I haven’t baked anything interesting in awhile, but given that the poet is out of town and it’s the start of my spring break, I decided to go all out. I’m also celebrating going to graduate school for sure (just got accepted to Hollins University’s MFA with a full tuition waiver and a full stipend), and although I’m not certain I’ll end up at Hollins (still waiting to hear back from the other programs I applied to), it’s certainly a reason to celebrate!

When Peabody posted a recipe for Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies I knew I had to make a vegan version. I’ve never been too good at making brownies–I always make the batter too oily or too thin or too thick, but I decided to try my hand at it again. I tweaked the Joy of Vegan Baking’s recipe and Peabody’s enough that I feel fine posting it here.

These brownies are killer. They are a serious indulgence. And I plan on making them again. Dark, moist, not too sugary, definitely Kahluaey, they define everything I’d ever want a brownie to be. I can’t wait to get back to my house after work tonight to eat another!

Kahlua Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

For the brownies:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple butter
2 tbsp water
2 tsp flax seeds, ground
1/2 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the Kahlua Cream Cheese Swirl:
4 oz vegan cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp Earth Balance, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp apple butter
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp Kahlua liquor

For the glaze:
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tbsp Kahlua
soy milk to thin out (if needed, amount will vary)

Preheat the oven to 350. Oil a 9×13 pan.

In a medium bowl, cream the vegan cream cheese, Earth Balance, and sugar with a hand-held mixer (or use an upright one, if you have it). Add the flour, apple butter, and Kahlua. Once smooth, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the sugar and apple butter. Add the ground flax seeds, water, and vanilla. Once combined, add the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Slowly stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Once the batter is smooth, stir in the chocolate chips.

With a spatula, spread the brownie batter evenly in the pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownies. Use a knife to swirl the cream cheese into the brownies.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Let the brownies cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and Kahlua together. If the glaze is really thick, thin with soy milk. Using a pasty brush, brush the glaze over the cooled brownies.

Allow to cool another 15 minutes, then slice and serve!