Mascarpone-Swirled Brownies with Nutty Caramel Corn


Since its kitchen is so tiny, La Laiterie at Farmstead restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, serves only desserts that can be prepared ahead of time. Kate Jennings, the co-owner and pastry chef, doesn't mind, since she'd rather make a pie than a soufflé. Here, her homespun style translates into fudgy brownies laced with mascarpone and served with sweet-salty clusters of peanuts and popcorn. More Brownie Recipes

Mascarpone-Swirled Brownies with Nutty Caramel Corn
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs


Nutty Caramel Corn

  • 12 cups unsalted popped popcorn (from 1 microwave bag)

  • 1 cup salted cocktail peanuts

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, divided

  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk, divided

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese

  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Make the caramel corn

  1. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt and bring to a boil. Add the baking soda and cream of tartar and boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is deep amber, about 4 minutes. Pour the hot syrup over the peanuts and popcorn and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly coated. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake until slightly dry, about 1 hour. The caramel corn will harden as it cools; let it cool completely.

  3. Invert the caramel corn onto a cutting board. Peel off the paper and break into chunks before serving.

Make the brownies

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch-square baking pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium saucepan, melt the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate with the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 cup of the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the vanilla. Whisk in the whole eggs, one at a time. Whisk the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture until the brownie batter is smooth.

  2. In a bowl, whisk the mascarpone with the egg yolk and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Pour half of the brownie batter into the baking pan. Dollop half of the mascarpone mixture on top and cover with the remaining batter. Dollop on the remaining mascarpone mixture and swirl the batter a few times with a knife to create a marbled effect.

  3. Bake the brownies for about 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let the brownies cool before cutting. Serve with the caramel corn and ice cream.

Make Ahead

The brownies can be refrigerated for 3 days. The caramel corn can be stored in an airtight container for 4 days.

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