tasty chocolate). The original recipe can be found here. Here’s mine!
(Note afterward: It turned out quite well, but I might have to try with a larger proportion of cheesecake in the future. Let me know if you have your own favorite recipe!)
170 grams butter
120 grams dark chocolate (chips)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
400 grams cream cheese (Philadelphia or the likes)
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
dark chocolate chips to ‘scatter’ over the batter
Preheat the oven 175 degrees Celsius and butter a square 25 cm baking pan. Melt chocolate and butter together on low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Sieve and whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan. So much for the brownies!
Mix the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla until fluid for the cream cheese part. Pour over the brownie batter. Now, take a small spoon/spatula/knife with round tip and ‘scoop’ into the brownie batter, swirling it around so it turns into a marbled pattern (see picture above).
Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pop into the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the sides start to puff up. Brownies are traditionally still a bit unbaked and moist on the inside, and as I’m still getting to know my new oven, I found it quite hard to figure out how much time it needed. The sides became ‘cracked’ and it was quite inevitable to bake the sides more than the middle in my case. If you’re not sure, cut out a small piece and give it a try, and remember that it will become less moist once it’s cooled. Enjoy!