Cheesecake and brownies are two of my favorite desserts, so this is basically heaven to me! These extra special Gingerbread Cheesecake Brownies brownies feature a gingerbread flavored cheesecake swirl which is SO creamy and absolutely delicious. They're just beaming with flavor from cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg all over fudgy dark chocolate brownies. These are highly addictive, so be warned!
WHAT ARE GINGERBREAD SPICES?
Of course as the name suggests, ginger is one of the key spices in a gingerbread spice blend! However, cinnamon is a close second if not in at the same amount. Gingerbread spice blends can vary. They include any combination of ginger, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg. Allspice is not always essential and sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't. More often than not, this is my go-to blend for gingerbread spice:
- 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground clove
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
WHAT MAKES THIS CHEESECAKE GINGERBREAD-FLAVOURED?
The key ingredients that make this cheesecake taste like gingerbread are molasses and the spices (ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg). It's important to use fancy or cooking molasses, not blackstrap molasses. What's the difference? Let me explain...
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FANCY MOLASSES AND BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES?
Molasses is graded based on how much it is refined. When sugarcane syrup is refined to make white sugar, the byproduct is molasses (also called treacle). The syrup is boiled and as moisture evaporates, the pure sugar crystallizes. The difference between all the different grades of molasses is how sweet they are. After the first boiling, the syrup has a high sugar content, it tastes sweet and is quite fluid. This is called fancy or "light" syrup.
After the second boiling, the syrup is more concentrated and darker in color. This is called cooking molasses.
After a third boiling, the syrup is very thick and very dark and quite bitter -- this is called blackstrap molasses. It is high in minerals is very intense in flavour and less sweet since most of the sugar has crystallized out.
This recipe is clever because the brownie batter uses 1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, and the leftover egg yolk is used to make the cheesecake mixture. A few tablespoons of sour cream make it ultra silky. You could also use full-fat yogurt if you don't have access to sour cream.
Gingerbread Cheesecake Brownies
- 5 oz 142g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa), coarsely chopped
- 6 tablespoon 84g unsalted butter
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 large egg white reserve the yolk
- ¾ cup 150g granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup 71g all-purpose flour
- 1 block 250g cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup 70g brown sugar
- 1 large egg yolk reserved from brownie batter
- 3 tablespoon 45ml full fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon 5ml fancy (light) molasses
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon each ground nutmeg and clove
- 2 oz 56g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped for topping
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line an 8x8-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each side.
- To make the brownie batter, gently melt chopped dark chocolate with butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan over the stove until completely melted and smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, sugar and vanilla until thickened and pale in colour. Add the warm chocolate mixture and whisk until well incorporated and batter is smooth and glossy. Mix in salt and flour until evenly blended. Reserve about ¼ cup of batter and spread the rest evenly into your prepared pan.
- To make the cheesecake mixture, beat cream cheese with brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth and glossy. Mix in egg yolk, sour cream, molasses and spices until creamy.
- Spread the cheesecake mixture evenly over the brownie batter in the pan. Dollop small spoonfuls of reserved brownie batter randomly over the surface and use a wooden skewer to swirl it in. Sprinkle chopped chocolate over top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let brownies cool completely in the pan before slicing with a hot dry knife.