Chewy Salted Caramel Hazelnut Cheesecake Brownies

Chewy Salted Caramel Hazelnut Brownies

Chewy Salted Caramel Hazelnut Brownies

I’ve come to the realization that, during the Summer, I am NOT a prolific blogger. I bake like the dickens (what IS a dickens anyway and do they even bake?) during the fall, Winter and early Spring, but I live in Kentucky in a house with an A/C system that barely works when it’s hot out and I have asthma; not a good combination when trying to bake lol.

Weeks ago I said I was going to make some Nutella Brownies. Today the temp wasn’t bad so FINALLY I got around to it. Erhmmm, kind of. You see, I have the great honor of being mom to six kids, three of whom still live at home, with two of those being teenage walking stomachs boys. So what did I find when I went into the cabinet to grab the Nutella? An almost empty jar with incriminating spoon marks in it. Gee, wonder how THAT happened? So I went to the back up jar of Nutella wanna be imported from Italy that I got at Big Lots. And know what? That crap is Nasty with a capital nas! I wouldn’t feed that to my worst enemy. Welllll, I know of one woman I used to be friends with that I might feed it to as well as one ultra controlling ex boyfriend. 😀

So, being the inventive soul that I am (be nice and work with me here…) what did I do? I got out the jar of Jif Salted Caramel Hazelnut Spread that I keep on hand for emergencies. Those emergencies being when I am craving something sweet and delude myself into thinking that since this is made with nuts, it’s good for me. Point being, this is some yummy stuff! Not Nutella, I admit that, but it has a unique flavor of its own; sweet, salty, with an undertone of caramel to go with the hazelnuts.

Then when I was in the fridge getting eggs, I saw the cream cheese and I immediately thought of cheesecake brownies! So that’s what we have here- deep dark and chewy chocolate brownies swirled with a salted caramel hazelnut cheesecake, then topped with some salted caramel sauce. Can we spell decadence, class?? And OMG? Wait, that one is rather self explanatory. My bad. And maybe even “please don’t share these with anyone that you don’t want to have following you around the house whimpering like a puppy to get more from you”. Just sayin’. And you don’t really have to spell that last part. I understand.

You know the drill….

Salted Caramel Hazelnut Cheesecake Brownies

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup Jif Salted Caramel Hazelnut Spread
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not a typo; you need some for the swirl and the brownie batter)
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • salted caramel sauce for drizzling n top (I used Trader Joes brand)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a greased 13×9 inch pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the hazelnut spread, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla extract. Beat well to combine. Set aside while you make the brownie batter.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and the 2 1/4 cups sugar. Beat well for 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat well.
  4. Add in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix the batter just until it is combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth down.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of the cheesecake batter on top of the brownie batter and swirl it into the brownie batter using a butter knife.
  7. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean with no liquid batter on it, though a few moist crumbs are fine.
  8. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about an hour.
  9. Use the parchment paper to carefully lift the brownies out of the pan. Let them cool completely on the rack. Wrap loosely and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight. Take them out about an hour before you’re ready to serve them so that they will be easier to cut. Cut into squares of whatever size makes you happy; no 1/2 inch tidbits mentioned in THIS blog 😛
  10. Drizzle each square (chunk, half pan…whatever, I don’t judge) with some salted caramel sauce. Serve these with ice cold milk or some hot coffee. Thank me later.

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I Actually Voluntarily Used Hazelnut

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Blondies-
Slightly chewy, definitely chocolatey and with a hint of hazelnut flavor.

Wow. Three days in a row blogging. I may just get back to my old habits if I keep this up. Hopefully, I can do it without gaining back any of the weight I’ve lost. That’s been the main reason I stopped blogging as much. fear can be a great motivator against doing certain things lol.

I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I am not a big fan of hazelnuts or anything hazelnut flavored. Usually, that is. I DID try Nutella and ended up liking it though it’s not as regular a part of my snacking as I know it is for many foodies. I have the feeling that there are some bloggers who regularly bathe in Nutella hehe.

Reason being, during my first marriage, I was blessed enough to get to live in Mannheim Germany for 3 years. It’s still a place I remember fondly and miss. I even still have dreams about it… the Volksfests, the Christkindlmarkts during November and December; the smell of spiced wine always takes me right back there… the Konditoreien (you haven’t had good pastries until you get them at a German bakery) and never forgotten, the candy shops. Oh.My.God… German candy is amazingly good. I still reminiscence over a blackberry truffle that has remained unmatched in my memory. The fly in this ointment however is that a LOT of the candies produced in Europe use hazelnut as a flavoring. And when I say lots, I mean L…O…T…S. So I got pretty burnt out on hazelnut anything. I think unless you’re a major fanatic about it in the first place, it’s easy to get tired of it.

I have to admit however that these blondies turned out quite well. I used a Martha Stewart blondie recipe. All I changed was to make the recipe 50% bigger to be able to use a 9×9 inch pan rather than an 8 inch and I added some hazelnut liquor. Believe it or not, next time I think I will add MORE hazelnut liquor (or buy some of this hazelnut flavoring from King Arthur so as to not add too much liquid to the batter. I was actually, for some strange reason, looking forward to the flavor. Probably just so that I could whine over how badly the blondie taste was messed up by the hazelnut taste but you never heard me admit that.

The nutty flavor mixed with the dark chocolate and the walnuts (yes, walnuts; I wasn’t willing to go THAT far with the hazelnut idea nor was I in the mood to shell 9 bazillion of the bitty nuts. I’m lazy. Sue me. YOU however are more than welcome to use hazelnuts instead) was quite good. The blondies themselves were slightly chewy, not really cakey at all which I liked. All in all, I’m rather tickled with this mutant blondie and will be making it again. Now to figure out what to do with the rest of a large bottle of hazelnut liquor.

I’m giving the recipe for the 8 inch pan here. I you don’t have a decent 8 inch pan (mine are rusted old pieces of poop) but have a 9 inch one, just make the recipe 50% bigger. These would work well on your Christmas cookie tray. They’re a pretty looking bar.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Blondies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut liquor (or one teaspoon hazelnut flavoring)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts or pecans or cashews if that floats your boat)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Butter the paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar; mix well.
  3. Whisk in the egg, vanilla and hazelnut liquor (or flavoring)
  4. Add the flour and salt and mix JUST until blended. Gently fold in all but about 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and about 2/3’s of the nuts.
  5. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top then sprinkle on the rest of the chocolate chips and the nuts.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack until cool, then use the parchment paper to lift the blondies out and cut them into squares.
  7. Eat. Drool. Eat more. Try not to drool more; people will laugh.

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