Halloween Cheesecake Brownies ~ A deliciously fun Halloween dessert you can easily pull off and sure to be a crowd favorite!
Easy is a must these days, since we’ve been busy the last few months with all hands-on-deck for my 13-year-old teen who seems like he’s—by he, I mean we, Matt and I—are always nursing something. It’s been a season of guzzling antibiotics for chronic strep and eye styes. I’m seriously waiting for social services to come check our living conditions.
My only defense will be that he’s a typical teenage boy who prefers skating to cleaning and hygiene habits run in tandem with girlfriends that rotate in an out of favor.
I always know when he’s between interests, because his room becomes a live petri dish. Who knows what kind of microorganism are being cultivated in the layers of dirty clothes that creep in all directions of his floor. Or what is breeding and spreading alongside the mossy, green growth on top of food that once was.
Teenage boys are gross. And yes, of course I can come down harder about the cleanliness of his room, but shutting the door is just easier. Aside from that, I’m very strategic about the battles I pick. This one always resolves itself much more speedily with the intrusion of a girl. Since he isn’t allowed to physically have girls in his room, FaceTime is close enough to push him where I can’t – a clean room for all the panning because he’s a pacer when he talks .
Now who’s ready for some Halloween Cheesecake Brownies? Sorry it’s like a stream-of consciousness around here. But to get right to the food and bypass all the blog-y life stuff, click the newly inserted “jump to the recipe” button at the top.
A few tips and notes for success when it comes to making this Halloween Cheesecake Brownie Recipe:
- The recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit. Camouflage Chocolate Fudge Brownies
- The minor tweaks made to the recipe involve removing some of the cocoa powder, since the tricolor effect involve purple food coloring to the cheesecake.
- For the sprinkles make sure to use the cylindrical kind, not non-pariels or confetti style sprinkles since both will melt and bleed into the batter.
- For nice clean cut edges, make sure to cool the brownies and wipe down your knife between cuts.
- For more Halloween desserts, check out these: Halloween Monster Cookies, Candy Corn Ghost Cupcakes, Oreo Truffle Bats
- Nonstick cooking oil spray for pan
- 8 oz. cream cheese (not low-fat), cut into 1’ pieces
- 1 large eggs, chilled
- ⅓ cups (66 g) sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 drop purple food coloring
- 2 tablespoons sprinkles
- 10 tablespoons (142 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
- 1 tsp. instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1 cup (200) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large cold eggs
- ½ cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
Preparation: Heat oven to 325F. Lightly coat a 9x9 pan with bake spray (this will help keep the parchment paper from shifting around). Next line pan with parchment paper, leaving a two-inch overhang on each side. The overhang will work as handles to easily lift the brownies out of the pan.
To make the cheesecake: Create a makeshift double boiler by placing saucepan filled with 1" of water over medium heat. Place a heatproof bowl over, NOT ON, the water. Add cream cheese to the bowl, cook and stir until cream cheese can easily be mixed, about 5 minutes.
Remove bowl from heat (leave water simmering). Mix cream cheese until smooth. Add egg, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and whisk until very smooth. Transfer about half of cream cheese mixture to a small bowl (eyeball it, no need to be precise here) and whisk in purple food coloring to one bowl and sprinkles to the other. Set both bowls of cream cheese mixture aside.
To make brownie: Place butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Place bowl over saucepan of still simmering water. Cook and stir until butter melts and mixture is homogeneous and too hot to touch for longer than three seconds, about 7–9 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.
Batter may appear stiff or slightly off at this point, but will regain its glossy form with the next step. Add the two chilled eggs (the chilled eggs will help to emulsify the batter) and vanilla extract to butter mixture one at a time. Whisk vigorously after each addition until smooth and glossy (the mixture will look curdled and broken until the second egg is added). Add all-purpose flour and fold until no flour streaks are visible, then mix vigorously for another 30 strokes. Batter will be thick.
Assembly: Reserve ½ cup brownie batter and set aside. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Working quickly, spoon alternating dollops of purple cream cheese mixture and cream cheese mixture over batter. Dollop reserved brownie batter on top. Take a toothpick and swirl it through the cheesecake portion.
Bake brownies until center is set and no longer looks wet, about 22–25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.