Is there anything better than finishing up a weekend with a major pan of brownies? If so, you’re going to have to tell me what’s what – I’ve got nothing.
I just feel that it’s important to end things on a positive note. Kind of send yourself off into the wilds of the week with a warm and fuzzy tucked in your pocket. Then, when your boss is yelling, your bills are piling, your traffic is inching, and your head is aching, you can reach back into the recesses of your mind to find that special memory and keep yourself going. Or, if you’re really a planner, you can reach into your pocket and take out that one last brownie you saved yourself and find some very special comfort there.
The seed of these brownies began germinating on Thursday afternoon.
I was thinking about chocolate and I was thinking about ricotta cheese. I was thinking about soft, moist brownies with a chewy/crisp crust. And I was thinking about what it would take to bring all of these things together in one pan.
Rich, chocolaty, gluten-free brownies seemed like the best vehicle.
Are you familiar with requesón? It’s basically the Mexican version of ricotta cheese. I love it.
And the thing about both ricotta and requesón is that they have so much potential beyond just the savory pizza topping or pepper stuffing. I actually think of ricotta/requesón in sort of the same way that I think about potatoes: they’re flavor sponges, texture enhancers, and moisture bringers.
Which is exactly why I thought that requesón would bring something pretty special to these brownies. Specialness in the form of texture and body that made it even easier to go gluten-free.
I admit that I’m somewhat of a newcomer when it comes to gluten-free cooking and baking. The only reasons being that I enjoy the occasional bowl of gluten, and I’m fortunate enough that my body can tolerate it.
That said, I absolutely want to be able to accommodate my friends and family members who have opted to live a gluten-free lifestyle, and I absolutely believe that everyone deserves brownies on Sunday afternoon. So these brownies are designed for you, my chocolate loving, ricotta/requesón eating, gluten-free living homies.
The thing that makes these brownies even easier to enjoy by the pan is that they’re not particularly easy on the eyes. So, you know, you’re going to need to finish the whole pan all by yourself.
Because these brownies are too ugly to share.
Because these brownies are guilt-free for the gluten-free set.
Because this Sunday is about to be over.
And, of course, because you deserve it.
Mexican Chocolate & Requesón Brownies
Chef’s Note: I used Abuelita brand Mexican chocolate here, which I know to be gluten-free. If you use another brand of Mexican chocolate, you’ll want to check the label or consult with the manufacturer to be sure that it is gluten-free. Please also note that, depending on the type of cheese you use, your ricotta/requesón may remain whole in the baked brownies, and it may even separate out. This does not affect the flavor of the finished brownies in the least.
1 c. white sugar, granulated
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 c. requesón (ricotta cheese may be substituted)
2 tablets (6.3 ounces) Mexican chocolate, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, Mexican chocolate, salt and vanilla. Finally, beat in the cheese. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-47 minutes. Finished brownies will be dark brown and slightly crispy at the edges and along the top. Remove and set aside to cool before unmolding. These brownies are quite thin and will be easiest to cut into squares for serving if they have been allowed to cool completely through.
YIELD: 1- 9″ x 13″ pan, approximately 12 large brownies