Decadent, indulgent and swoon-worthy… these Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Brownie Bars with chocolate chunks and crunchy toasted almonds are beyond luscious. The best marbled cheesecake brownies around!
If you’re a chocolate lover and homemade fudge brownies are your downfall, prepare to fall HARD. In fact, you might want someone close by to catch you. Admittedly, I’m not one of the folks for whom chocolate (like air) is a daily necessity, however, that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the pull… I do. In fact, it’s the reason I made these Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Brownie Bars.
My cousin, Katrina (arguably the best baker I know) loves chocolate – in any form, but the more indulgent, the better. So when she and her husband, James stopped by for dinner, I knew I’d have to step up my dessert and a fruit galette or apricot tart wasn’t going to cut it.
Break out the chocolate. My first thought was homemade fudge brownies — maybe with a scoop of ice cream. That would be good, but marbled cheesecake brownies would be better. A layer of fudgy brownie, swirled with rich cheesecake filling. For this recipe, which is pretty straightforward, I start with the cheesecake filling, mixing eggs, sugar, cream cheese almond extract and a bit of cream until smooth and creamy.
Next comes the fudge brownie layer. Infused with four ounces of melted chocolate, espresso powder to make it really fudgy with vanilla and almond extracts, these cheesecake brownie bars are rich and chocolatey without being cloyingly sweet. Sliced almonds and good chocolate chunks (I used Ghirardelli) mixed into the batter give the brownies a subtle crunch and luxurious melt. Ok, yeah — even I’m coming around to the lure of chocolate almond cheesecake brownie bars.
How To Swirl
Cheesecake Brownie Bars:
- Spread 2/3 of the brownie batter in the prepared baking dish.
- Top the brownie layer with the cream cheese and spread it over the brownie layer.
- Drop spoonfuls of the remaining homemade fudge brownie batter over the cheesecake layer and use a knife to drag and swirl the chocolatey batter. Don’t over-do it though, you want them to tango, not mosh pit.
- Top with additional sliced almonds, chocolate chunks and bake.
- Be sure to use a cake tester to check for doneness before pulling the marbled cheesecake brownies out of the oven and test in several spots to ensure that the brownie layer only has a few crumbs or chocolate chip streaks — if you see wet batter, it needs more time.
Cool the cheesecake brownie bars to room temperature before cutting into them.
Katrina is too funny. She came into the kitchen, looked around and immediately spied the brownies. “Are we having this for dessert tonight?” she asked in a please let her say yes voice.
“Yep. I made them just for you!”
She grinned in anticipation.
The guys were all over the marbled cheesecake bars, too. Scott because — well, it’s not something I would normally make — and James, just ’cause they’re that good.
Obviously chocolate almond cheesecake bars would make a great snack or dessert anytime, but if you’re big into football, marbled cheesecake brownies are that little over the top indulgence that will bump up your game day fare. Tailgating? These homemade fudge brownies, swirled with creamy cheesecake filling can travel. Just transport them in the covered baking dish and slice them up when you get to the game. Guaranteed — they won’t last.
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Dark Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Brownies
FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 1 extra-large egg
FOR THE BROWNIES:
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 2 extra large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips divided
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds divided
MAKE THE CHEESECAKE FILLING:
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugar, almond extract, cream and egg. Beat until smooth and set aside.
MAKE THE BROWNIES:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray an 8x8" pan with vegetable spray and line it with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan with additional 5-6" of overhang on each side. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter and unsweetened chocolate and heat over medium low heat stirring occasionally until mixture is melted, glossy and smooth. Stir in the espresso powder until dissolved, if using. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, almond extract, vanilla extract, and salt and sugar and beat until thick and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Fold in the flour until combined.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the batter and fold it in until completely blended. Stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of sliced almonds.
- Spread 2/3 of brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan. Pour the cheesecake layer on top of the brownie layer and spread across the pan. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake layer and swirl it into the cheesecake layer.
- Sprinkle the remaining almonds and chocolate chips over the brownie mixture and bake for 45 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for several hours before slicing.
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