Oreo Cheesecake Brownies

Ever have a rough day?  Like a my-dog-caught-a-squirrel-and-got-a-huge-gash-in-his-mouth-and-had-to-spend-the-morning-at-the-vet and a the-doctor-told-me-I-have-a-stress-fracture-and-have-to-stop-running-and-training-for-the-marathon-I’ve-been-so-excited-for kind of day?  Oh yes, you say?  Then you’ll completely understand the need for a gooey chocolatey brownie that comes with that.

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If that’s not a cure for a rough day, I don’t know what is!

Anyways, yesterday was an interesting day–Junior finally succeeded in catching a squirrel (how he managed this, I don’t know) but the squirrel lashed out and gave him a nasty cut in his mouth.  After spending the morning at the vet, he was more than a little grumpy about it (but it hasn’t deterred him from going after every squirrel he’s seen since!). 

After that, I went to the doctor myself and found out that a minor pain in my leg might actually be a serious problem.  I’m getting an MRI tonight to confirm the stress fracture diagnosis, which would bring my marathon training to a screeching halt.  It’s a bummer, but I guess it’ll be an opportunity for me to get back in the pool and start swimming again!

After all of this happened yesterday, I decided I needed a brownie.  One that’s ooey gooey and chocolatey with a bit of extra oomph. 

Enter a package of Oreos and a pound of cream cheese.

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I made a simple brownie batter, added in some Oreos, and topped it with a thick layer of Oreo cheesecake batter.  I topped that with a little more brownie batter and a few more chopped Oreos. 

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Then I sat around and watched crappy TV shows, counting the minutes until they were done, completely ignoring everything I was actually supposed to get done.  Meanwhile, Junior entertained himself with a squirrel–one that definitely couldn’t hurt him. 

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I took the brownies out of the oven when they weren’t quite done because I wanted a gooey, undercooked brownie.  If you’d like to, feel free to cook them a few extra minutes to make everything a little more solid.  I was perfectly happy with how they turned out; they’re thick, tall brownies and the cream cheese layer is substantial enough to stand up to the chocolate.  The Oreos add a nice crunch, too!  As a bonus, they freeze well, so you can have a supply of brownies whenever you have a day anything like my yesterday.

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Oreo Cheesecake Brownies
makes 20 brownies

Brownie layer:
12 oz (1 regular bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
about 8 Oreos, crushed into bite-size pieces

Cheesecake layer:
1 pound (16 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
about 8 Oreos, crushed into bite-size pieces

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper, allowing a few inches to overhang on the sides for easy removal.  (If you’re like me, and have no square pans, feel free to use a 9 inch round pan.)  Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler, and set aside to cool.

Assemble the cheesecake batter first by creaming the softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg, vanilla, and salt.  When that’s well-combined, stir in the crushed Oreos.  Set aside.

To make the brownie batter, cream together the butter and sugar.  Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork before adding them to the butter mixture, mixing until combined.  Mix in the vanilla.  Slowly, with the mixer on low speed, begin pouring in the (slightly cooled) melted chocolate.  Once all of the chocolate has been added, beat in the flour and salt until everything is just combined.  Fold in the crushed Oreos. 

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan, reserving about 1 cup to top the cheesecake layer.  Spread the cheesecake mixture evenly on top of the first layer and top with the reserved brownie batter.  Feel free to just glop it on and spread it smooth (ideal if you’re me, and trying to make this as quickly as possible) or get fancy and marble it into the cheesecake layer. Be aware that the mixture might barely fit into the pan, but the batter is thick enough to hold together if you have to dome it slightly above the top of the pan.  Bake the brownies for 50 minutes (if you want them gooey, like mine) or 55-60 minutes for slightly firmer brownies.  Let them cool completely in the pan.  Using the parchment paper overhang, remove the brownies from the pan and slice.  If they seem a little soft, place the brownies in the fridge to firm up before slicing.

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