So, I’m back from my road trip, back to the grind of my daily routine.
It was good times!
It was barely sober times. It was spraining my ankle on the first night there times (might’ve been related to the barely sober times). It was floating down a river in a inflatable raft times. It was drinking fruit wines and eating artisan cheese times. It was I saw a mountain goat and nobody believed me times. It was a road rage incident with a beer-chucking trucker times.
But now that I’m back to my apartment, my blog, my job, I think it’s funny how my life — or anyone’s life — isn’t more, like, exciting, I guess.
Would that be the word to use?
When I was a kid, I expected my adult life would be awesome because I’d get to do what I want, but never really considered all the commuting, the laundry, the grocery shopping, the post-vacation catch-up — y’know. That type of stuff.
Getting back into the groove after a few days away can be hard, but there’s something you can do about it.
For example, you can make super special, deliciously awesome, chocolate-fudgy, lemon cheesecake swirled brownies.
Hells yeah! Even if my life can’t be exciting all the time, at least my food can be!
The trick to the best brownies is to leave them a little bit “under-baked” — which is a good thing, since an over-baked brownie is just a dry and lifeless chocolate brick.
In case you’re skeptical about lemon and chocolate together, know that they’re both strong flavours that actually compliment each other really well!
Lemon and chocolate and tangy cheesecake? Must be tasted to be believed.
Lemon Cheesecake Brownies
*adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (175g/6oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
Lemon Cheesecake Swirl
- 1 package (225g/8oz) cream cheese, softened
- 5 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C.
Line one 8-inch square pan with parchment paper — in the photos, you’ll see that I used tin foil, but I definitely wouldn’t use it again!
First, make the brownie layer — sift the all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the bittersweet chocolate until the chocolate and butter are completely smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and the teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Gently stir the sifted ingredients into the pot of chocolate batter. Mix until completely incorporated, then set aside.
Next, make the lemon cheesecake swirl — in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Whisk in the egg yolk, then add the lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Set aside.
Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Spoon large dollops of lemon cheesecake batter over the first layer of brownie batter (use at least half of the lemon cheesecake), and then carefully cover with the remaining brownie batter.
Spoon the remaining lemon cheesecake batter over the top of the brownie batter, distributing as evenly as possible. Gently run a knife through the batters to artfully swirl them together (I had to “dig” a little into the brownie batter to lift some of it up to the surface to get a better swirl).
Bake for 40 ~ 45 minutes, or until the edges are puffed and the middle is set.
Remove from the oven, let cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then transfer to the fridge for at least 3 hours to chill and set the cheesecake.
The second hardest part of waiting for these brownies to chill and set is very serious business — after you slice them up however you like, do you choose an edge piece or a middle piece?
I always reach for the center cut of anything — gimme that sugary-delicious squish! — but I know most people want the crunchy edges.
Whatever kind of person you are, lemon cheesecake brownies won’t judge. Yum!