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Cheese and Chocolate

If midnight had a flavor, these brownies might come pretty close to capturing it – at least what I imagine in my mind midnight might taste like:  dark, rich, dense, smooth and not too sweet.  Imagine, if you will, a pure chocolate indulgence that screams sinfulness, yet exudes a level of luxury and sophistication.  Sophistication aside though, it’s time to clean out your pie-holes, clear your palette, and get ready for some serious taste.

Allow me to present Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies.  I discovered this recipe on Bri’s blog: Xplicit Sweetness.  She posted about them awhile ago and I marked that recipe as one I needed to try.  The photo alone made them look so good they needed to go on the ‘make it soon’ list.

Since I’m currently underway with a lifestyle change ala weight loss, I’m fighting the urge to bake things that are so tempting as to derail my efforts.  Thankfully, I decided to make these as a kind of fair well to the old me – not so much a celebration of my old habits as much as a look ahead to the person who can some day make these kinds of treats and enjoy them in simple moderation, all the while being satisfied that I don’t need more than a reasonable portion.

So, these were actually made over a month ago, but I’m only now getting to the post.  The recipe uses Mascarpone cheese in the batter.  If, by some chance, you aren’t familiar with Mascarpone, it’s kind of an Italian cream cheese – not quite as ‘sweet’ as regular cream cheese and not as ‘hard’.  It is a bit more expensive, so I don’t buy it very often.  If you want to see some of the other uses for Mascarpone, just check out Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network – she makes good use of the stuff.

For the chocolate, I used my preferred baking chocolate – Ghirardelli.  I know a lot of folks prefer brands like Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, Guittard, Callebaut or even something organic like Dagoba or Green and Black’s.  I’ve tried many of them, and for my money, I’ve found the Ghirardelli to work best for my taste and for those who get to share in my creations.  They say if you like the taste straight out of the package, then cook with it – and Ghirardelli is one I do like straight out of the package.  I’m not much of a chocolate snob, but I know what I like, and if I can also manage to save a few bucks a pop, well, that just means I can afford to make more later.  For this recipe, I used their 60% Cacao Bittersweet baking bar.  I will say that if I were to do milk chocolate, the E. Guittard milk chocolate chips are a fine choice.  But, I digress.

After being topped with ganache and allowed to set up in the refrigerator overnight, you are left with an amazing-looking brownie.  These are not your typical eat out of hand brownies.  No, these brownies deserve to be served with some class.  I chose a simple presentation on a nice plate followed by a dusting of cocoa powder.  Partner with a good coffee or a tall glass of milk, and you have a recipe for simple indulgence.  Is this what midnight tastes like?  I don’t know, but I suspect once you try them, you’ll wait until midnight to pull them out so you don’t have to share.

I’ve posted a copy of the recipe here.  Click on any of the photos below for a larger image.

     

     

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