This recipe came about because I had half a pound of strawberries in the fridge that were about to go bad. I don’t love eating strawberries plain but I definitely wasn’t going to let them go to waste so I started racking my brain for a good way to use them up.
My first thought was to cook them down until jammy and swirl on top of brownies, but then I thought blondies would be better. The chocolate might overpower the strawberry flavor and I wanted the dessert to be strawberry-forward since we’re in the middle of summer. When I saw I had a block of cream cheese in the fridge, I decided to mix it with the jammy strawberries and bake it on top of the brown-sugary blondies instead of just doing a jammy swirl. The result of this strawberry-cream cheese-blondie hybrid experiment is one the best summery desserts I’ve ever made.
The blondie base is chewy and soft in the center, and I dolloped some of it on top of the cream cheese layer to create a buttery top crust. The strawberries and cream cheese mixture is simple and delicious. Straight out of the oven, it’s warm and gooey and addicting; after chilling in the fridge, it firms up to an even more addicting smooth and cheesecake-like consistency that pairs nicely with the firmer blondie.
Brownies have always been my favorite dessert but these blondies are certainly giving brownies a run for their money.
- 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment and lightly grease.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the strawberries, sugar, and water until it bubbles. Let it bubble for about 10 minutes or until thickened and jam-like. Stir constantly so the bottom doesn’t burn. Use a spoon or fork to mash the strawberries while its bubbling, or leave them intact if you’d prefer chunks of strawberries in the cheesecake layer. Let cool.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until well combined.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour 3/4 of the batter into the prepared pan.
With a mixer, beat the strawberry mixture with the cream cheese until fully incorporated. Spread on top of the blondie base and dollop the remaining blondie batter on top.
Bake 45-50 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is just set. Let cool 10 minutes before cutting into.
You can eat these while still warm, or let them firm up in the fridge. They’re delicious either way.