There is nothing remotely sophisticated about cream cheese. It's kind of the sweet equivalent of mashed potato - white, soft, malleable... and oh so good. Though it comes in bricks, it's more like mortar. Bagels wouldn't be the same without it. The frosting made with it is the very reason carrot cake exists. And then there's cheesecake. Which is all very well on its own, but swirled into a brownie and strewn with chocolate chips to form a hybrid kind of sweet squidgy square is, well, definitely not sophisticated, but who cares? Sophisticated can't be tucked into the corner of a lunchbox, eaten straight from the freezer or carted to a picnic in its tin.
Life's too short for sophisticated. But long enough that you can indulge in something this rich occasionally. You can serve these warm, or at room temperature, but for the cleanest slices, refridgerate the pan til nicely chilled then use a knife dipped in hot water to cut through. If making a whole tray of these worries you - know that they freeze well... but also know they taste good straight from the freezer. Consider this a warning.
Marbled cheesecake brownies
Adapted from a recipe by Smitten Kitchen
If you don't have a double boiler, you can hack one by resting a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl), or simply melt the chocolate and butter together in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, or in the microwave.
For brownie batter
4 oz (1 stick / 1/2 cup) butter, cut into pieces
3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
pinch of salt
For cheesecake batter
8 oz (1 packet) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
Put oven rack in middle shelf of oven and heat to 350 deg F.
Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Melt butter and chocolate using a double boiler. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla and a pinch of salt until just combined. Fold in flour and spread in baking pan.
Mix together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl til smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl into a marbled pattern with a knife or spatula.
Scatter chocolate chips over the top.
Bake til edges are slightly puffed and centre is just set, about 35 minutes.