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.
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
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
Prepare the oven and pan
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Butter and lightly flour a 13-by-9-inch (33-by-23-cm) baking 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.
*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.
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