On Sugar [butterscotch cream cheese swirl brownies]

If you’re anything like me, you need a taste of something sweet after each meal.  Just enough to offset the savory.    But I’m a touch picky about my desserts.  If I’m committing to the calories, I want to make sure I eat something that’s worth the next 4 years on the treadmill.  Cupcakes usually serve as the perfect post-dinner treat.  A couple bites of moist cake topped with silky smooth frosting and I can back away from the table happy.

So you can imagine my shock and disappointment when I wasn’t really crazy about Magnolia’s cupcakes.  After all the commotion and build-up, maybe my expectations were too high.


Long before I made my pilgrimage to the bakery, I purchased The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.  It travelled with me from my childhood home, to my first apartment, and made the move down two floors to first home as a Mrs.  But it remained untouched until this weekend.  Not ready to dismiss the entire bakery on the grounds of a couple of not-so-hot cupcakes, I needed a recipe that would help redeem Magnolia’s status as one of the premier bakeries in the country.

Enter Butterscotch Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies.  Right when you think these are a touch too sweet, you get a bite of cream cheese, and everything is back in balance again.  And they’re not really brownies as there is no cocoa or chocolate of any kind in the recipe.  It’s more of a bar-cookie.

These brownies also satisfied my need to bake something in a sheet pan.  They will certainly feed a crowd.  You could eat one after dinner all month long.

You need:

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 T flour

For the brownies:

  • 2 C flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 C butterscotch chips
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 C firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C coarsely chopped walnuts (except I’m a brownie purist and I left these out)

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease and flour a 12×18 inch jelly roll pan.

Prepare the cream cheese filling by beating the cream cheese and sugar together in a medium-size bowl until smooth.  Add the egg and beat well.  Add the flour and beat until incorporated.

For the brownie batter, sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and butterscotch chips.  Remove from the heat and stir in the brown sugar until well blended.  Allow the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes.  One at a time, beat the eggs into this mixture.

Now comes my favorite part.  Stir in the dry ingredients slowly.  Major kitchen nerd confession here, but for me this is the highlight of watching a batter come together.  It’s when it really starts to take shape and you know you’re about to get something good.  At this point, stir in the walnuts, if you’re using them.

Pour the batter into the pan.  Drop teaspoonfuls of the cream cheese filling over the batter and swirl with a small knife.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out with some crumbs still attached.

Cool to room temperature before cutting into bars.

One thought on “On Sugar [butterscotch cream cheese swirl brownies]

  1. yum! as the other half is a chocolate-hater… unless it’s warm cake/brownies and comes with a side of ice cream… these will be tried soon :o)

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