With love in the air and Valentine’s day approaching, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite sweet treats using the delicious cheeses from Bellwether Farms, a family owned and operated farm and creamery located in Petaluma, CA. Below are the recipes for their Chocolate Swirl Brownies and Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake— sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Remember, don’t bite off more than you can chew, unless there’s chocolate in it!

CHOCOLATE SWIRL BROWNIES

CHOCOLATE SWIRL BROWNIES

Moist, dense, chocolatey, and quicker to make than cookies or cake, brownies are the best of both worlds. Swirl in a creamy mixture of Bellwether Farms Fromage Blanc and Crème Fraiche, slip the pan in the oven and you’re ready to party.

Makes 20 small brownies

INGREDIENTS

½ cup butter, cut into chunks

6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

2 ¼ cups sugar, separated

5 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

4 oz. Bellwether Farms Fromage Blanc

4 oz. Bellwether Farms Crème Fraiche

8 oz. pecans, chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water (double boiler), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and 2 cups of the sugar. Whisk in 4 eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each egg. Stir in flour and baking powder until fully incorporated smooth. Add the optional pecans, if using.

In another bowl, whisk the Fromage Blanc, Crème Fraiche, the remaining ¼ cup sugar and remaining egg until smooth.

Spread half the chocolate mixture evenly into the prepared pan, then pour the Fromage Blanc/Crème Fraiche mixture on top. Drop 1/4 cup portions of remaining chocolate mixture on top. Take the tip of a knife and swirl the mixture into the chocolate.

Bake brownies for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let brownies cool then cut into squares and serve.

CHOCOLATE RICOTTA ICEBOX CAKE

CHOCOLATE RICOTTA ICEBOX CAKE

Fine chocolate meets our Whole Milk Basket Ricotta in this show-stopping, but easy-to-assemble dessert.

INGREDIENTS

Nonstick cooking spray

14 ounces semisweet chocolate (do not use chips)

2 containers (15 ounces each) Bellwether Farms Whole Milk Jersey Ricotta, room temperature

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 package (9 ounces) chocolate wafers (about 44 cookies)

DIRECTIONS

Prepare pan: Remove sides from a 9-inch round springform pan (see note, below). Place a sheet of waxed paper over bottom, leaving an overhang; lock sides onto bottom, firmly securing paper. Spray inside of pan with cooking spray; line sides with a strip of waxed paper 28 inches long and 4 inches wide.

Make chocolate-ricotta mixture: Break 12 ounces of chocolate into pieces. Place in a heatproof medium bowl set over, not in, a pan of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a food processor, blend ricotta until very smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl. Add warm chocolate; blend until smooth. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in chocolate-ricotta mixture.

Assemble cake: Arrange half the cookies in an overlapping pattern to cover bottom of pan. Spoon half the chocolate-ricotta mixture on top of cookies; smooth top. Cover with remaining cookies; top with remaining chocolate-ricotta mixture, and smooth top. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.

Before serving, release sides of pan and remove waxed paper from sides. Using bottom piece of waxed paper, pull cake onto a platter; with a metal spatula, lift cake and remove waxed paper. Using a vegetable peeler, shave remaining 2 ounces chocolate over top of cake. With a knife dipped in hot water, cut cake into 10 slices (wipe off knife, and dip in hot water after each slice).

COOK’S NOTE

The right pan: A springform pan has a clamp or spring that releases the sides of the pan from the bottom. It’s ideal for cakes and tarts that would be hard to remove from a regular pan.

About Bellwether Farms

A family business founded in 1986, Bellwether Farms established the first dairy sheep ranch west of the Mississippi. Artisan cheesemaking began in 1990 and continues today in the expanded creamery. Family matriarch Cindy Callahan tends to the flock while her son and his wife, Liam and Diana Callahan, are cheesemaker and business administrator, respectively. Bellwether Farms crafts a family of aged and fresh sheep and cow milk cheeses and sheep milk yogurt using time-honored traditions and whole milk sourced from their flock and six family dairy farms. Located on 35 acres in Sonoma County, Bellwether Farms is dedicated to sustainable agricultural practices, ethical animal husbandry and crafting the highest quality dairy products possible. www.bellwetherfarms.com.