We celebrated my mom's birthday recently. My parents came over for a barbeque (mmm, Bobby Flay's cheeseburgers with grilled vidalia onions and horseradish-dijon spread, corn salad, leftover, awesome fried chicken wings...). I wanted to do something special for dessert, but I also wanted to keep it simple, in keeping with the low-key BBQ. My mom loves fudgy brownies, and I had seen this recipe for one bowl mascarpone brownies.
I based my interest in the recipe off the photo, which looked almost like fudge to me. Conveniently, I had mascarpone in the fridge. I didn't even realize they had a ganache topping until I looked at the recipe more closely. To be fair, the brownies themselves only require one bowl, but you have to wash it and reuse it to make the ganache. I'll let it slide since these were rich and delicious and fudgy. However, without having added up calories and fat grams, I'll wager that these are incredibly bad for you (lots of sugar, butter, eggs, and chocolate, plus the mascarpone), and I didn't think they were SO outstanding that I'd go out of my way to make them again. By the time we topped them with vanilla bean ice cream, I was pretty much over my caloric allotment for the year.
Let's get on with the recipe.
1 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
3 large eggs, at room-temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) cocoa powder
5 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
5 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 325F and line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper. I let the parchment hang over the edges a bit to make it easier to remove.
In a glass bowl, melt butter in microwave. Stir in chocolate and mix until combined (a few additional seconds in the microwave may be needed).
Add sugar to chocolate/butter mixture and stir until combined. Heat for an additional 30 seconds on high, remove and stir until it looks shiny. It will still look a bit grainy.
Add marscapone, eggs, and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
Sift flour, salt, and cocoa into mixture with a sieve. Stir just until combined, making sure to scrape all sides of the bowl. (Mixture will be rather light in texture, instead of dense and heavy like many brownie batters.)
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top to ensure even baking. Bake for 40-50 minutes until tester comes out clean. While they are still warm, use a potato masher to lightly tamp down the surface of the brownies. Don't squish them; just flatten them a little so the surface is level. Leave in pan and set on wire rack to cool.
While brownies are cooling, make the ganache. Since this is a poured ganache, it's quick; you don't have to wait until the ganache sets up. You'll want to pour it over the brownies while they're still warm. I don't usually use butter in ganache, just cream and chocolate, but I figured I'd follow their directions. I reduced the amounts in all the ganache ingredients slightly and it was plenty.
First, chop the chocolate so it'll be ready to go. Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan over low heat. You can do it in the microwave as well, but make sure not to boil it. Add the chocolate and stir gently until it is all melted and well incorporated. Immediately pour over brownies. Let cool completely. You can put them in the fridge, which will help them cut cleanly. You may need to clean your blade for each cut for a more polished look.
Usually, I make 20-25 brownies from an 8" pan. With these, I made at least 36. Because they're taller than regular brownies, you can easily cut more pieces and still get plenty of bang for your buck. Also, please note the awesome plate, which was a gift from my friend Anna. I love the fluted edges!