Russian Honor Society holds an election day bake sale every year because our school is a polling location. People get there at 5am to set up and it runs until 6 or 7, so you can imagine how many baked goods we needed, especially with the huge voter turnout in Virginia this year! (I can’t even be upset about ‘barely’ missing the election because my birthday is in the spring. Boo!) I volunteered to whip up some brownies, but I figured I’d jazz some of them up a bit because there would be a lot of brownies.
There are endless brownie variations and you can’t really go wrong with any of them, but as I was looking (okay drooling) at inspiration for a bunch of different fancy brownies, this flavor combination stood out to me the most. I’m definitely a cheesecake person, and Oreos make everything taste better, so both of them together on top of a brownie makes for a home run.
Most oreo cheesecake brownie recipes mixed the oreos right into the brownie batter and then swirled the cheesecake mixture on top, but I like the look of distinct layers. It was a little extra work to pipe the cream cheese mixture on top of the oreos, but totally worth it because no pesky crumbs got in the cream cheese layer.
I am still on a mission to find the perfect brownie recipe. The reality is, boxed mixes save time, money, have lower saturated fat, and – feel free to disagree with me here – a lot of them taste just as decadent. I find it hard to justify spending the time and ingredients on dozens of recipes that all claim to yield ‘the ultimate brownie’ when everyone has a different favorite. That said, a perfect brownie should be able to hold its own and shouldn’t be masked by Oreos and cream cheese. So, the brownie batter you use to make these dressed-up treats doesn’t matter too much. Go with an old favorite or go with a box mix – I promise they’ll be amazing either way!
Recipe: Oreo Cheesecake Brownies
- 1 batch of your favorite brownie batter (8×8 pan size)
- 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ~2 C coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a slight overhang on both ends for easy removal. Butter the aluminum foil.
- In medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Scoop the mixture into a plastic bag and snip off a corner, then set it aside.
- Spread half of the prepared brownie batter into the baking dish, and top with the chopped oreos. Press the big pieces into the batter. Pipe the cream cheese mixture on the top of the oreos in a zigzag, then use a spatula to smooth out the cream cheese mixture into an even layer.
- Distribute the remaining brownie mixture in several dollops over the cheesecake layer and spread evenly. (You can also pipe this on top if you’d like)
- Bake for 28-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted along the edge should come out clean, but near the center a few moist crumbs is just fine. At this point, remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a cooling rack before lifting the foil out of the pan.
A note on the baking time: Maybe it was because I had two other pans of regular brownies baking at the same time, but these brownies seemed to take an exceedingly long amount of time to bake. I feel like I added 5 minutes to the clock at least 3 separate times, but just stay in the kitchen and keep toothpick-testing because you don’t want overcooked brownies!
To make clean slices, pop the pan in the refrigerator for about an hour and then slice. In between cuts, wipe off the blade of your knife on a napkin.
Number of servings (yield): 16 brownies