Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies with Heath Bars and Pecans

Allow us to introduce you to cream cheese swirl brownies with heath bars and pecans. If your idea of brownie perfection is a slightly gooey, nutty brownie bedecked with swirls of cheesecake and chunks of toffee, you’ve found it in this recipe.

Plate of cream cheese swirl brownies with layers of chocolate, cheese cake, Heath bar, and pecans

Adapted from Allysa Torey | At Home with Magnolia | Jon Wiley & Sons, 2006

These cream cheese swirl brownies are one of my favorite brownies because they’re not too fudgy and not too cakey. Of course, then you add the pecans and Heath bars and you have the perfect brownie.–Allysa Torey

Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies with Heath Bars and Pecans

Plate of cream cheese swirl brownies with layers of chocolate, cheese cake, Heath bar, and pecans
Allow us to introduce you to cream cheese swirl brownies with heath bars and pecans. If your idea of brownie perfection is a slightly gooey, nutty brownie bedecked with swirls of cheesecake and chunks of toffee, you've found it in this recipe.
Allysa Torey

Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 30 mins
Dessert
American
24 brownies
270 kcal
3 / 2 votes
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Ingredients 

For the cream cheese filling

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese not softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the brownies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the baking pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (6 oz) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans*
  • 2/3 cup chopped Heath bars about two 1.4-ounce [40-g] bars or any chocolate-covered toffee bar

Directions
 

Prepare the oven and pan

Make the cream cheese filling

  • In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg and flour and beat well.

Make the brownies

  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl, and let cool until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir in half the pecans and half the Heath bars. Spread all but 1/2 cup batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Drop the cream cheese mixture by tablespoonfuls on top of the batter. Next, drop the reserved brownie batter by teaspoonfuls in between the blobs of cream cheese filling. Using a small knife, swirl the two batters together, forming a decorative pattern. Sprinkle the remaining pecans and Heath Bars over the top, and using a spatula, gently press them into the batter.

Bake and cool the brownies

  • Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the pan comes out with moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake. Let the brownies cool in the pan overnight before cutting into 2-inch (5-cm) squares and letting everyone indulge their mad crazy cravings.
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Notes

*How do I toast pecans?

To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350°F (175°C) oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1brownieCalories: 270kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)Protein: 4g (8%)Fat: 16g (25%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 57mg (19%)Sodium: 88mg (4%)Potassium: 102mg (3%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 23g (26%)Vitamin A: 360IU (7%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 36mg (4%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

There are a lot of brownie recipes out there, but a cream cheese swirl brownie with Heath bars and pecans is a classic that everyone probably wants to have in their repertoire. This one tastes really good with the added chopped pecans and Heath bar. I personally would have liked it a bit more chocolatey, but the extended family liked them quite a bit. The brownies are gooey as opposed to cakey.

I'd recommend making life a bit easier and just putting all the batter in the pan, dropping the cream cheese mixture, and swirling so that the knife goes farther into the batter. This way, there might be a slightly better integration of brownie and cheesecake. A trick to warm the eggs is to put them in a bowl with warm water and let them sit for a bit. Also, the recipe says to not warm the cream cheese, but I find it's easier to mix things together when it's at slightly room temperature rather than cold out of the fridge.

These brownies are delicious! They're moist and not too sweet, halfway between cake and a brownie with contrasting textures from the smooth cream cheese to the slight crunch of the heath bar and the pecans. What a wonderful set of flavors that come together to form a moist, addictive brownie.

I used Heath bar bits rather than chopping the Heath bars. I found that these lasted several days in an air-tight container. And they travel well. These will be made again and again in my house.


Originally published May 23, 2006

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Comments

  1. 3 stars
    This was an easy to follow recipe, and I’ve made a lot of brownies in the past. The cream cheese layer is spot on for rich goodness, but I found the chocolate part of the brownie layer lacking the deep, rich chocolatey notes I look for. It was a little too sweet, and needed more depth. I think with the addition of some cocoa (maybe a little black) that this would totally rock.

    1. Thanks for writing Ranger Rick. Adding cocoa powder to the list of dry ingredients sounds like a good tweak. Another adjustment that comes to mind is to introduce some coffee to accentuate the chocolate flavor. You could add strong brewed coffee (I would try 2—4 tablespoons) or espresso powder (it’s pretty punchy, so perhaps 1 tablespoon or even less). I see espresso powder in the same aisle with flour, sugar, etc. where I shop. We would love to know how the next batch turns out!

      1. I thought about adding the powdered espresso to my next batch, along with some cocoa., as I mentioned. My friends are asking me for more, so I’ll definitely make them again soon and will report back!

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