People who hate Valentine’s Day make me uncomfortable. Honestly, I tend to put V-Day haters in the same category as “bad huggers,” slow walkers, and people who pretend not to be obsessed with Beyoncé. So, they’re basically the untouchables of my personal caste system.
Sure, I can understand why V-Day might not be your absolute favorite holiday. It’s not mine either. You don’t get nearly as many presents as on birthdays and Christmas, pink isn’t everyone’s color, and I imagine February 14 is a rough day to be a diabetic. For those of you who are sassy and single, Valentine’s Day may make you feel slightly lonelier than usual, and it could potentially lead to making bad decisions with strangers and/or your ex, which is the worst. Seriously.
While all valid complaints, none of the aforementioned V-Day drawbacks necessitate donning all-black ensembles, ranting about the evils of the “Hallmark Holiday,” and generally raining on others’ heart-themed parades. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovaaahs, people. It’s about celebrating love in general. Love for your family, besties, pets (weird, but whatever), etc. I’m not an overly sentimental human being on most days, but I like the idea of having 24 hours dedicated to appreciating the peeps you love, romantic or otherwise. It’s nice.
If you insist on disliking the emotional aspect of Valentine’s Day, there are so many other wonderful things to enjoy about the holiday. You may be a hater of love, but do you hate chocolate? Baked goods? Wine? DO YOU HATE CHOCOLATE BAKED GOODS EATEN WITH WINE? Unless you are a robot or Gwyneth, I’m going to go ahead and assume that the answer to that question is no.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Yes, I look great in red, and I’m currently smug and in love, but I mostly appreciate that it’s the one day of the year that society actually promotes consuming disgusting amounts of sugar with a side of booze. Hallelujah. So, for the love of St. Valentine and his glorious holiday, I made you a special treat. Get a load of Chocolate Chip Cheesecake-Swirl Brownie Bites.
These brownie bites will make you believe in love and sex and magic. (Thank you, Justin Timberlake.)
As a die-hard fan of Duncan Hines brownies (sorry), I can honestly say these babies blow their boxed counterparts out of the water. Just imagine the ridiculous deliciousness of super fudgy, chocolate-y brownie, swirled with cheesecake and studded with chocolate chips. Whatever you’re picturing…these bites are infinity times better. Fo’ real. Oh, and the exterior of each brownie gets a little bit crispy, which yields to an unbelievably moist (eek) center when you bite into it. I die.
The most miraculous thing about these bite-sized wonders is that they look incredibly impressive, yet they couldn’t be easier to make. There’s no need for an electric mixer, a double-boiler, or any other fancy kitchen equipment, folks. All you need is a mini-muffin tin, two mixing bowls, and about 35 minutes. You simply mix together the brownie batter in one bowl and the cheesecake batter in another, swirl them together in the wells of the muffin tin, and then pop them in the oven for 15 minutes. They’re the novice baker’s dream. Don’t have a mini-muffin tin? Relax, you can obviously make them in a regular baking dish, and slice them into squares. I promise they’ll be equally delicious, if not quite as cute. (However, I strongly suggest investing in a mini-muffin tin because you’ll also use it to make these and these.)
I had grand plans to whip up these Chocolate Chip Cheesecake-Swirl Brownie Bites and drop them off at the homes of various friends and family members as edible Valentines this week. Unfortunately for them, Logan and I were forced to skip town early Wednesday morning to avoid the apocalyptic snowstorm, which foiled said plans. Instead, I baked them at Logan’s parents’ house, which was a blessing, as I think these bites communicated everything that I wanted to say to Logan and his family this Valentine’s Day: “I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you for keeping your dogs away from me, if only for long enough to take these pictures.”
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! Spread the love.
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake-Swirled Brownie Bites: (Makes about 32 Bites)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the Cheesecake Swirl:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
*Base brownie recipe adapted from Inspired Taste.
Preparing your Chocolate Chip Cheesecake-Swirled Brownie Bites:
-Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin tin (or 2 tins, depending on the size) with cooking spray and set aside.
-Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
-Add the warm melted butter to the dry ingredients, add the vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
-Transfer your brownie bites to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (I baked these at a very high altitude and they took about 20 minutes, but I recommend checking yours after 15 for safety’s sake.)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, cold
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin tin (or 2 tins, depending on the size) with cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add the warm melted butter to the dry ingredients, add the vanilla extract, and mix until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. (I know this is tiring for those of you with very little upper body strength, but you can do it!) When the batter looks thick and shiny, add the flour and mix until it’s well incorporated. Fold the chocolate chips into the brownie batter and briefly set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the cheesecake swirl.
- Spoon about a tablespoon of brownie batter into the well sof the prepared mini-muffin tin(s). Add a dollop (about ½ tablespoon) of the cheesecake swirl batter to each well. Use a knife to swirl the cheesecake into the brownie batter.
- Transfer your brownie bites to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (I baked these at a very high altitude and they took about 20 minutes, but I recommend checking yours after 15 for safety’s sake.)
- Allow your brownie bites to cool completely before removing them from the muffin-tin. I’m impatient, so I just popped mine in the freezer for ten minutes and called it a day.