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Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies. Deep dark chocolate brownies are studded with chocolate chips, then topped with creamy Irish Cream cheesecake, mini chocolate chips and more brownie batter. It’s a perfect dessert to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Pan sized Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies cut into smaller squares by themerchantbaker.com

Anybody else out there feeling like a little chocolate is needed this week? :/

Oh, and cheesecake. Anyone feeling the cheesecake vibe with me?

Aaand….I’m just going to assume you’re up for some Bailey’s Irish Cream? ;) 

Ever since I made these Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Irish Cream, I’ve been all about using Irish cream in desserts right around this time of year.

Close up photo of three stacked brownies by themerchantbaker.com

First, those cupcakes. There are a few extra steps involved than your typical cupcake, but wow, is it ever worth it! So good! My sister still raves about them!

Part of making those cupcakes requires scooping out the centers so that you can fill them with an Irish cream cheesecake filling.

If you can refrain from eating those scooped out centers, you can move right onto making Chocolate Stout Cake Crumb Truffles. Super easy and impressive!

I could wax poetic about Cookies and Irish Cream Cheesecake Pie but I just posted a round up of 10 Recipes to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Head on over to that post for more inspiration about that pie and other treats.

Brownies square on a spatula by thermerchantbaker.com

The bottom line here is that I’m tapping into the chocolate and Irish cream theme yet again. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m oh so happy to do it.

Alrighty then…Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies…are you ready to begin?

Testing the recipe

I’m gonna start with the Irish cream. I tested this with the Irish cream in just the cheesecake batter and in both the cheesecake and brownie batter. 

Of course, I had to redevelop the whole brownie batter recipe again once I removed the liquer. 

I’m going to be completely honest with you here (as I always am :)

In the first recipe, I used it in both batters, (and then subsequently underbaked the brownies :/ ) I know some of you love underbaked brownies, but this wasn’t working for me. I also thought maybe the Irish cream was too pronounced.

Close up photo of stacked of brownies on a white pedestal by themerchantbaker.com by themerchantbaker.com

After I cut them and went through a whole photo shoot because I was so confident in how they would turn out…I decided that they weren’t what I was looking for. Ugh!

Oh, my taste testers loved them, but you know me. I’ve got to realize the vision. And this wasn’t “it.”

I put the cut squares back into the oven on a cookie sheet (yes, I did) and baked them until I felt they were “done” and then let them completely cool, wrapped them up and sent them to the freezer. 

Test Batch #2

This was a couple of days later; I was simply in no mood to make another batch of brownies on that particular brownie fail day.

I removed the Bailey’s from the brownies, rejiggered the recipe to account for the reduction of liquid and increased the sugar in the cheesecake. Then, I changed the amount of flour, the sugar, the cocoa….

And, I even changed the amount and size of chips in the brownie. 

Yes….this would be the winning brownie…the brownie I would love.

So, of course, I went through another painstaking photo shoot, all the while telling myself that this is why we don’t shoot until we confirm the recipe. It’s always so tempting to get a shoot out of the way, though. Sometimes, I give in to it.

Pan sized Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies cut into smaller squares by themerchantbaker.com

I shot it. They were baked perfectly. Not underbaked. Not overbaked.  

I gave my husband a blind taste test between the first and second test…

He picked the first one. You know, the one he already told me was great. The one I said wasn’t what I wanted.

What?!? The first one?!? 

Then, I had more people do taste tests. Everyone picked the first one. (Are you kidding me?) 

Fine! I sampled them both. Ugh! Seriously??? I picked the first one as well. Yes. I made a whole other recipe of brownies AND shot them for nothing. Well, not nothing nothing. I mean, we still have an extra batch of brownies in the freezer now, right? :) 

Brownie square leaned against another brownies by themerchantbaker.com

We loved the original. You could actually taste the Irish cream. That flavor got lost in the second batch. I mean, if you’re going to make Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies, they better well taste like it, right?

Everyone thought the first one had a richer flavor. I’m not sure how that happened…I’m assuming the liqueur brought out something extra in the chocolate, you know like coffee does. Whatever the reason, I’ll go with it.

Another thing not to forget, brownies taste better the next day. They just do. There’s science behind it. I won’t go through that here. I’ve gone through that spiel in other posts. You know, just like chili or lasagna. They’re just better the next day.

It’s also just like my Crazy Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. I’ll even say that one is better on day 3. Really and truly.

Onto the cocoa. I firmly believe that great cocoa makes great brownies. Use your favorite. If you’ve been following along with me all these years, you know my favorite (see below.) I wrote about it yet again in my recent post, Chocolate Sugar Cookies.

Stack of brownies on a white pedestal by themerchantbaker.com

What kind of cocoa makes a dark chocolate brownie?

This one’s easy. Dark cocoa or black cocoa will give you that deep dark color and deep chocolate flavor. I love, love, love it! My favorite is Double Dutch Dark Cocoa, but you can use any dark cocoa in this recipe.

And yes, you can actually use any unsweetened cocoa in this recipe.

I will tell you that different cocoas will yield significantly different results, so use one that you love. I happen to love the more deeply chocolatey, mellow dutch process cocoa flavor.

The brownie batter comes together in one bowl. Just whisk the dry ingredients, then add the wet. Stir in some chips and you’re done.

Close up image of Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownie by themerchantbaker.com

Why it’s important to use room temperature ingredients for cheesecake

If you want a nice, smooth cheesecake batter without lumps, the cream cheese, egg and creams need to be at room temperature.

If you have room temperature cream cheese and then add anything cold to it, parts of the cheese will get chilly and solidify. 

So, don’t do that. I know you might be tempted, and really, no one’s gonna turn down cheesecake with a few lumps, but a smooth cheesecake batter is lovely thing.

You can plan ahead and just leave them out on the counter for an hour or so. I swear sometimes I feel like I don’t have the time, but we’re all busy and that hour usually passes before I even know it.

Or, you can use these tips to bring those pesky cold ingredients to room temperature quickly.

Brownie square leaned against another brownies by themerchantbaker.com

How to bring cream cheese to room temperature quickly

There are many different ways, but I usually just take it out of it’s packaging and cut it up into smaller chunks. Separate the pieces so that they’re not touching each other and the room temp air can circulate around them.

Smaller pieces come to room temperature faster than one big chunk. Makes sense, right? It’s usually ready for me in 20 minutes or so, depending on the temperature in my kitchen.

You can also heat up a mug of water in the microwave. Then, take it out and place your plate of cream cheese pieces and into the microwave, close the door (leave the oven OFF) and let it sit in the residual heat left in the microwave for 10 minutes.

Then, I just make sure I beat the cream cheese until creamy before adding other ingredients.  

Three stacked brownies by themerchantbaker.com

How to bring eggs to room temperature quickly

Place the eggs in a bowl and cover with warm water. I use very warm, but not hot, water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Feel free to let them sit in the water until you’re ready for them. Even when I think I’m in a rush, 30 minutes will easily slip by before I need those eggs.

The brownie batter also contains eggs that don’t have to come to room temperature, but since I’m already bringing one to room temperature, I just fill the bowl with the four eggs and bring them all to room temperature.

The reason why the brownie batter doesn’t require room temperature eggs is because the fat in the recipe is in the form of oil, not butter. We don’t have to worry about the oil solidifying as we would if there was butter in the recipe.

How to bring the creams to room temperature quickly

The total amount of cream (the heavy cream and Irish cream) is only 1/4 cup. I just pour the amount into a small glass bowl and microwave for 10 seconds. Done and done.

Three stages of brownie batter topped with cheesecake batter and chocolate chips by themerchantbaker.com

How to layer the brownie and cheesecake batters

I reserved 3/4 cup of the brownie batter then spread the rest in the prepared pan.

Then, I used a small scoop and dropped cheesecake batter evenly over the brownie layer.

I wanted an extra hit of chocolate, so I sprinkled mini chocolate chips over the cheesecake layer.

Finally, I topped the cheesecake with spoonfuls of the remaining brownie batter and sprinkled mini chips on top of that layer as well.

I did it this way because I didn’t want to swirl the batters together. I wanted chunks of cheesecake and chunks of brownie batter intermingled, not swirled. 

unbaked brownie and cheesecake batter topped with chocolate chips by themerchantbaker.com

Same with the mini chips. I could have mixed them into the cheesecake batter but I liked them sitting right on top of that layer so that they were easy to see once baked. I didn’t want them hiding in the cheesecake batter.

I’m going to be honest with you, this whole layering of the brownie and cheesecake batters can be done any number of ways.

Not into all the scooping of the batters? Do a layer of brownie batter and a layer of cheesecake batter, then sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Or, use the tip of a knife to swirl it all together. Just be careful to not over mix while swirling or you’ll lose the distinct cheesecake batter and it will just become part of the brownie batter. 

Baked Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies from square pan by themerchantbaker.com

Why use mini chocolate chips?

When it came time to sprinkle chips on top of the cheesecake layer, I wanted to use mini chips for little flecks of chocolate throughout. That’s what I love about mini chips. You can got a lot of coverage with just a small amount. 

I use them in my Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups for that very reason. A little goes a long way when you’re trying to make a healthier choice…which, I realize, we are not doing here today. But, it’s a good tip, when you’re not splurging on brownies :)

In this recipe, I didn’t want bigger chunks of chips. I wanted more coverage and less chunk.

The thing is you can’t go wrong with brownie batter, cheesecake batter and chocolate chips. Don’t sweat it.

Follow the recipe or follow your own plan. Do you want the extra texture of regular sized chips? Go ahead. It’s all gonna be good.

 

Pan sized Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies cut into smaller squares by themerchantbaker.com

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How to get clean cuts with brownies

I do a few things to get nice clean cuts for brownies and bars.

First, I line the baking pan with foil and spray it with cooking or baking spray. I use Bak-Klene {aff.link}. It doesn’t leave any residue (you know that sticky stuff left from other sprays?) and my baked goods release without issue. 

Once the brownies are baked and cooled, the whole pan goes into the refrigerator to chill. 

When they are chilled, the brownie gets nice and firm. It will be easy to remove the foil and take the whole chilled brownie slab and place it on a cutting board. Now you’ve got a nice firm brownie and easy access for some good, clean cuts.

A fork spearing a brownie on a white plate by thermerchantbaker.com

Then, I use a nice sharp chef’s knife to make my cuts. If I’m cutting a recipe that leaves any residue on the knife, I’ll wipe it off after each cut. Sometimes, I’ll let the knife sit in very hot water, then wipe with a paper towel, make a cut  or two, then return the knife back to the hot water to repeat the process.

That’s it. Bring your ingredients to room temperature. Then, one bowl for the cheesecake batter and one bowl for the brownie batter. 

After that, follow my instructions for layering or go rogue and do your own thing.

A piece of a brownie on a fork resting on a brownies by thermerchantbaker.com

Then, when you’re all done you’ll have a trifecta of chocolate, cheesecake and Irish cream. Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies. Sounds pretty good to me right about now :)

Close up photo of three stacked brownies by themerchantbaker.com

Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies

Yield: 16 Brownies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Irish Cream Cheesecake Brownies. Deep dark chocolate brownies are studded with chocolate chips, then topped with creamy Irish Cream cheesecake, mini chocolate chips and more brownie batter. It's a perfect dessert to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

Ingredients

For the cheesecake:

  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

For the brownies:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup dutch process dark cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 3/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 Tablespoons mini semi sweet chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

Prepare the baking pan:

  1. Line a 9" square baking pan with heavy duty foil. Spray bottom and sides with cooking spray. Set aside.


Make the cheesecake batter:

  1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat softened cream cheese until creamy.
  2. Add sugar and cornstarch and continue to beat until combined.
  3. Add egg, heavy cream and Irish cream. Beat until smooth. Set aside.

Make the brownie batter:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugars, cocoa, espresso powder and salt until combined.
  2. Add olive oil, eggs, vanilla and Irish Cream. Stir until completely combined.
  3. Stir in the 3/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips until combined.
  4. Remove 3/4 cup of the brownie batter to reserve for topping.

Prepare to bake the brownies:

  1. Spread the remaining brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  2. Using a small scoop, or a spoon, drop small scoops of cheesecake batter evenly over the brownie layer.
  3. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of mini chocolate chips over the cheesecake layer.
  4. Spoon or scoop small amounts of the reserved brownie mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tablespoons for mini chips over brownie batter.
  5. Tap the pan on the counter to settle the mixture so that you don't have any significant peaks of batter sticking up. If you do, use the back of a spoon to press them down.

Bake the brownies:

  1. Bake the brownies for about 35-40 minutes or until the top is puffed, appears set, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist brownie crumbs.
  2. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate before cutting for cleanest cuts. Store in refrigerator for up to three days or freeze individually wrapped brownies for longer storage.




Notes

*If you don't want to invest in a whole bottle of Bailey's, look for the mini bottles. Mine came in a pack of three.

*I love a dutch process dark cocoa, but feel free to use your favorite cocoa. Different cocoas will produce very different results, so use one you love.

*The espresso powder is optional but really brings out the chocolate flavor.

*If you want to make this recipe without any liqueur in it, sub in heavy cream wherever the recipe calls for the liqueur.

*When I freeze brownies, I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them in a zip top freezer bag.

*The brownies will taste better the day after you bake them. The flavors develop richer, deeper notes. I usually bake my brownies the day before I need them and then wait to cut them until the next day.