Rich & Creamy Cream Cheese Brownies
A version of these Cream Cheese Brownies has been with me for over 30 years, along with the Espresso Bars. Hey, when you create a good recipe, you tend to want to make them again and again – and people ask for them, or rather, demand them!
Whether it was from the time Robin and I worked at The Black Sheep Deli & Bakery, where a version of these were born, to our own place, The Harvest Moon Bakery (both in Amherst, MA), Cream Cheese Brownies were always on the menu.
Lactose-Free Cream Cheese Saves the Day
One day when I was thinking about what comfort food desserts I could develop for fellow FODMAPers, this recipe sprang to mind. People always loved these, I mused.
Just because folks are following the low FODMAP diet shouldn’t mean that have to be deprived. FODMAP IT™ to the rescue!
Now, we certainly aren’t saying these should be an everyday occurrence (or even weekly) but every now and then, when you want to have a treat just like you used to – these will satisfy.
And it is all thanks to lactose-free cream cheese. We use Green Valley Organics and while it doesn’t act the same as conventional cream cheese, we have found ways to use it such as in this recipe for Cream Cheese Brownies, where it ends up being the star.
If you are a brownie and bar fan and want to see a fabulous low FODMAP collection all in one place, check out our article 11 Brownies, Bars and Blondies for Gift Giving! Mix and Match! Gluten Free & Low FODMAP.
FODMAP IT!™ Cream Cheese Brownies
Our FODMAP IT!™ Cream Cheese Brownies are just as good as those from the corner bakery - better even, because they are low FODMAP, using lactose-free cream cheese.
- 4 ounces (115 g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 2/3 cup (96 g) gluten-free all-purpose flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder; use gluten-free if following a gluten-free diet
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups (248 g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
Cream Cheese Swirl:
- 8 ounces (225 g) lactose-free cream cheese, such as Green Valley Organics
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free all-purpose flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325°F/165°C. Coat an 8 inch (20 cm) square pan with non-stick spray. Line with a strip of parchment paper to cover bottom and overhang on two sides. Spray the paper, too.
For the Brownies: Melt chocolate and butter together in top of double boiler or in microwave safe bowl.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl to aerate and combine.
Whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate/butter mixture until blended. Whisk in vanilla then add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Fold in dry ingredients just until combined. Scrape almost all of the batter into the prepared pan, reserving about ½ cup (120 ml) - you can do this by eye. Spread the batter in the pan into an even layer using a small offset spatula.
For the Cream Cheese Swirl: Use a wooden spoon to gently combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour together in a small bowl.
Alternately dollop the cream cheese mixture and the reserved brownie mixture by large spoonfuls here and there all over the brownie batter already in the pan. Draw a butter knife through both dolloped batters to create pretty swirls. Don’t over swirl or you will lose the dramatic effect.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until bars are slightly puffed and the edges have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will show a few moist crumbs clinging. Cool on rack, then refrigerate briefly before cutting; they should be just slightly chilled for cleanest cutting. Cut into 25 bars (5 x 5 grid). Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 4 days.
If You Can Tolerate
- Fructans: If you have passed the wheat fructan Challenge, feel free to use regular all-purpose flour. Use the weight amounts for best equivalents.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.