Hi there! Happy Friday! Things have been a little hectic here but in a good way - we are working on some really fun stuff at the studio, and I’m off to Palm Springs tomorrow to visit my bestie. All good stuff. I have so many fun recipes tucked up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share with you as we head into the holiday season! I went to a baking class the other night with King Arthur and we learnt all about puff pastry, including incorporating alternative / freshly milled grains into puff pastry, and I left all kinds of inspired to make loads of dough this holiday season!
I have a couple of really complex recipes in mind coming your way, so I wanted to also pop in a couple of simple but elevated options for the upcoming holiday baking period (my very favourite time!!). These brownies are just a riff on my regular brownie recipe, which is a very slight adaptation from Sarah Kieffer’s Book. I swirled a solid amount of cream cheese through the batter, giving it the most amazing marbled cheesecake brownie finish, and then I finished off the top of the brownie with a big swirl of peanut butter caramel, which is super easy to make - the process is the same as a regular dry caramel, but you mix some peanut butter into the warm cream mixture and use that to deglaze the caramel. It is perfectly peanutty, and compliments the fudgy brownie and the swirls of the cream cheese so well. These brownies are easy to make and store well in the fridge - they are a slightly easier but still very delicious dessert option to add into your holiday baking plans!
A few wee tips:
- There is an aggressive amount of cream cheese in these which is 1) very delicious, and 2) means that they will take a little longer than regular brownies to bake, so don’t be alarmed if they still seem a wee bit jiggly!
- You want the cream cheese to be super room temp so that when you whip it up with the cream, it is a good consistency to fold through the brownie batter without getting clumpy.
- These cut best if you make sure that you give them adequate cooling time once they come out of the oven.
- If you don’t want to add the peanut butter caramel or the cheesecake brownie, leave one or both out! Just watch the baking time as it will be different if you make an alteration.
- You can make the peanut butter caramel ahead of time, but you want to bring it to room temperature or warm it slightly before adding to the top of the brownie so that it is the right consistency for swirling.
Made this recipe and love it?
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A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking! If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!Print
Peanut Butter Caramel Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Peanut Butter Caramel
- 200g granulated sugar
- 90g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 120g heavy cream
- 100g creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp salt
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
- 113g cold unsalted butter
- 250g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 50g extra dutched cocoa
- 140g all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 120g neutral oil
- 300g sugar
- 100g brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 450g (two 225g packages) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
PEANUT BUTTER CARAMEL
- Place the heavy cream in a small pan, and warm gently. Add the peanut butter and whisk to combine - if it seizes a little, you can add a small splash more cream, but it will smooth out once you add it to the caramel. Set aside.
- Place the sugar in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium, whisking occasionally. The sugar will start to form clumps, then begin to melt. Cook until is it amber in colour, then remove from the heat and immediately add all of the butter. Be careful as the caramel will bubble rapidly. Once the butter is incorporated, add in the peanut butter and cream mixture, and the salt. Whisk until emulsified. Transfer to an airtight container and leave to stand at room temperature until cooled, or store in the fridge until ready to use (you may have to re-warm slightly to swirl on top of the brownies)
CREAM CHEESE SWIRL BROWNIES
- Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Grease a 9” square baking tin and line with a parchment paper sling.
- Melt together the butter and chocolate in a medium pan over low heat, stirring well until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and mix well to combine, then set aside to cool.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and cream until it has a whipped texture. If you find that the cream cheese is a little stiff, add a little more cream and whip in to loosen it up slightly.
- Fold the cream cheese mixture through the brownie batter in three additions, taking care not to over incorporate too much - you want some big blobs of cream cheese remaining.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tin. Drizzle 200g of the peanut butter caramel over the surface of the brownie and swirl in using a knife or a toothpick. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top of the brownie is set and a skewer inserted comes out with still a few crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Brownie Base Recipe adapted from ‘The Vanilla Bean Baking Book’