Scratch Made: Cream Cheese Brownies


Cream cheese and chocolate.

Chocolate and cream cheese.

No matter how you say it, these brownies were irresistible.



While going through the fridge a few weekends ago, I found some cream cheese that I had forgotten about. I’m not even sure why I bought it in the first place so I decided to put it to good use instead of wasting it.

I’d had cream cheese brownies before, but they were always the kind from the box. I figured they couldn’t be too tough to make from scratch and I wanted something to take to small group anyway, so I grabbed my go-to brownie recipe and got started.


One of the best gifts I’ve ever received came from one of my best friends’ Sara’s mom. Before I left Arkansas to get married and transfer schools (yep, I got married before I finished college), she gave me a binder with some of her favorite recipes.

Her 5-minute brownie recipe was the inspiration for this pan of rich and gooey brownies.


Cream Cheese Brownies, adapted from Linda VanWinkle’s 5-Minute Brownie recipe

  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In large bowl, mix together cocoa powder and baking soda.
  3. Blend in 1/3 cup of oil.
  4. Add boiling water to cocoa mixture and stir until mixture thickens.
  5. Stir in sugar, 2 eggs, and remaining 1/3 cup of oil. Stir until smooth.
  6. Add flour, 1 tsp vanilla, and salt and stir until combined.
  7. Pour into 9×13 baking dish.
  8. For cream cheese swirl, mix together cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1 egg.
  9. Drop by spoonful on brownie batter and swirl into batter.
  10. Bake 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


Swirling the cream cheese and brownie batter together is the most fun part of this recipe. It feels like art class but better – because I get to eat the final outcome.



I love that some of the brownies have a ton of the cream cheese mixture and some are just deep, dark chocolate.

This is the easiest way to have a little bit of cheesecake without dragging out my springform pan, making a water bath, and needing pounds of cream cheese in my fridge.



I love cocoa.

I love cheesecake.

I love them together.

But what I love most is the fact that this recipe was born out of an old family recipe, passed on to me when I was starting my own family.

Recipes with memories already attached don’t come along very often, so keep them when you can.



  1. I love old family recipes. They have heart, plus you know they’re bound to be amazing! These brownies look ridiculously good. I’ll have to make them next time I’m home- otherwise I’d have the whole pan to myself..and that’d be dangerous. ;)

  2. Drool………………..what a way to start my morning!!! Now I’m going to be craving chocolate all day…… :)

  3. I love cream cheese brownies. Those just look incredible!

  4. Mmm those look so good!! They remind me of the black bottom cupcakes my mom used to make :)

  5. You are an artist in the kitchen!

  6. Those look definitely too good to be true!!
    Honestly I’d love to have a piece for a snack RIGHT NOW! :)

  7. These look amazing…and your pictures are gorgeous! There’s nothing I don’t like about chocolate and cheesecake…YUM!

  8. Just…wow. These look beautiful AND delicious! :)

  9. Those looks fantastic :) I love all the spirals!!

  10. Family recipes are ALWAYS the best! I just made one myself. Those brownies look awesome. I’m going to have to try them out soon :)

  11. I love special family recipes–they are so meaningful! And 9 out of 10 times, they are better than any other recipes–this one looks like it fits the bill for sure!!

  12. Oh my goodness! These look insanely good!

  13. I have never made cream cheese brownies but loved them growing up when I had them at parties! I will have to make a vegan version…because that swirling looks so fun and beautiful brandi!

  14. I love this! These look amazing! Love me some cream cheese in baked goods. And they look so pretty! Win.

  15. Those look fabulous! I want your baking skillz!

    (And they look even better because I am starving right now. Off to find lunch…)

  16. Girl, those look like heaven.

    I love cream cheese swirls in my brownies- whenever I’m at a picnic or a potluck, I search them out first! Not sure why I just haven’t decided to be the one to bring them myself… that would make it much easier, wouldn’t it?

  17. Where in Arkansas are you from?

    • I’m actually from Virginia! but I did most of my undergrad in Arkansas (at Harding in Searcy).

  18. i love the part where you get to swirl it!

    they look great.

  19. these look amazing! bookmarked to make hopefully this weekend =)

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  21. I made these yesterday. They were delicious. They turned out a bit more cake like than brownie like. Also, the recipe instructions call for salt but that is not listed in the ingredients. I tried 1/4 tsp. Coule you let me know how much the original recipe calls for? Thanks!

  22. The best brownies I’ve ever had. Soooo delicious!! =]

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