I’m a Brownie Believer
March 27, 2008
Back to the sweet taste of success today (ha! sweet — get it?). It was slightly painful to re-live the whole ugly birthday cake debacle yesterday, so I’m more than happy to move on to a birthday treat that was neither error-prone nor hard to look at. When I saw these brownies featured on the wonderful baking blog Bake or Break, something about them caught my eye, even though I’m not a huge brownie fan (Kevin is googling Chicago-area divorce lawyers after reading that, I’m sure). I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, though. When I saw RecipeGirl make the same brownies recently, it hit me: these are exactly like the kind of brownie my stepdad (an avowed brownie connoisseur) would adore. Even better, his birthday was mere weeks away, so I decided then and there that I would arrive in Minnesota last Friday (two days after his birthday), bearing these brownies.
Little did I know, I would be delayed on the runway for quite some time at O’Hare en route to Minnesota (I think I’ve mentioned the pesky Easter blizzard …). We were stranded on the tarmac for a long time and I was hungry. I am not too proud to admit that I strongly considering busting into the pan of these delectable brownies, which were stashed in my purse. Thankfully, my plane got cleared for takeoff just before the hunger hit code-blue level, so these brownies made it to Minnesota and the birthday boy intact.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
These are the kind of brownies that will make a believer out of the most brownie averse among us (what? I can’t be the only one!). If the unbelievably lush layer of brownies (made rich and moist by the inclusion of mascarpone, an addition that is nothing short of brilliant) isn’t enough for you, may I direct your attention to the bordering-on-obscenely-thick layer of the darkest chocolate ganache lid that tops the brownies? I don’t know how else to say it: these brownies were a magnified version of chocolate, both cakey and fudgy. And while we’re on the topic of these brownies’ conversion powers, let me tell you this. I haven’t poured myself a glass of milk in years. But the smallest bite of these brownies made me want to just that. Tell me you could resist:
Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies
Cookworks Show on Food Network Canada via Recipezaar
For the Brownies:
1 cup unsalted butter (plus more for preparing pan)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325°. Butter an 8-inch square glass baking pan and set aside.
Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at half power in 30 second intervals, stirring between each heating. Continue until both are completely melted.
Sift sugar and cocoa powder. Add to the butter/chocolate mixture. Beat in (by hand) the mascarpone, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Fold in flour and salt.
Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on cooling rack.
For the Ganache:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons heavy cream
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the butter and cream over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture is almost boiling, pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds. Then, stir until smooth.
Pour ganache over cooled brownies and spread evenly.
Allow ganache to firm before cutting brownies. Brownies may be placed in refrigerator to expedite this.