Cookie Butter Cheesecake Brownie Sandwiches
Yes, you read it right: creamy cookie butter cheesecake – sandwiched between two fudgy layers of brownie perfection. This deliciousness is even better than it looks and oh my heavens, doesn’t it look good?!
This week I am cooking to impress! Our family has the rare opportunity and privilege of hosting 4 college guys. These fellas are busy all day working hard as camp counselors at a nearby summer church camp & I am working to re-energize them with mounds of man food.
In hopes of hitting a dessert home run with our guests, I went straight to my “hardest to please kiddo” looking for suggestions. He immediately smirked and said “Texas Sheet Cake?”, knowing we had just whipped up 2 of these ((our most favorite)) cakes in the last 48 hours.
I shook my head no — I just couldn’t do it. I don’t want to get tired of eating that rock star dessert. He threw out a few more ideas, all store bought. Hey, one thing about me — I am not a store bought kind of girl, if I can help it!
Finally, he said “What about those cheesecake brownies you make?”. And with those simple words – the idea for this dessert super star was born. All thanks to Kade.
I have shared my favorite brownie recipe a few different times. If you are new to Food for a Year, you may not know this, but the lady-folk in my family are brownie professionals. Yes, some people have a family history in the railroad, others came here on the Mayflower, some are related to Abe or George … but me? I am proud to say that I come from a long line of brownie baking professionals.
Yes, my aunt (Kathy) won the blue ribbon at the county fair for her brownie baking skills. Mom, and their other sister (Patti) have the same talent. They all acquired these skills from my grandma (who happens to be their mom). AND as the final stamp of professional brownie baking authentication: my grandma’s grandma’s last name was SEE. As in See’s Chocolates & Chocolate Candy. Yes, I am related to the creme de la creme of chocolate royalty… See’s Candies. ((I get most of my self esteem from this by the way, haha.))
Now that I have substantiated my boss brownie pedigree, let’s move on.
The key to amazing brownies is “K.I.S.S.” keep it simple Sam. We ladies stick to a short list of ingredients:
- pure cane sugar
- cocoa powder
The magic happens in modifying the quantities of these ingredients in order to reach a perfectly dense, fudgy ((not too cakey, not too greasy)) brownie.
I am happy to say, after 40 years as a professional brownie eater and baker – those quantities have been finalized ((yippee!)). I will include the particulars in the recipe card below.
Before I move on to the cheesecake portion of this program, let me share with you one more piece of proprietary information. It’s all about the flour. First, or actually in the case of flour, LAST. Flour is the last ingredient to be added before pouring the batter into the parchment lined & prepared baking dish.This keeps the flour from being over mixed. One more thing about the flour, do NOT over stir. Let me show you what I mean.
When the batter looks like the photo above, you have about 8 stirs left – no more.
And, here is what “done stirring” looks like. Oops, you see flour? Don’t panic. Let it go. Are you wondering why this matters? Well, without breaking out the science textbook and giving you a boring lecture on gluten formation and what gluten does to dough – or in this case, brownie batter, let me just say – it matters because I said so. No not really, it is simply an issue of tough verses tender. The more you stir, the more gluten that is being formed. Stirring less = less tough. Less tough = a better brownie.
Once the brownie batter is perfect, spread half of the mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking dish.
Did somebody say cheesecake?
In a stand mixer, combine the cheesecake ingredients (2 items not listed: kosher salt & vanilla).
When the cookie butter cheesecake is smooth, spread it on top of the bottom brownie layer. Use a 2 T scoop to dollop the remaining brownie batter layer over of the other 2 layers.
With the wave of my magic butter knife, I spread & swirled the layers to perfection. Try not to over spread & swirl, you really do want to end up with a thick layer of cookie butter cheesecake sandwiched between 2 layers of brownie heaven. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?
Bake the brownies at 325° for 40 to 50 minutes, checking for doneness at 40 minutes ((yep, the old toothpick test will come in handy here)). PS – this is why I love parchment. After the brownies cooled, I was able to quickly lift them out of the baking dish, allowing me to better cut and serve in a flash.
Oh, wow — I am glad a picture is only worth 1,000 words and not 1,000 calories. I am pretty sure this picture is speaking my love language.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we have. Our camp counselor college men-folk said they were “hand slamming the table” good. Seconds were had by all. ((success))
- 2 1/2 sticks butter, partially melted (I used salted)
- 3 1/3 c pure cane sugar
- 2 T vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 12 heaping T cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 c all purpose flour
- 12 T softened cream cheese
- 1 c cookie butter (I prefer Trader Joe's)
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 c pure cane powdered sugar
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 2 t vanilla
- Preheat oven to 325°. Line a 9" x 13" glass baking dish with parchment and spray with a non-stick flour blend spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Next, stir in the vanilla, eggs & salt. Whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated. Add the cocoa powder, stirring until no lumps remain and the powder is well combined. Last, add the flour, gently stirring but taking care not to completely combine the flour into the batter*. Leaving a few pockets and traces of flour keeps the brownie batter from getting overworked (which leads to tough brownies).
- Spread approximately half of the brownie batter into the bottom of the lined and prepared baking dish. Set aside the remaining brownie batter.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, whip together the cookie butter cheesecake ingredients on high speed for 2 minutes, until the cream cheese is completely incorporated and there are very few lumps that remain. Spread the cheesecake mixture over the brownie layer, evenly. Take care to spread the cheesecake all the way to the edges and corners.
- Using a 2 T scoop, dollop the remaining brownie batter atop the cheesecake. Taking a butter knife, carefully spread the batter over the cheesecake, try not to be perfect at this part (leave a little cheesecake peeking through). Then, using the tip of the butter knife, gently add a few swirls to the brownies.
- Place in a preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. Test the doneness, using a toothpick, starting at 40 minutes. Once the toothpick comes out clean, remove from the oven & allow to cool for 30 minutes to one hour before serving.
- Makes 20-24
- *See the pictures in this post to get a better idea of when to stop stirring.