Bars might be my favorite kind of cookie to make. Whipping up the batter takes no time at all, and then there is no fuss rolling out dough or using cookie cutters. Plus, the more lumpy and bumpy they look, the better. Once baked up nice and thick, they couldn’t be any easier to cut into squares and share. If I am trying to feed a crowd, I slice them even smaller, so they go farther.
There isn’t a brownie I’ve met that I don’t love. I have to control myself not to bake them every time I have the need for chocolate! These cocoa mascarpone bars were a departure since they were a cross between a blondie and an almost cake-like brownie. A combination of vanilla and almond extract made them fragrant and nutty. I loved their light, almost weightless crumb.
Cocoa Mascarpone Bars
Adapted from Food52
Makes 16 bars
Non-stick cooking spray
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces mascarpone cheese at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, hot water and vegetable oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar followed by the egg, vanilla extract and mascarpone until fully combined. Fold in the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Spread 3/4 of the batter into the prepared pan. Stir the cocoa mixture into the remaining batter and spread into the pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean. Cool before cutting into 16 squares.