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Claire's Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Hands-on time 40 mins
Total time 2 hrs, 20 mins

Makes 16 servings

If you don't have pastry flour, just process whole wheat flour for 1 minute in a food processor.


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 6 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray an 8-inch square pan with vegetable cooking spray.

  2. Beat cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add yolk to cream cheese mixture. Stir to combine.

  3. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

  4. Heat oil and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking until chocolate is melted. Whisk in remaining 1 cup sugar, and stir until melted. Add buttermilk, applesauce, and remaining 2 tsp. vanilla. Remove from heat. Add egg white and whole egg, whisking constantly until incorporated to prevent eggs from curdling. Add flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Transfer brownie batter to prepared pan.

  5. Using a tablespoon, drop 9 dollops of cream cheese mixture on brownie batter. Draw the tip of a sharp knife or skewer through the 2 batters in a crisscross fashion to create a swirled effect.

  6. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until top is just firm to the touch, rotating halfway through baking. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 hour).

  7. Coat a knife with vegetable cooking spray, and cut into 16 squares. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Lighten Up, Y'all. Ten Speed Press.