Recipe: Cherry Cream Cheese Brownies

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Cherries were on sale at the greenmarket - sweet, overripe black cherries bursting with juice. We could eat cherries all day long, but we wanted to do something a little different with the pound and half we took home. Here's one way to use them up - a cakey, moist brownie with deep swirls of cream cheese and chunks of cherries.

Cherry Cream Cheese Brownies
9x13 pan of brownies

Brownies
1 1/2 cups halved, pitted cherries
2 tablespoons Kirsch
6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
4 ounces dark sweet chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream cheese swirl
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Heat the oven to 375ºF and grease a 9x13 pan. Prepare the cherries and stir in Kirsch. Let sit for at least an hour.

Melt the chocolate, butter and sugar until liquid in a saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs until lightened - at least six minutes in a stand mixer - and slowly mix in chocolate. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the mixture with the vanilla. Stir in half the the cherries.

Whip the cream cheese with the butter, sugar, and almond extract until light and fluffy. Stir in the other half of the cherries and any syrup.

Put the brownie mix in the pan and smooth out. Drop the cream cheese on top in six evenly spaced spoonfuls, then take a thin knife and swirl it through the batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until just set.

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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