This cheesecake brownie is the epitome of fall. Hot cup of green tea meets holiday season pumpkin pie, atop the most simple and fudgy one bowl brownie (one bowl only if, like me, you opt for mixing it up in the pot you melted the butter and chocolate in.. anything to avoid having to wash another dish). For the first time, I used unsweetened chocolate from Quebec. 100% cocoa chocolate is not good nibbling chocolate (as anyone who has snuck a nibble will be sure of) which sure takes the fun out of baking brownies. But, erm, melted into butter and sugar over the stove is a different story…
Green matcha cheesecake – with a hint of lemon – and pumpkin pie cheesecake – spiced with the fragrance of fall – swirled atop dark chocolate fudgy brownies. It’s not a common flavor combination (even Pinterest has miserable search results), and was more a means to use up some fridge leftovers than a stroke of brilliance. A half can of pumpkin, a tin of matcha powder with little more than a tablespoon remaining, a block of cream cheese awaiting life’s purpose. How to make such obscure colours and flavours shine within a chocolate brownie? Turn them into cheesecakes and swirl through your favorite brownie! Fortunately good ol Deb at Smitten Kitchen sports an excellent cheesecake-marbled brownie recipe to base this recipe on. In fact I barely tweaked a thing , other than the addition of flavors to the cheese, Have you checked out Smitten Kitchen by now? Deb has just released the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook - read the preview on Amazon, you will love her writing style, humor and no-messing-around recipes.
Question for you: Do you call it brownie, or brownies? I know I grew up saying I’m baking brownie.. but only to now be utterly confused as every food blog seems to refer to brownies. Even Wikipedia calls it chocolate brownie. So, is this a country-difference or just personal preference?
Matcha Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie
Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp green matcha powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned, or roasted and pureed)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice)
Make brownie batter: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.
Make cheesecake batter: Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Divide mixture between two bowls. In one, add the matcha powder and lemon zest and juice. In the other add pumpkin and spices. Dollop the two cheesecake mixes over the brownie batter, then marble with a knife (as Deb points out, a rounded breadknife works best for swirling!).
Bake brownie: Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Slicing tip: As Deb also points out (and I wholeheartedly agree), the brownie is much easier to cut cleanly when well chilled – almost frozen. They taste great this way too – otherwise after slicing bring to room temperature before serving.