Chocolate and cheesecake are reoccurring flavor themes in our household. We adore both. So when the craving gets strong I put them together in cheesecake brownies for a rich satisfying treat. This recipe is adapted from Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti, a well-used cookbook of mine.
Emily Luchetti was the pastry chef at the now defunct, yet legendary, Stars restaurant in San Francisco. She has written several excellent cookbooks. I always get perfect results and rave reviews when using her recipes.
My late husband and I had the privilege of dining at Stars restaurant by famed chef Jeremiah Tower during our life in the San Francisco Bay Area. At times Chris and I day-dreamed of ditching our day jobs in the financial district and attending the California Culinary Academy to become chefs. We even talked seriously about it until our left brains took over and kept us practical and responsible. Still the conversation of us owning a restaurant with Chris at the stove and me at the oven continued for years.
Chris was a civil engineer who I always felt secretly wished he had been an architect. He was intrigued by Jeremiah Tower who had a master's degree in architecture from Harvard University, but chucked it all to be a chef. Chris was an excellent, self-taught cook in his own right. Ironically, our son Addison, who is studying architecture in college, often jokes if all else fails he will become a chef. I guess the cooking gene runs in the family.
Jeremiah Tower was one of the pioneers in creating California cuisine. I still reminisce about a memorable meal of roast salmon on a bed of braised lentils I had at Stars. It may not sound revolutionary today, but it was the first time I had seen lentils on a menu outside of France. Fresh, seasonal fare skillfully prepared is what propelled these early chefs to the rock star status many enjoy today.
But I digress. When making brownies I like to line the pan with a large piece of parchment paper. It makes removing the brownies from the pan and cutting them much easier. If you choose not to line the pan lightly butter or oil and dust with flour.
Lightly spray the parchment paper-lined pan with cooking spray.
Drop spoonfuls of chocolate batter over the cream cheese batter. Use a knife to create a swirl pattern. Don't over mix, you don't want to combined the two batters.
Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before lifting them out by the parchment paper. It it nice to have a second pair of hands to help if possible.
Adapted from Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti
5 ounces (144 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces (58 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
7 ounces (201 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (105 g) plus 1 tablespoon (8 g) flour
a pinch of salt
20 ounces (563 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325℉ (163℃).
Line a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking oil. Or butter and dust with flour if not using parchment paper.
Combine bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate, melt in a double boiler or in a microwave on 50% power. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment combine butter and 1 1/4 cups (225 g) sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well in between. On low speed mix in the melted chocolate until well combined, then add the flour and salt. Spread all but one cup of the chocolate batter in the prepared pan.
In a clean bowl, using a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and remaining 3/4 cup ((150 g) of sugar on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the remaining 2 eggs and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the chocolate batter. Drop spoonfuls of the reserved chocolate batter on the cream cheese mixture. Run a knife through the two batters in swirl patterns to create a marbleized effect. Don't over do it. You don't want to completely mix the two batters together.
Bake for 45-55 minutes until the brownies are just set in the middle. Let cool completely in the pan before lifting the brownies out by the parchment paper. Put on a cutting board. Gently peel the parchment paper off the sides and cut into squares.