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Father’s Day is coming. That probably means you should be stocking up on beef, and beer, and brats, and everything else men in sitcoms and Super Bowl commercials appear to love. Me, I’ll just be over here shoving goat cheese into brownies and calling it a day.
See, my man doesn’t like beer. He doesn’t eat much red meat, and he’s not even that fond of bacon. (Which fact did not prevent me from including it in my Dude Food Magic Bars from last Father’s Day.) What he does like is really intense chocolate desserts, and salty goodness.What I like is making mild-mannered brownies a little bit weird, so when you combine those two passions, you get these Goat Cheese Brownies. Like a marriage, this dessert is built on compromise, mutual respect, and lots of chocolate and butter.
I’m ready to make goat cheese desserts A Thing, are you with me? My girl Danguole over at 10th Kitchen is already hard at work fighting the good fight and pairing it with shortcakes and strawberries. The Kitchn had a great goat cheese cheesecake they featured a few months ago. But I can’t help but feeling we could be doing so much more with goat cheese! Its mild, slightly tangy flavor and soft texture makes it the perfect replacement for cream cheese in so many desserts, and with summer berries all around us, I think now is the time to get adventurous. Let’s stuff it in cakes! Let’s put it in tarts! Let’s pipe it on cupcakes! C’mon, let’s get wild.
I took my own advice and added goat cheese to two layers of these brownies. Soft chevre is mixed into the dark, fudgy brownie base, and then used to make the light and fluffy goat cheese frosting that’s sandwiched between the brownies and chocolate glaze. My original intention was to just make the brownies and glaze, but after I tasted the baked brownies, I was concerned. The goat cheese gave the brownies a wonderfully rich and decadent texture, but the flavor was subtle and hidden underneath the chocolate. “This is no good!” I cried. “I need more goat. BRING ME MORE GOAT!!”
So, the goat cheese frosting was born, and it’s one of my favorite elements in the finished bars. It helps lighten the otherwise heavy brownies, and it’s the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. And even thought I’ve written the word “goat” about fifty times in this post, thisis truly not a goaty dessert. If you gave it to someone and didn’t tell them what it was, they would probably just think it was an amazing cream cheese frosting! Pinky swear. Don’t fear the goat.
Oh, and the salt! One quick plug for this really fun pyramid salt I picked up at Trader Joe’s. I bought it on a whim (story of my TJs life) and was delighted to find that the flakes were really and truly shaped like pyramids. I may have an uninformed palate but I don’t think it tastes much different from my other flaked sea salt. However, I love the giant crystals and may or may not have hummed “Walk Like An Egyptian” as I crumbled them atop the brownies. You don’t need a fancy geometric salt to make these, but I do recommend a pinch of a crunchy, flaked salt on top—it makes all the difference and really provides the perfect finish.
Now go out there and get goaty!
Goat Cheese Brownies
For the Brownies:
For the Goat Cheese Frosting:
- 3 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
- 6 oz soft goat cheese (chevre) 3/4 cup, at room temperature
- 12 oz powdered sugar 3 cups
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
For the Chocolate Glaze:
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- 3 oz heavy cream
- 2 oz unsalted butter
To Make the Brownies:
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with foil, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. (If you want thinner brownies, you can use a 9x9-inch pan. The baking time might need to be shortened.)
- Combine the butter and chopped chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-second increments, stirring frequently, until the butter and chocolate have melted and are smooth. Add the granulated sugar and whisk it in. If the chocolate is quite warm, let it cool to room temperature before continuing.
- Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. The brownie batter will first look grainy and separated, but as you continue whisking it will come together and get thick and shiny, like pudding. This process may take 1-2 minutes of whisking. After it is smooth and shiny, add the room temperature goat cheese and the vanilla, and whisk them in.
- Finally, sift the flour, cocoa, and salt over the bowl, and stir everything together gently with a spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake the brownies at 325 F for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting them.
To Make the Goat Cheese Frosting:
- Combine the butter and goat cheese in a mixing bowl, and mix with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, and beat on low speed until the sugar is mixed in. Raise the speed to medium and beat for another minute, until light and fluffy.
- Spread the goat cheese frosting on top of the cooled brownies in an even layer. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before adding the glaze on top.
To Make the Chocolate Glaze:
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan, and place the pan over medium heat. Bring the cream to a simmer, with bubbles appearing along the sides of the pan, but don't bring it to a full boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit and soften the chocolate for 1 minute. After a minute, whisk the chocolate and cream together until it is smooth and shiny. Pour it over the brownies and smooth it into an even layer. Refrigerate the brownies until the glaze is firm, at least 45 minutes.
- To cut the brownies, lift them from the pan using the foil as handles. Use a large sharp knife to cut them into small squares. Wash the knife frequently in warm water between cuts for the cleanest cuts. These brownies are easiest to cut when cold, but for the best taste and texture, let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before eating them. If desired, top with a pinch of flaked sea salt just before serving.