Cream Cheese Brownies

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
5 tbsps butter, room temperature
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp unsifted flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan. Melt the chocolate and 3 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Stir constantly to avoid burning the chocolate. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, cream the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the cream cheese. Gradually add in 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until fluffy. Blend in one egg, a tablespoon of flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat two eggs until they are light colored and slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until the mixture thickens. Add the baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup of flour. Blend in the chocolate mixture, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, nuts, and almond extract. Spread half of the chocolate batter in your pan. Then top with the cream cheese mixture. Spoon the remaining chocolate over the top and run a knife or toothpick through the batter to marble it. Bake for 35-40 minutes for a 9×9-inch pan or until a toothpick comes out clean.  For a double batch in a 9×13-inch pan,  start checking around 40 minutes and keep testing with a toothpick until the center is done – but it does tend to dry out the edges. One batch makes 16 brownies.

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