Face it, it’s basically health food.
I am a self-proclaimed chocaholic. I like chocolate cake, chocolate sauce, chocolate biscuits and more than anything, chocolate brownies. What I’ve found in the recent past, however, is that my sugar meter has greatly shifted in the sense that I cannot consume a whole cake, or even worse, a whole tray of brownies in a day (I was a rather chubby child). You all know that horrible feeling of having eaten too much richness, buegghh. So driving back from a soccer game (we lost) I went back to my emotional eating roots. I had limited ingredients, leftover mascarpone from Easter, basic flours and chocolate and a box of fresh mint with which a delicious lamb was made. CATCHING! Suddenly the sullen mood from the lost game lifted as I found an answer to the age-old question: “How can I turn rich, dark chocolate into something fresh without going the health route?”
I know, I know. It sounds weird. Mascarpone and brownies have been friends for quite a while now with the heavy cream acting as tart buffer against the striking sweetness of the chocolate. I have, however always found that combination slightly bland, as though it tries a bit too hard to create a taste balance that it just cannot do alone. Now I have aways thought of mint as the blacksheep of the herb family, a spice that is forced on lamb over Christmas. With some tender love and care, however, mint is actually something rather inspiring and with this combination I hope forever more that it will shed its connections with chocolate as an after-dinner mint!
What works great with this recipe is that it brings in some freshness. Where the mascarpone balances out the chocolate, the mint balances out the tartness of the mascarpone. In terms of flavour don’t think that it will taste like a chocolatey toothpaste, think a sweet freshness.
1⁄2 Cup olive oil
1/3 Cup milk
1 Cup sugar
1 Dash of vanilla extract
1⁄4 Teaspoon baking powder
1⁄3 Cup cocoa powder
1⁄4 Teaspoon salt
1⁄2 Cup flour
1 Slab dark chocolate (chopped)
A handful of fresh mint
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix oil, milk and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix. Stir dry ingredients and chocolate into the oil/sugar mixture. Pour into cupcake holders in a muffin pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top has become crispy. Let cool completely before decorating.
When cupcakes are cooled down and you are ready to serve, only then mix the mascarpone. You ideally want to eat it as fresh as possible. Take a couple of dollops of mascarpone and stir with a spoon in a bowl to loosen the heavy cream up a bit. Add about 3 tablespoons of sugar and mix, add a heap of finely chopped fresh mint. Mix and taste. You’ll find you need a lot more mint than you though necessary, so tasting is essential. If the cream tastes a bit sour, add more sugar. Ideally you want to keep adding and mixing until you have the perfect balance of fresh, tart and sweet. But as I say, keep tasting and you’ll know where you’ll like it. Spread over the cupcakes a layer not more than 2/3 mm. Put in fridge until serving time. Eat within a day.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking/decorating: 30/40 minutes
Happy eating! 😉