What are Swirl Brownies?
Swirl brownies have such a stunningly beautiful appearance! Definitive, voluptuous swirls take any dessert (or dancing, lol!) to the next level. Problem is, the swirl part can VERY easily become a cloudy, undefined mess. I've been making Cheesecake Swirl Brownies, Red Velvet Brownies and Nutella Swirl Blondies for a few years now.
In the process I've discovered some wonderful tips and tricks to give you perfect, defined swirls in brownies every time!
Since so many folks have been asking me to share my technique, I've also made a little video (below) so that you can see exactly what I do 🙂
1. Consistency of Cheesecake Batter:
This is the most important point, truly.
The cheesecake batter you make an actual cheesecake with can be quite runny. Cheesecake batter used for swirl brownies is an entirely different batter altogether. Cheesecake batter for swirl brwnies HAS to be thicker, but should still drop off a spoon in 2 seconds. If you follow your recipe to the T and it turns out runny, make it thicker.
You can do this in 2 different ways:
a] Make sure your ingredients are ice cold (not room temp) and beat the batter for 30 seconds – 1 minute. This usually works to thicken up the cheesecake batter.
b] Only try this after you've applied option 1 above. Beat some cold cream cheese in a separate bowl to remove any lumps (about 30 seconds). Beat the smooth cream cheese into your cheesecake mixture. This will definitely thicken it up.
If your cheesecake batter gets too thick, you can thin it out by stirring in 1 tablespoon of water at a time.
Another important note – always use NON-aerated cream cheese!
I also prefer using only egg white in the batter as it gives you a whiter cheesecake swirl.
2. Consistency of Brownie Batter:
What you are aiming for is to get the brownie batter and cheesecake batter more or less at the same consistency. This is absolutely crucial when making swirl brownies.
Brownie batter can often be quite warm and runny. You will need to firm it up a tad before attempting to swirl in the cheesecake mixture. It's super easy to do – just pop it in the fridge for 5 minutes. It should still move down slowly if you tilt the brownie tin, but you don't want it to be completely chilled and stationary either.
If you accidentally chilled the batter too much, pop it in the oven for 1 minute at 350ºF/180ºC. This will soften the brownie batter again.
3. The Swirling:
For practical purposes I'm just typing out everything I mention in the video.
- Place blobs of your cheesecake mixture over your brownie batter. Be sure to place blobs in the corners as corners can often look skimpy.
- Flatten out each blob with the back of a metal spoon. Spread the cheesecake onto the sides of the tin – super important! During baking the cheesecake naturally moves a bit to the middle of the tin. Spreading the cheesecake onto the sides of the tin anchors your entire pattern.
- Use a chopstick – NOT a butter knife – to swirl the mixture.
- Drag the chopstick, in SMALL circular movements, through the cheesecake and into the “blank” brownie spaces.
- Once a swirl has been made, leave it be. Going over it again will make it cloudy and messy.
- Always keep a little bit of cheesecake batter aside to fill in gaps. Swirl these extra dollops again in separated, once off, swirl motions.
Here is a video I made earlier this week so that you can see the technique for yourself 🙂 A big thanks to my husband for holding the camera!
Have you had any Swirl Brownies Issues? Please comment below because I would love to help!