I don’t know about you, but I like to do a whole lot-a-nada on the weekends.
There is always some eating, maybe a little antiquing, maybe a lazy walk with the dogs, definitely some couch napping, and sometimes a cooking/baking project if I’m feeling ambitious.
I’m not saying that brownies are ambitious, because they totally aren’t. Brownies are easy and chocolatey and that is why we like ’em.
Making your own ricotta isn’t even ambitious, it just sounds that way.
If you make these brownies the people you share them with might think you’re some sort of kitchen wizard. The kind that spends all weekend conjuring up baked goods just for their enjoyment.
You don’t have to be a wizard to make these.
Not at all…I sure don’t know any spells.
Even if you make the ricotta from scratch.
But, you can let people believe you labored away over your cauldron all weekend.
They don’t need to know that you in fact, did not, and that maybe you napped on the couch with the TV on mute, cuddled up with your dog.
That you are in fact, NOT an alum of Hogwart’s, you just wish you were.
..and that you definitely weren’t talking horcruxes with your friend in a vintage shop or finding potato mashers so gigantic they could only be fit for Hagrid.
They don’t need to know that you’re just a total geek and a half.
No one needs to know that.
All they need to know is that you’re a whiz in the kitchen because you made them these crazy brownies.
Let them believe it.
You are a whiz.
Ricotta + Hazelnut Brownies
Again, I used Tracy’s recipe for ricotta. It’s just so dang easy guys! Make it, it will change your view on ricotta forever.
The brownies were adapted from Saveur.
4 oz. ricotta, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely ground, toasted hazelnuts
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted hazelnuts
For the filling, beat together ricotta with sugar + salt until combined and smooth. Add egg, orange juice, and vanilla and beat until combined well. Fold in hazelnuts and cover with plastic. Set in refrigerator while you make the brownie batter.
Preheat oven to 350F
Grease an 8×8 pan and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides. Set aside.
Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt chocolate and butter. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Set aside.
In a medium bowl sift together flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
Using a mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar until smooth, pale yellow, and thick. About 2 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture to combine. Beat in vanilla. Fold in flour/cocoa mixture to combine. Fold in hazelnuts.
Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of ricotta mixture over the batter. Try to spread it out, this didn’t really work for me, so I just spread it as best as I could. Spread the remaining batter over the top and using a toothpick, marble the brownie batter with the ricotta mixture. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few sticky crumbs. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before cutting. You can cut these small because they are RICH and delightful.