Ricotta-filled Pecan Brownie Squares

by Michelle on December 3, 2010

I don’t know if it’s the colder weather or what but I’ve been craving something heavy with chocolate all week. Although plain ol’ brownies are not a favorite of mine, I do love Brownies with some additional Cream Cheese or Mascarpone! So I decided to make a recipe that I had for some time in my file. However, when reading the recipe notes, it said that the Ricotta Cheese would sink to the bottom. What? I don’t want to make a recipe if the Ricotta is going to sink, I want it sandwiched in between the chocolate! So I decided to use nuts as a floatation device for the Ricotta and guess what…IT WORKED!

I’m starting a new category on my blog, Learn Something New Every Day, where I will post helpful hints about cooking, baking and even some easy Home Maintenance and Gardening tips. So check out the end of my post!

Ricotta-filled Brownie Squares

Brownie:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I always add more chocolate so I used a well-rounded 1/3 c cocoa powder)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 c chopped pecans

Ricotta Filling:
3/4 cup ricotta cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Grease an 8″by8 baking dish. I prefer to bake in glass or clay because my baked goods seem to rise better and cook more evenly.

2. Melt butter and stir in cocoa. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. With an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. With the mixer running add flour, baking powder and salt blend.

4. Add the butter/chocolate mixture to the flour/sugar/egg mixture and blend well. Set aside.

5. In another small bowl with an electric mixer blend Ricotta Cheese and 2 TBL of softened butter. Add sugar, vanilla, 1 TBL flour and egg and beat until fluffy. Set aside

6. There should be close to 2 cups of brownie batter. Pour 1 cup of batter into a greased 8″ square pan and evenly spread edge to edge.

7. Liberally sprinkle chopped pecans on top of batter, making sure to cover the batter with nuts. Refrigerate for about 8 minutes.

8. Drop Ricotta Filling on top of the pecans and smooth to edges, careful to not mix in any brownie batter.

9. Drop remaining 1 cup of brownie batter by spoonfuls over Ricotta Filling and carefully spread.

10. Sprinkle remaining pecans on the top.

11. Bake at 350° until toothpick tests clean. Brownies should be rich, dark and chewy and frankly I think most people over cook brownies. So I do not use my timer but just keep an eye on them and test periodically until the tester comes out relatively clean. Brownies are actually better if a little under baked rather then over baked!

12. Let cool and cut into squares and enjoy!

Learn Something New Every Day!

How to Cut a Cake

I don’t know about you but presentation is very important to me and I try my darndest to make my dishes as gorgeous as possible. And although your cake might be stunning, when you cut it, if the pieces are crumbling and the frosting is smeared into the cake, it is not going to look appetizing.

There’s a million different ways to cut a cake, but one very simple tip I learned while waitressing is to use a heavy knife with at least a 6″ non-serrated, smooth blade and heat the blade. To heat the knife blade, just immerse the blade in hot water and by hot water I don’t mean hot water from the tap! Either boil water, run some water through your coffee maker or use an Insta-Hot, but it must be as hot as possible. Pour the hot water into a heat resistant cup, I use my Pyrex 2-cup Measure and place the knife in the water. Let it heat for a minute of two and then make your first cut. If the blade becomes sticky, you must thoroughly rinse it and reheat for the next cut.

It’s particularly difficult to cut Brownies because the brownie is little gooey yet the top layer is crunchy. But if you heat your knife blade and keep it clean for each cut, you will always have clean slices which make your presentation so much better! The hot knife blade method works for most baked goods including pies!

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Comments

  • Kat December 3, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Those brownies look sinfully delicious!

  • Lana @ Never Enough Thyme December 3, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Oooohhh…I love the idea of combining ricotta with the brownies. How yummy!

  • Joanne December 3, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Haha that is awesome! Who knew that nuts were the life jackets of the baking world. Too funny. And crazy delicious! Yum.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michelle Safirstein, Nicole Dula. Nicole Dula said: Wow, yum RT .@BigBlackDogs Ricotta-filled Pecan Brownie Squares…DELICIOUS! http://tinyurl.com/2ap3tht […]

  • kelly December 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Ricotta and chocolate? Mmmm….one of these days I’m going to have to get over my fear of making brownies. After attempting several recipes in my younger years and turning out bricks, I gave them up. These could get me to try again!

  • holly December 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I’m sooo glad I found your blog again;) This brownie looks fabulous-I love the hints at the end too:)

  • teresa December 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    great tip and excellent idea with the nuts. these look just delicious!

  • Biz December 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Michelle, those look amazing! 😀 Hope you are enjoying our winter wonderland today!

  • the muse December 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    admittedly i am having a hard time wrapping my head around the juxtaposition of those two flavors…and yet, yes, i would surely try the treats… :) they do make a lovely presentation :)

  • rebecca December 4, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    wow this looks amazing neat idea, hope the info on page rank was correct lol

  • RJ Flamingo December 5, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I always thought it should be a wet blade and wondered why it didn’t seem to work quite as well. Thanks for the hot knife tip, Michelle – I’ll try it!

  • kat December 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Oh man I bet the ricotta is fantastic in those!

  • TONYK December 7, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I AM BAKING THE BROWNIES AS I TYPE — I DO NOT FIND IN THE INSTRUCTIONS ANYWHERE YOU SAID TO MIX THE BROWNIE AND BATTER MIXES TOGETHER SO I DID AND HOPE IT WORKS OUT —

    THANKS FOR THE RECIPE,

    TONYK

    • Michelle December 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm

      Tony,

      You caught one of my mistakes and I can not apologize enough. Thanks for letting me know about it. The recipe is now updated on my blog.

      You did it correctly, add the butter/chocolate to the egg/flour/sugar and you should have close to 2 cups of brownie batter.

      Let me know how they turn out.

      Thanks again for letting me know about my error.

      Michelle

  • Maria Sestero April 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I love all your recipes and tips. Your passion for cooking is obvious. A tip I have learned for cutting brownies that is as easy as it comes is to just use a plastic knife(one that comes in throw away cutlery) It works every time, even on the gooest brownies.

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