Did I have you at raspberry, cheesecake, or blondie? Sweet-tart raspberry jam. Rich, creamy cheesecake. Dense, buttery blondies. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite.
It all started when I was daydreaming about berries, as one does. Specifically, I was thinking about desserts with berries baked in them. It all happened very quickly from there. Strawberry blondies became roasted-strawberry blondies. But then I thought of the out-of-season supermarket berries, which I can’t help but eye with suspicion every time I walk into the store. I’ve been burned too many times, by strawberries in particular, to go down that road.
So no roasted strawberries. Fine. Maybe strawberry jam? But I find most strawberry jams overly sweet. I can blame my mom’s Linzer tart cookies for giving me a taste for cutting buttery shortbread with raspberry jam. It’s one of those deeply rooted food memories, I guess. Something just tastes so right about it to me.
And then somewhere along the line, cheesecake entered the picture. Because cheesecake. And also probably because of the raspberry cheesecake swirl brownies I often see in the window of a bakery near my apartment. Though they’re certainly delicious, I haven’t had one in three years. The raspberry can’t stand up to the richness of the chocolate and cheesecake. I finally found what I was missing in the simpler canvas of a blondie.
And sorry to bury the lede, but these blondies are insane. The blondie batter forms a sturdy base for the swirls of cheesecake and raspberry jam. They’re taller than most blondies – well over an inch – but that accommodates thicker swirls of all three components. I like to cut them into smaller squares to emphasize their height and make them easier to hold. And really, about three bites is the perfect serving size because it means you can indulge in the unrestrained joy of seconds.
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1⅔ cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup raspberry jam (I used Bonne Maman)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on two sides so you can lift the blondies out of the pan later. Lightly butter the exposed sides of the pan.
- Combine 1⅔ cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
- Beat 9 tablespoons of butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in two eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
- Combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 egg, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.
- Spread half the blondie batter evenly in the prepared plan. Spread ⅔ of the cream cheese mixture evenly over the batter. Spread all of the raspberry jam over the cream cheese mixture.
- Dollop the remaining blondie batter and cream cheese mixture over the top. Using a butter knife or spoon, gently swirl the top layer of cream cheese and batter together.
- Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the center with just a few crumbs, 45-50 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely before lifting out of the pan and slicing them. For cleaner slices, refrigerate the blondies for an hour or two before slicing. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or longer in the fridge.