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Dorothy Dean presents cheesecake brownies with a cherry on top

UPDATED: Tue., April 21, 2020

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Did you know nearly every day of the year is dedicated to honoring food or a culinary creation? This month alone has more than 40 food holidays celebrating things like jelly beans, shrimp scampi, pecans, pretzels, empanadas and oatmeal cookies.

Like we need a reason to indulge – or overindulge – in any of those, but I’ll take it! And they do motivate me to try my hand at new recipes like this one: a brownie bottom cherry cheesecake for National Cherry Cheesecake Day on Thursday.

This decadent dessert starts with a thick and fudgy brownie base that is layered with creamy cheesecake swirled with sweet and juicy cherry pie filling. Its red and white marbled topping is visually stunning, and the three desserts together make up one winning combo.

The best part, though, is how simple it is to make. Boxed brownies make up the base, and any kind will do, including your favorite homemade recipe. The cheesecake layer is just four ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.

And by using a can of cherry pie filling, creating the gorgeous swirls of cherry are effortless. After being baked and chilled, they are cut into bars and served. I like serving mine dolled up with whipped cream and topped with a maraschino cherry. Or try it with a drizzle of chocolate or ice cream.

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

1 (18-19 ounce) box brownie mix (any type works)

Water, oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 eggs

1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

Optional for serving: whipped cream and maraschino cherries

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Make the brownie batter as directed on the box; pour it into a well-greased or parchment paper-lined 9x13-inch pan.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in lemon juice and the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Pour over the brownie layer.

Drop the desired amount of cherry pie filling by spoonfuls over the cream cheese layer. Swirl with a butter knife.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cheesecake starts to turn lightly brown on the edges and set (but still slightly jiggly in the middle). Let it cool for an hour, then refrigerate until it is chilled completely.

Slice and serve topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherries, if desired.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.

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