Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies: Sweet raspberry-swirled cheesecake layered over a ridiculously decadent fudge brownie.
My parents’ property is a berry paradise. There’s a mulberry tree that you can’t get within 15 feet of without staining your feet purple. Teeny tiny strawberries grow in the dappled shade (I’ve never tried them because I’m a little suspicious that they’re actually some sort of miniature poison-variety strawberry), and their woods are bursting at the seams with prickly brambles dotted with plump blackberries and raspberries.
When I was a kid I tried to like the raspberries. My sister and I would harvest them until our fingers were permanently pink, hoarding them in baskets alongside honeysuckle and a purple-topped aquarium full of pet caterpillars in the corner of our spaceship (AKA swingset) in preparation for our journey to the next galaxy. However, when we dug into our rations I couldn’t get past the tiny, insufferable seeds, and the berries mostly rotted or were thrown out the window (what’s a good spaceship without missiles, anyway?).
When I go to buy raspberries now, I always feel a pang of guilt in my stomach thinking back to how many dollars worth of berries were ungratefully chucked out of our swingset fort. All because of a few seeds. Seeds that I actually like now.
The things you take for granted as a child.
With respect to those of you who share my childhood-self’s disdain for seeds but still appreciate the flavor of raspberry, I strained the seeds out of this raspberry sauce (and with respect to those of you who don’t want to spend your life’s savings on berries, this recipe only calls for one small carton).
Besides, we have enough textures, flavors, and overall busy-ness going on that I felt the extra crunch of seeds would take away from the bars. The raspberry not only looks absolutely gorgeous swirled on top, it adds the tart accent of ripe red fruit to the other two sweet layers.
For the brownie, I went straight to my all time favorite (I don’t call it the “best ever” for nothing) brownie recipe. If you’re in a pinch or have a boxed brownie mix sitting in your pantry you can use that, just follow the instructions below, substituting one brownie batter for another.
The cheesecake is basic, easy, and classic, and I’ve used this base recipe over and over again on my site. It takes literally minutes to mix together, and bakes up perfectly every time.
Enjoy (and don’t take your raspberries for granted)!
Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
- 6 oz raspberries
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp water
- One batch Best Ever Brownies batter -- instant coffee omitted*
- 32 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Prepare the raspberry sauce first so that it has time to cool before swirling over cheesecake.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine raspberries, sugar, and water.
Increase heat to medium-high and stir frequently, about 8-10 minutes (until raspberries have released their juices and the mixture has reduced some).
Remove from heat and press mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof bowl. Set aside and allow to cool (discard leftover seeds and fruit pieces).
Preheat oven to 325F
Prepare brownie batter according to Best Ever Brownies instructions (or package instructions, if using box-mix).
Spread evenly into the bottom of a greased and floured 9x13 pan (alternatively, line the pan with foil and then lightly spray with cooking spray -- this will make it easy to lift the brownie/cheesecake out of the pan and make clean cuts once its cooled).
Bake on 325F for 20 minutes, or until center is almost set (it should not still be liquid, and the edges will appear somewhat cooked).
As the brownie layer bakes, prepare your cheesecake.
In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand-mixer), beat together softened cream cheese and sugar, scraping down the sides with a spatula occasionally to ensure it is mixed well. (beat on medium-speed about 1-2 minutes, scraping down side occasionally, it should be creamy and well-mixed).
Add sour cream, mix well, stopping once to scrape down the sides before mixing again.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just mixed after each addition (and scraping down the sides after each addition)
Stir in vanilla extract.
Once brownie layer has finished baking (do not turn off your oven), evenly spread the cheesecake over the brownie layer.
Take your raspberry sauce and use a spoon to place large droplets (about the size of a dime to the size of a nickel) all over the top of the cheesecake layer.
Use the point of a toothpick to swirl the raspberry across the top of the cheesecake.
Bake on 325F for 40 minutes, or until center is set (not liquidy, bounces back to the touch).
Allow to cool to room temperature, and then place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours before cutting and serving.
*Prepare the batter (without instant coffee) and then follow the instructions -- DO NOT bake according to the "Best Ever Brownie" instructions, follow these directions on this page instead.
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