During this busy season it's good to have a quick, easy go-to dessert. I like to include one shortcut recipe in the 12 Days of Cookies, and Darlene Smith swears by these marble brownies, which start with a mix but add a little homemade something.
1 x 655 g (21- to 23-oz) box brownie mix (do not use mix with a syrup packet)
Vegetable oil and an egg, for the mix
250 g (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
75 ml (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla
Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Prepare brownie batter as package directs, then spread into a greased 33x22 cm (13x9 inch) baking pan. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto brownie batter. Swirl with a knife for a marble effect. Bake 35-40 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting. Store in fridge covered or cut into pieces and placed in an airtight container.
Tester's notes: The dense, chocolatey brownie pairs nicely with the cream cheese layer. Make sure the cream cheese is softened or it will be hard to get the lumps out. It might be tricky getting the chocolate and cream cheese to marble, because the layers are thin. Try not to over-swirl. When it comes to cutting the brownies, Darlene suggests refrigerating them first and using a sharp, small knife for a cleaner edge.