Me and my mom. The love of chocolate runs in our DNA.

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

Maybe she passed her love of the cacao to me through her umbilical cord. Or maybe she transferred her chocolate loving cravings to me with each chocolate shake we’d get at Arctic Circle with a side of burgers and fries.

Either way, when it comes to dessert, chocolate is our first bite of choice. And it’s just one reason we’re both partial to super rich, fudgey, chocolate loaded brownies.

It all comes down to flavor. While some think the best flavor come from big amounts of big ingredients, it’s really the little guys who coax out the intensity of the flavors behind the scenes. Small wonder, huh?

While chocolate and mascarpone are the big names in this brownie recipe, but the nuance that binds them together is one star ingredient: vanilla.

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

Vanilla, the Flavor Booster

McCormick’s Pure Vanilla Extract pulls its weight when it comes to flavoring. Vanilla mellows and sweetens the bitterness of chocolate. Vanilla gives creamy mascarpone a little more personality.

Maybe I should dab some behind my ears. Maybe vanilla would do the same for me?

When my mom stopped by for a visit, she pulled up a seat and we chatted chocolate and taste tested brownies as she sipped on green tea. Maybe that’s the combination that makes this 7 decade living lady look like she’s been skinny dipping in the fountain of youth.

Bingo! I’ve find the ultimate anti-aging secret, brownies eaten with green tea. Thanks mom!

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

McCormick’s Flavor of Together

This year McCormick celebrates its 125th anniversary and they’re marking this major milestone by inspiring flavorful conversation. Flavor of Together will be a yearlong initiative with a goal to share 1.25 million (get it? 125th anniversary = 1.25 million) stories about how flavor unites and defines people across the globe.

For every Flavor of Together story shared on any of McCormick’s websites or social media, McCormick will donate $1, up to $1.25 million (get it?) to United Way to help feed those in need.

Share your own story on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #flavorstory and help make McCormick’s 125th anniversary + 1.25 million stories = $1.25 million big bucks. Get it?

Now that’s 1.25 million reasons to interview your mom and tell the world about it.

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

I pulled my interviewing skillz out of the back closet and went to task, asking about my mom’s flavor story and why she’s been such a lover of chocolate, and why does it run so happily in the family?

“Really good chocolate chip cookies and my fudge. Those are my two weaknesses.”

“Maybe it’s because I grew up loving milk chocolate. I love the way you put a piece in your mouth and it fills your whole mouth with goodness.”

“I like a plain old fashioned brownie with pecans—it has to have nuts—with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Grandma always put just a dusting of powdered sugar. That’s the way I’ve always loved them. Just like my hamburgers, I like my things the way they’ve always been.”

My mom. She’s not only a beauty, she’s smart too.

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts on

This recipe is based on a basic brownie (mom, you’d love it) I’ve had in a cookbook my sweet for sweets husband gave me years ago: Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I made her basic brownie recipe a few weeks ago when Smudge and I had a brownie bug.

You guys really liked it on Instagram  so I thought it would be a great base to play swirlie in. A tub of mascarpone, a little thickener and more vanilla (yes!) and it was time to get our swoosh on.

Swirled Mascarpone Brownies with Hazelnuts
Serves: makes 12 large brownies
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1⅔ cup sugar
  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 X 9 X 2 inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper so that the foil or paper hangs over the sides to easily pull the cooked brownies out of the pan once they're cooked.
  2. Place a large heat proof bowl over a sauce pan filled with 2 inches of water, bring to medium high heat and melt the butter and chocolate in the bowl, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla and sugar. In small bowl, mix the flour with the kosher salt.
  4. When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar, and then the flour and 1 cup of the hazelnuts. Beat until the mixture is shiny and smooth then pour into the lined pan.
  5. In another small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and flour together then the sugar. Whisk in the mascarpone until smooth. Drop spoonfuls of the mascarpone mixture gently on top of the brownie mixture so it is in thin layers. Gently swirl the mascarpone into the brownies with a knife. Be careful not to over swirl or the mascarpone or the two will mix together. Top with the remaining hazelnuts.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center doesn't jiggle. The middle should sill be dense and gooey. Be careful not to overbake or the brownies will be dry. The brownies will continue to cook and will deflate as they cool. Allow to cool for at least 4 hours or overnight before cutting.
adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson

This post is sponsored by McCormick. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.  

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