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Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

If you're not familiar with Magnolia Bakery, it is one of the most lovely places for dessert on the planet. The only place more wonderful would probably be the home of Allysa Torey, the bakery's founder. Simply put, her book "At Home with Magnolia" is a must-have. Torey invites you into her home, sharing recipes she makes for her family in New York. Every recipe is divine, and comes out perfect, every time.

This is one of my favorite brownies because it's not too fudgy and it's not too cakey. Of course then you add the cream cheese, pecans, and Heath Bars and you have the perfect brownie…

-Allysa Torey

RECIPE: Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies with Heath Bars and Pecans

Makes twenty-four 2-inch brownies

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Filling

  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, not softened
  • ⅓cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Brownies

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1½sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1½teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (see Note)
  • ⅔ cup chopped Heath Bars (about two 1.4-ounce bars) (or any chocolate-covered toffee bar)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.Grease and lightly flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  2. To make the cream cheese filling: In a medium-size bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add the egg and flour and beat well. Set aside.
  3. To make the brownies: In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium-size saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl, and allow to cool to lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Stir in half of the pecans and half of the Heath Bars. Reserve ½ cup of the brownie batter. Spread the rest of the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Drop the cream cheese mixture by tablespoonfuls over the batter. Next, drop the reserved brownie batter by teaspoonfuls in between the cream cheese filling. Using a small knife, swirl the two batters together, forming a decorative pattern. Sprinkle the remaining pecans and Heath Bars over the top, and using a spatula, gently press into the batter. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the pan comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Allow to cool overnight before cutting and serving.

Note: To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350ºF oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.

Excerpted from At Home with Magnolia, © 2006 by Allysa Torey. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photos: © John Kernick

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