Rich & Creamy PB & J Cream Cheese Brownies
This recipe for FODMAP IT!™ PB & J Cream Cheese Brownies might be the first time I riffed on a riff of an old recipe of my own. Sort of a FODMAP IT!™2 situation.
The original recipe for these cream cheese brownies, made with conventional cream cheese and regular all-purpose flour, came to life in the mid 80s when Robin and I were working at our first food business together.
The first variation was our FODMAP IT!™ Cream Cheese Brownies, which is essentially very much the same as this one, but without the peanut butter or jam. (Also check out our Low FODMAP Espresso Cream Cheese Brownies)!
Peanut Butter & Jam
Let’s talk about the PB & J components of this recipe. First of all, we know that “PB & J” usually refers to peanut butter and “jelly”, but we much prefer thicker fruity spreads like jams and preserves.
Smucker’s always has great quality jams to choose from and we have made these with two kinds: their Orchard’s Finest Pacific Mountain Strawberry preserves and also their Naturals Fruit Spreads in Strawberry.
Both lines have very clean labels, with strawberries being the first ingredient.
In fact, the ingredients for both the Orchard’s Finest and The Natural Fruit Spreads are Strawberries, Sugar, Fruit Pectin and Citric Acid. That’s it. Both use non-GMO ingredients and are preservative free; there are also Raspberry, Grape and Orange Marmalade flavors in the Naturals Fruit Spreads line-up.
Low FODMAP Jam
The Monash University Smartphone App gives us the Green Light for strawberry jam, raspberry jam as well as marmalade in amounts of 2 Australian tablespoons (40 g).
Peanut Butter Choices
Peanut butter is low FODMAP at 2 Australian tablespoons (50 g). We stock two kinds in the Test Kitchen: Smucker’s Natural and Jif No-Stir Style. For this recipe the ultra creaminess of the Jif works best with the silky texture of the lactose-free cream cheese.
FODMAP IT!™ PB & J Cream Cheese Brownies
These FODMAP IT!™ PB & J Cream Cheese Brownies are very rich so be sure to follow the serving size recommendations.
Low FODMAP Serving Size Info: Makes 25 brownies; serving size 1 brownie
- 3 ounces (85 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 cup (198 g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
PB & J Cream Cheese Swirl:
- 1/3 cup (90 g) peanut butter, preferably no-stir style, such as Jif Natural Creamy
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free all-purpose flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
- 8 ounces (225 g) lactose-free cream cheese, such as Green Valley Organics
- 3 tablespoons strawberry jam, such as Smucker's Natural
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 PB & J Cream Cheese Swirl: Use a wooden spoon to vigorously combine the peanut butter, sugar and flour together in a small bowl. Gently beat in the cream cheese until smooth.
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. Now dollop the strawberry jam here and there. Draw a butter knife through both dolloped batters and the jam 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.