The Surprising Ingredient You Need To Add To Your Brownies

Whether it be homemade or from the box, brownies are relatively easy to transform to your liking. Some swear by adding peanut butter, others claim that espresso adds a distinct richness, but no matter what flavor profile you decide on, there is one ingredient that is sure to take your brownies to the next level. 

According to a review from The Kitchn based on a brownie recipe originally published on the Food Network, that ingredient is mascarpone cheese. If you like extra fudgy brownies, mascarpone is exactly what you need. The cream cheese-like product, known mostly for its inclusion in tiramisu recipes, allows the brownies to stay moist throughout the cooking process, so that when you take it out of the oven, the chocolate is perfectly ooey-gooey. 

Some fudgy brownie recipes rely on slightly under-baking the batch. However, The Kitchn explains this can often result in a raw batter taste, and a brownie that doesn't hold together as well. But with mascarpone, that won't happen because the brownies will be able to properly firm up and remain fudgy without you having to take them out of the oven any earlier.

How much mascarpone should you add to your brownies?

No recipe is exactly the same, but if you're making a batch of a dozen brownies, half a cup of mascarpone is a good place to start. Food Network's recipe calls for half a cup of mascarpone per dozen, while D-Bar Bakery's recipe, shared by Crave Cheese, uses the same amount for a slightly bigger batch of 16.

Neither of the recipes, however, cut down on the butter to accommodate for the fat in the mascarpone. As MasterClass explains, mascarpone is highly fatty because unlike cream cheese, which is made with a combination of heavy cream and whole milk, mascarpone is made with butterfat, making mascarpone 75% fat. Adding it to brownies therefore, really amps up the fat in the recipe, especially since it already contains butter.

Despite both being fatty, mascarpone won't go in the batter at the same time as the butter. Instead, as instructed by Food Network and D-Bar Bakery, it should be folded in after the chocolate is melted and the sugar and cocoa powder has already been mixed in. This ultimately makes for a rich, velvety batter, and once baked, an extra fudgy version of a classic treat.