The hard part of this was choosing a recipe. I printed off six recipes in about 5 minutes of looking, and settled on Cheesecake Streusel Brownies. They had two things going for them: they looked easy and they had chocolate in them. I vowed to remain true to the recipe, and I was mostly successful, though I chickened out at the last minute and subbed bittersweet chocolate chips for the topping.
The recipe starts with the streusel/brownie layers. You make the streusel, set some of it aside and use the rest to make the brownie layer. The recipe was very easy, and because the cheesecake layer gets covered in streusel and then chocolate chips, I didn't have to stress about little bits of the brownie layer that got stirred up when spreading the cheesecake. Not that I had a problem with that. No, not me.
The part that perplexed me was the layering: brownies on the bottom (sure), then cheesecake, (fine), streusel (makes sense), then chocolate chips. What? Chocolate chips on the top?? I kept muttering "I don't see how this is going to work" as I sprinkled the chocolate chips on top. As it baked, the chocolate chips melted slightly and formed soft little chocolate spots on the top.
These smelled fantastic as they baked so I didn't let them cool entirely before cutting one to sample. You definitely want to wait until they're cool before slicing them because they are a little crumbly when warm but slice cleanly when cooled. The cheesecake and brownie layers were delicious together, but the streusel really made them better. Next time, I'd add a little salt to the streusel and brownie, change the chocolate in the brownie to bittersweet and use semi-sweet for the topping. These would also be terrific with toffee bits in the brownies or walnuts in the streusel.
Thanks to the folks at C&H for including me in their holiday blogging event!