Recently Food Renegade posted this recipe, via Megan Keatley of the blog Health-Bent (her blog subtitle: "Paleo friendly recipes that don't look or taste like dog food"- love it!) I tried out the recipe and I just have to share it with you, in case you missed it, because it is really sooo good! She recommends using a 9x9 pan, but all I have is a 10x10 pan so mine are thin, but still delicious! Next time I may try them in a muffin tin - if you have a mini muffin tin you could make brownie bites. Just make sure to watch them carefully in the oven because you'll have to reduce the cooking time.
You can try any nut butter you prefer: here in Rwanda we have something similar to peanuts (just called "ground nuts") that they make a nut butter from. For the "cream cheese" I used yogurt cheese made from plain yogurt drained through a coffee filter inside a strainer (left in a bowl in the refrigerator- save the whey for "soaking"). And we don't have chocolate chips so I didn't add any of those in, but these're great already without them!
Nutbutter Brownies with a Cheesecake Swirl
1 cup nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, etc.)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup unrefined sugar (i.e. raw sugar, turbinado, sucanat)
1/3 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (optional)
8 oz. (1 cup) cream cheese or yogurt cheese
1/3 cup unrefined sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional: substitute with mint, almond, orange, etc.*)
Preheat your oven to 350. Oil or butter a 9x9 pan (or whatever you are using).
Mix together all the brownie ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir or whisk until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. (then lick the bowl clean... oh wait, did I say that?)
Stir or beat cream cheese until smooth, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls all over the top of the brownie batter. Use a toothpick or knife to lightly draw through the cream cheese mixture, swirling & circling as desired (don't overdo it or instead of nice designs you'll just have it all mixed together).
Bake for about 35 minutes (less if using a different size pan). The top will be cracked and the cheesecake mixture just starting to brown. Cool completely & then refrigerate. Serve cold (like cheesecake).
*another option to try with this recipe would be to add shredded coconut & coconut extract to the cream cheese layer. I think that would taste great as well!