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.
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
For the cream cheese filling
- One (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.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
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.
I took these to the office to RAVE reviews—the entire pan was gone in a flash. The proportion of cheesecake to brownies was great, the brownies themselves are also on the cakier side so there is a better contrast and structure to the cheesecake. The addition of the toffee bar and pecans gave it a caramel-turtle feel.
I personally found them a tad too sweet (I was in the minority here, bit I generally find that you can reduce the sugar a little in most baked goods and no one notices). I think you could cut some of the sugar from the base without affecting the taste. Overall a really great recipe that I’d make again.
Cream cheese swirl brownies with Heath bars and pecans sounded and looked decadent. When I saw the picture of these, I had to have them. They do require a little more effort than just plain brownies but then these aren’t just plain old brownies.
The brownies were moist with the perfect amount of cream cheese filling swirled through them. The addition of the pecans and Heath bars brought these over the top. I can’t wait to make these again. For my personal taste, I will probably add an additional Heath bar (maybe two) the next time I make them.
What’s not to like?! Brownie layer, cheesecake layer and chocolate toffee chunks through out. The brownie layer is amazing because the added Heath bar pieces mixed in with the batter makes it almost creamy.
The cheesecake layer balances out the chocolate and adds a contrast of flavor which I love! The hardest part is waiting to cut into them.
Brownies are my dessert comfort food and I make a lot of them. These are definitely an over the top brownie with the toffee, nuts and cream cheese toppings. It sounded like too much, but they actually go quite well together. Your family will thank you for making them like mine did, by eating them all.
One thing I might change in making them again would be to save some of the brownie batter without toffee and nuts in it for the swirl on top. This would help create a nicer swirl pattern, without your knife hitting the occasional nutty roadblock.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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.