These were another creation for a research participant, and I like them because they’re not too sweet. And because the base is the same as the topping the whole thing is incredibly easy. This recipe is from Esther Brody’s 250 Best Brownies, Bars & Squares.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13″ pan and line it with parchment paper — then butter the parchment paper as well.
Mix together in a bowl 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 cup finely chopped walnuts.
You’re looking for crumbs here, so if you have walnut pieces, pop them in the food processor (slightly more than the cup measure as it will settle) for a spell.
Using a pastry blender:
Or two knives:
Cut in 2/3 cup cold cubed butter until the mixture is entirely coarse crumbs.
This may take a while, so be patient. Too large pieces of butter will result in holes in your base.
Pour half the mixture into your prepared pan and press it to the bottom. Set the other half aside.
Bake the mixture in the pan for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool slightly.
In another bowl, beat 1lb (500g) softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until smooth.
Beat in 2 eggs and 1/4 cup milk, then add in 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over that nice warm base.
Sprinkle the reserved base stuff evenly over the top.
Bake the whole shebang for 20-25 minutes more, or until everything is just set, and then remove the pan to a rack and let it cool completely.
Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled squares out of the pan and cut them into squares.
If you have any left, store them covered in your refrigerator.