Santa Fe Brownies

Labor Day is this coming Monday which marks the end of summer and the beginning of the new school year.  At least that’s how I always remembered it.  

We always had that last hurrah in the swimming pool, and a BBQ with friends and family to end the season.  

If you’re looking for a special treat to end the summer you MUST try these Santa Fe Brownies from baker Maida Heatter from her book, “Best Dessert Book Ever.” 

Maida Heatter was a self taught baker who gained popularity in the early 60s until her passing in 2019.  

This recipe for her Santa Fe Brownies has been claimed a favorite among many well known bakers. Since I love a good cream cheese brownie I decided to try them.  I have to say they’re so darn delicious I couldn’t stop eating them.  Fortunately I took them to my sons office where his crew devoured them.

Whether baking for Labor Day or any other occasion, I highly recommend these Santa Fe Brownies.  I am certain you will enjoy them to the very last crumb!

Santa Fe Brownies

These Santa Fe Brownies are so fudgy and full of cream cheese they will become addicting.  So be sure to make them when you have friends and family around.


Chocolate mixture:
  • 1 1/2 cups unsifted unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 firmly packed cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 oz walnuts, in large pieces
  • Cream cheese mixture:
  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 oz (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs


  1. Adjust a rack 1/3 up from the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan: Turn pan upside down. Center an 18 inch length of foil, shiny side dow, over the pan. Press down on the sides and corners to shape the foil to fit the pan. Run water into the pan, pour it out, and place the foil in the pan and press into place. Spread melted butter all over the bottom and sides of the foil. Set aside.
  3. For the chocolate mixture: sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Place the chocolates and butter in a double boiler on moderate heat, stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. In mixer, beat eggs just to mix. Add the sugars and the vanilla and beat only until mixed. On low speed, beat in the melted chocolate mixture and the sifted dry ingredients only until incorporated. Set aside 2 1/4 cups of mixture. Add 2/3 cups of nuts to remaining mixture. Spread chocolate/nut mixture in the prepared pan.
  4. For the cream cheese mixture: In small bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat only until smooth. Pour cheese mixture in a wide ribbon over the chocolate mixture in the pan. Spread to the edges of the pan.
  5. Stir remaining chocolate mixture well to soften it a bit and then pour in a wide ribbon over the cheese layer. Cut through the top chocolate layer in a zig zag pattern to marbleize slightly. Sprinkle remaining nuts over the top.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done (toothpick comes out clean). Halfway through cooking, turn the pan front to back for even cooking. Cool in pan, then remove by placing cutting board over pan and flipping the brownies. Chill overnight or at least a few hours.
  7. Once chilled cut into 4 squares. Then cut each square into 8 pieces.
I omitted the pecans but by all means add them if you prefer.
Maida Heatter - Best Dessert Book Ever

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  1. I’m going to dig out my cookbook and make a batch! They look amazing, Vicki!!

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