Many, many years ago my best friend and I were roommates in a tiny apartment for about a year. And like most twenty somethings, we were broke most of the time. Before cell phones, on demand tv, DVD’s, and the internet. It was a dark time known as the 80s.
When you’re poor, you learn to make your own fun. We rarely went out, but that was okay. Our weekend tradition became making brownies from a recipe that we found on a cheap can of baking cocoa and watching Saturday Night Live in front of a roaring fake fire from our electric fireplace. If you haven’t eaten brownies in front of an electric fireplace in July at midnight, then I’m pretty sure you haven’t lived a full life. To be honest, it’s one of the best times I’ve ever had. Laughing and talking all night with my bestie while sharing a plate of the best brownies ever. As poor as we were, we were rich in friendship and money can’t buy that.
When I saw that today was National Cream Cheese Brownie Day, I knew right away that the Saturday Night brownies had to be made. I was a little stuck on the cream cheese part though. I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese or even cheesecake usually, but I forged ahead. Most of the recipes that I researched had dollops of plain cream cheese swirled into the brownies mix and I just couldn’t wrap my OCD mind around that. Too messy, I like nice clean layers.
I finally opted for simplicity. A brownie base with a cheesecake layer on top. It turned out better than I ever imagined. If you love chocolate and cheesecake, this is a must try for you. I insist! And Kim, if you’re reading this, I especially hope you make these for old times sake ♥️
Cheesecake Topped Espresso Brownies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp espresso powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9×9” square pan with foil and generously coat with non stick spray. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Remove from heat and add cocoa powder. Mix thoroughly. Add sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time combining well each time. Stir in flour and espresso powder making sure all the flour is incorporated and no white streaks remain. Pour into prepared pan and smooth top. Set aside and prepare cheesecake topping.
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients until fully combined and smooth. Pour over top of unbaked brownie base in pan and smooth. Bake 25 minutes or until edges are lightly brown and center is just set. Remove from oven and cool completely. Lift up sides of foil to remove from pan. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.