The following recipe was created in collaboration with Lauren Schulte. To see more of her bites and meals, visit her Instagram @TheBiteSizePantry.
I think we all need a little extra sunshine in our lives and these Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies are just that – a little ray of sunshine. The dense “fudginess” of the brownie batter topped with the silkiness of the cheesecake and swirled with blackberry syrup creates the most indulgent summertime treat. You probably have most of the ingredients for this recipe on hand as you’ll only need basic pantry staples and a box of brownie mix.
Start by making the blackberry simple syrup that you’ll swirl on top of the cheesecake layer of the brownie. Simply heat the blackberries in a saucepot on your stove and top with sugar and water until the berries break down and become sauce-like. Next, you’ll press the liquid through a strainer and set the syrup aside to cool. You are welcome to save the berries and seeds that were strained out and add them brownie batter if you like.
Now onto the easiest part, it’s a piece of cake (or in this case brownie.) Simply make the brownie batter according to the directions on the outside of the box and pour into a 9×13 parchment paper-lined baking tray.
For the cheesecake layer, I used both cream cheese and Greek yogurt to make the cheesecake extra creamy and flavorful. A trick to spreading the cheesecake mixture on top of the wet brownie batter is to dollop it all over the brownies and gently spread it outward to cover the brownie batter. Be extra careful on this step! Using too much pressure when spreading can cause the two layers to mix together.
Finally, all that’s left to do is drizzle the blackberry syrup on top of the cheesecake and then use a toothpick or knife to create a nice pattern. I like to swirl the syrup around in circles in an outward motion, alternating direction here and there to create a beautiful flower-like pattern. Once they are swirled to your liking, pop them in the oven at 325˚F for an hour and they’re done!
I like to let my cheesecake brownies cool in the refrigerator for about an hour after baking to firm up and cool down, but you can eat them right out of the oven if you prefer.
For the Blackberry Syrup
- 6 oz. (one container) of Driscoll’s blackberries
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
For the Brownies
- 1 box of Ghirardelli Brownie Mix with Chocolate Chips
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup water
For the Cheesecake
- 8 oz. of Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ tsp. flakey sea salt
- Whisk together the cornstarch and the water to avoid clumps in the syrup. Place all syrup ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes. Use a whisk to help break down the blackberries while they cook.
- When done, run the syrup in a strainer and press all the liquid out of the mixture leaving behind the seeds and large chunks of berries. Save the leftover berry seeds and clumps to incorporate into the brownie mixture for extra flavor, if desired.
- Place the hot syrup the fridge or leave out of the counter to bring it to room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 325°F and line a 9”x13” baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. To get the parchment paper to fit in every nook and cranny of the dish, I crumple up the paper before spreading it out into the baking dish. This technique helps to make sure the paper lies nicely in the dish so the batter reaches all the sides and corners.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the brownie batter following the directions on the box. Add reserved berry seeds and clumps, if desired. Pour the brownie batter into the baking dish, spreading evenly to the edges.
- Combine all the ingredients for the cheesecake in a standing mixer with a whisk attachment or use a hand held beater. Cream the ingredients for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Dollop the cheesecake mixture over brownie batter spreading it evenly to make sure it reaches all of the edges. Drizzle the blackberry syrup on top of the cheesecake batter and, using a toothpick, swirl the syrup around to create beautiful patterns. Try to swirl only into the cheesecake batter, not the brownie batter.
- Place the tray in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until the cheesecake begins to turn golden.
- Eat them straight out of the oven or place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, if desired.