February 2018 | The Honest

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I have something to confess. I am not a big fan of chocolate. Never have been. I prefer the sweetness and  tang or fruits and citrus over the texture and flavor of chocolate. Ironically, everyone in my house loves chocolate so I find myself baking with it more often than not.  I have referenced this base brownie recipe (from for sometime with only one modification- replacing the vanilla with instant coffee or espresso. Adding coffee to chocolate really enhances it's flavor.  Also, use a good cocoa powder. I've added a link to the one I use. I like it. It's affordable and last a while. Totally worth it!

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Of course, I had to make these brownies my own by adding cream cheese. It  makes an already great base recipe and take it over the top. Better yet, they look SO FANCY. Truth be told they are very simple to make. If you've never down the swirl, it's also a simple task. Also, there's no such thing as a perfect swirl. It' s forgiving- just don't over swirl. You want to keep that distinction between brownie and cheesecake. 

You will need a couple bowls, a whisk, and a hand mixer or stand mixer.  If you start your oven and begin assembly, your brownies are ready just about the time your oven is heated and ready to bake, With my oven, that's about 10-15 minutes, Then, they bake for about 30-35 minutes. In under and hour you have an oh-so-fancy "elevated" brownie. 



makes 9 large brownies|


  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3.3 g package of instant coffee or 1 teaspoon of brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder


  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sugar , and instant coffee

4.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix well with wooden spoon or whisk. 

5. Spray a 9x9 cake pan with non stick pray or line with non stick parchment. Add brownie batter. Set aside.



1. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk together the sugar, egg, vanilla, and cream cheese until smooth. until just mixed. Just one step! 



1.  Dollop 9 equal parts of cream cheese batter on top of brownie batter. This will be about 2-3 large spoonfuls per dollop.

2. With a knife, start from the center of the dollop and run through three dollops in one smooth stroke. Repeat one stroke down each dollop, then three separate strokes across. Or you can swirl cream cheese batter into the brownies to your liking.

3. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

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