Butterscotch Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Rich butterscotch and sweet cream cheese are a perfect combination in these Butterscotch Cream Cheese Swirl Bars.
Rich butterscotch and sweet cream cheese are a perfect combination in these Butterscotch Cream Cheese Swirl Bars.

Last time we visited New York, we happened upon Magnolia Bakery. Unfortunately, we opted not to eat any of those amazing sweet treats because we were about an hour away from our dinner reservations. I was not strong enough, however, to walk by without even going inside. It was seriously one of the best smelling places I’ve ever experienced.

I do intend to partake of the famous baked goods from Magnolia one of these days. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy baking from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. This book has so many great-looking recipes that it’s truly difficult to pick one.

I settled on these bars because I was intrigued by the combination of butterscotch and cream cheese. Although these are actually called brownies in the book, I couldn’t bring myself to call them that without any chocolate present. So, I am taking the liberty of renaming them for my purposes.

Butterscotch Cream Cheese Swirl Bars combine sweet butterscotch with a swirl of cream cheese for an irresistible treat. - Bake or Break

I’m not usually much of a butterscotch fan when it is the primary flavor, but the cream cheese aspect serves to offset its taste. The two flavors work surprisingly well together. I opted to used pecans instead of walnuts. Of all the various things you may see on BoB, walnuts are not likely to be among them. While I will eat them in some baked treats, they are not among the various nuts I keep on hand.

My only issue with these bars is not with the flavor but in their preparation. The swirling was not a simple task because of the thickness of the batter. I did half the recipe, so I suppose something could have been lost in translation.

Strangely enough, the flavor and texture of these bars is reminiscent of chess squares. The butterscotch is not a strong flavor at all. I really liked the flavor and crunch of the pecans. As for the cream cheese, well, I’m always a fan of that. For those of you looking for something a bit different, give these sweet bars a try.

Butterscotch Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24 3-inch bars

Butterscotch Cream Cheese Swirl Bars


    For the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • For the bars:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups butterscotch chips
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (original recipe uses walnuts)


To make the filling:

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat well. Add flour and combine. Set aside.

To make the bars:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 12″x 18″jelly roll pan.

In a medium saucepan, melt butterscotch chips and butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in brown sugar. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, to butterscotch/butter mixture. Add vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until well combined. Stir in pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Drop the cream cheese filling by teaspoonfuls over the batter. With a small knife, swirl into the batter. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a pick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool to room temperature before cutting into bars.


Recipe adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.