Loaded Halloween Cream Cheese Brownies
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Loaded Cream Cheese Halloween Brownies — Ultra fudgy, rich brownies topped with a layer of orange cream cheese, sandwich cookies, and chocolate chips!! The perfect EASY Halloween treat that everyone will love!!
Fudgy Halloween Brownies Recipe
I used my favorite brownie base for these easy layered Halloween brownies that will put everyone into the Halloween spirit. It’s an easy, no-mixer cream cheese brownie recipe that’s as fast as using a boxed mix. It’s a brownie base I’ve fallen in love with because it’s easy, I don’t have to break out my mixer, and it always delivers amazing results. Many of the Related Recipes below use the same base.
First, you simply melt chocolate and butter together, add sugar, eggs, flour, and stir everything together.
Then, make the orange cream cheese layer with cream cheese, sugar, egg, and red and yellow food coloring. I used McCormick Assorted Food Color. My daughter was helping me make the brownies and she said it felt like we were doing an arts and crafts project and a cooking project all in one.
The recipe is adapted from these Loaded Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies but with a Halloween flair. These easy homemade brownies are so fudgy, there’s zero cakiness, and they are a dense and dark perfect complement to the sweet-yet-tangy cream cheese.
The chocolate chips add texture while the sandwich cookies add crunch.
I recommend keeping and serving these Halloween brownies chilled. The chilled chocolate and the cream cheese are excellent together and so, so rich tasting.
What’s in Halloween Brownies?
To make these easy Halloween brownies, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Dark chocolate
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Brewed coffee
- Instant espresso granules
- All-purpose flour
- Brick-style cream cheese
- Red and yellow food coloring
- Sandwich cookies
How to Make Halloween Brownies
These Halloween brownies are so simple to make, so don’t let their beautiful appearance fool you into thinking otherwise! To make the fudgy brownies themselves, you’ll need to first melt the butter and chocolate together, then stir in the remaining ingredients.
Turn the homemade brownie batter into a greased 8×8-inch pan and set aside while you make the cream cheese layer.
To prep the cream cheese layer, cream together all the ingredients until combined. Add in the red and yellow food coloring a little at a time until you achieve your desired shade of orange.
Spread the cream cheese mixture carefully over the brownie batter layer. Top with crushed sandwich cookies and chocolate chips, then bake until done.
Normally, I’d tell you to insert a toothpick into the center of the brownies to see if they’re done. But that test is tough here since you’ll likely poke the toothpick through soft cream cheese and melted chocolate chips. So just use your best judgement!
Want to know how I make these Halloween brownies? Watch the video!
What’s the Best Chocolate for Brownies?
I use 72% chocolate. The higher percentage the chocolate has, the darker it is, and also the less sweet it is. I would not go over 80% nor would I go under about 60% because for me that wouldn’t have enough dark chocolate richness.
Can I Omit the Coffee?
You don’t absolutely have to use coffee and/or add the espresso granules to the recipe if you don’t want to but before you say no, know that you can’t taste the coffee and the brownies don’t taste like coffee.
When adding coffee or espresso to chocolate cakes or brownies, it simply brings out and heightens the chocolate flavor without leaving a coffee taste at all.
Can I Double This Easy Brownie Recipe?
Absolutely! To do so, simply double the ingredients and bake the Halloween brownies in a 9×13-inch pan. The baking time should remain roughly the same.
Can I Add Other Toppings?
But of course! Feel free to top your loaded cream cheese Halloween brownies with anything you’d like. Chopped up candy bars, chocolate chunks, pretzels, and more would taste delicious with these fudgy brownies.
Tips for Making Halloween Brownies
Depending on how large your McCormick Assorted Food Color drops are, you may need more or less drops than I used to achieve a nice Halloween-inspired orange color. I find their food coloring to be wonderfully intense and you can always add more, but you can’t un-do, so add slowly.
Red is ‘stronger’ than yellow so I recommend adding the yellow first to the cream cheese and then adding in the red, as needed, until the desired orange hue is reached.
I noticed that after baking, the orange deepened and took on more of a slightly more red hue, so keep than in mind when you’re mixing the food coloring into the cream cheese in the bowl before baking. I’d aim for more of a yellow-based orange than a red-based orange.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use 72%)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 tablespoon brewed coffee (leftover or cold coffee is okay), optional but recommended
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional but recommended
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Cream Cheese Topping
- 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 10 drops Yellow McCormick Assorted Food Color, or as needed
- 5 drops Red McCormick Assorted Food Color, or as needed
- 12 sandwich cookies (such as Oreos), chopped (I chop each cookie in 6 to 9 pieces)
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
- To a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter, chocolate, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Allow mixture to cool momentarily before adding the eggs so they don’t scramble.
- Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, optional coffee, optional espresso granules (neither make brownies taste like coffee and both enhance and round out the chocolate flavor), and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, and stir until smooth and combined without overmixing.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula as necessary; set aside.
- To a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high speed for about 2 minutes, or until mixture is smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the Yellow Food Color, Red Food Color, and mix to incorporate. As needed, add additional drops of food color to achieve the desired shade of orange. Remember to add slowly because you can’t un-do it once you add it.
- Turn mixture out over the brownie layer in heaping tablespoon-sized dollops, leaving a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around the edges (the cream cheese is prone to burning if you add it right up to the edge so leave some space). Take your time and evenly smooth the dollops together to form an solid layer.
- Evenly sprinkles the sandwich cookies, chocolate chips, and bake for about 43 to 45 minutes, or until brownies are done. The toothpick test is tricky since you’ll hit melted chocolate chips and soft cream cheese, but test a few patches and when inserting the toothpick into the deepest brownie layer, it should feel ‘thick’ and set and not runny.
- Allow brownies to cool uncovered on a wire rack for about 2 hours.
- Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours (I prefer overnight) before slicing and serving. The cream cheese needs to be chilled and set before slicing.
Make the Brownies
Make the Cream Cheese Topping
Brownies will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week. They’re best served chilled.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 618Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 435mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 6gSugar: 32gProtein: 12g
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