Culinarily exploring this month’s theme of contrast, I hit upon the brownie cheesecake. It is a delicious, indulgent dessert which is a fine example when used as a study in contrasts. The white cheesecake on top of the dark brownie highlights the tonal contrast. In addition, there is textural dissimilarity between the smooth, creaminess of the cheesecake layer and the chewy, dense brownie layer. When these two components are mixed together, the result is sheer bliss.
I had to mute my “healthy eating inner voice” for awhile and turn up the volume on the “oh this is going to be good voice”, (another contrast for me) turning a blind eye to the nutrition information as I added the 4 – 8oz blocks of cream cheese. I couldn’t help thinking of calories as I lifted the 13″ X 9″ pan taking note of the poundage. However, I can report, putting my inner turmoil aside was so worth it. This brownie cheesecake is scrumptious.
1 pkg. (19 to 21 oz.) brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli brand double chocolate)
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened. I used two neufchatel cheese (a lighter cream cheese)
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla (I upped this from 1 tsp)
1/2 cup sour Cream
1 cup semi-sweet morsels (Ghirardelli again)
HEAT oven to 325°F.
PREPARE brownie batter as directed on package; pour into 13×9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 25 min. or until top is shiny and center is almost set.
MEANWHILE, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Gently pour over brownie layer in pan. (Filling will come almost to top of pan.)
BAKE 40 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen sides; cool. Refrigerate 4 hours.
MELT chocolate morsels in double boiler; drizzle over cheesecake. Refrigerate 15 min. or until chocolate is firm.
You may want to slice before the chocolate becomes to firm or else it pops off the top and the presentation isn’t as nice.
I especially liked the Kraft kitchen tip at the bottom of the recipe: