Ahhhh brownies ….
Guaranteed to bring a smile to everyone’s face. Maybe not if you don’t like chocolate, but then you wouldn’t be reading this if you did not!
I just got back from a week away in Port Douglas, a beautiful town in far north Queensland. the whole week was just sunshine, warm weather, long walks on the beach, lots of lazing about by the pool and in cafés, reading and catching up with friends. Most people totally pig out when they go on holiday. Not me, oh no. I had a wonderful apartment in which I mostly cooked for myself, getting lots of fresh local produce. The whole week was so healthy, I’m stunned. Not a cupcake, cookie, dessert was had. OK, I had a bit of organic fair trade 85% chocolate. Just a bit. Because it’s so good with my peppermint tea.
As relaxed as I was, it was still bizarre to spend a whole week without baking anything. NOTHING. NADA. By the time I boarded my flight back, I was already dreaming up what I wanted to make when I got back. I’ve got a list of baked goodies on my to do list but all I could think of was BROWNIES. Didn’t go down so badly as an idea with the family either. So today I made brownies. Not just any brownies. Decadent gooey raspberry truffle brownies. They’re almost like eating a massive raspberry truffle.
The cosmic balance is restored.
If you’re here for a healthy treat, move right along, there’s nothing here for you. This is serious chocolate, sugar, butter territory. Artery clogging chocoaltey raspberry goodness.
I’ve used one of those aluminium trays you get at the supermarket as my baking pan. If you’ve got a pan of about the same size, use that. I just wanted to see how they would turn out and I must admit, the result was fabulous. It makes frosting in the pan really easy and you just snip away the sides to cut the brownie slab into bars. Great also if making for kids to take to school for a baking day or to take to a picnic. No washing up. Sometimes, that’s a blessing.
The brownies are studded with fresh raspberries but also contain seedless raspberry preserves in the batter. This gives a more intense raspberry flavour and the theme carries through to the ganache topping. You can make these without the ganache topping. Perfect with a glass of cold milk as a snack or with coffee. The ganache topping just adds an extra truffle-like richness, great for a party dessert or special occasion. Or just because you love it.
Sometimes more is more. Enjoy!
Makes 18 – 21
400 grams dark couverture (64% – 70% cacao)
200 grams unsweetened couverture (100% cacao)
250 grams unsalted butter
6 large eggs
400 grams brown sugar
110 grams seedless raspberry jam
75 grams hazelnut meal*
50 grams plain flour
32 fresh raspberries (about 150 grams)
115 grams dark couverture (64% – 70% cacao)
200 grams cream (35% fat)
50 grams seedless raspberry jam
*You can use bought hazelnut meal or make your own for extra flavour. Measure out the hazelnuts by weight, roast in a 180℃ oven for about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub in a tea towel to remove the skins. Cool and grind to a fine meal in a food processor or nut grinder.
Make the brownies: Line the base of a 29cm x 19 cm x 5 cm aluminium tray with baking paper. This will protect the base of the brownies from over-browning during baking.
Finely chop the couverture and unsweetened chocolate and place in a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the chocolate. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, over a low heat. Melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring occasionally. When melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, and raspberry jam. Use a hand-held whisk to whisk the mixture until well combined. We are not trying to beat air into the mixture. If you do, it will create unwanted air bubbles that will cause air pockets in the brownies. If the brown sugar is very lumpy, you might want to pass it through a sieve before adding to the eggs. Add the hazelnut meal and flour and whisk until combined. Gradually add the melted chocolate and butter mixture as you whisk slowly from the centre of the bowl. Fold and whisk until just combined and smooth.
Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Press the raspberries into the batter at even intervals as shown.
Bake at 175℃ oven for about 50 minutes. Check it after 45 minutes and be careful not to overbake. The cooked brownies should still be a little gooey in the centre. Ahhhhh :-) Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack, in the pan.
Make the ganache: Finely chop or grate the couverture and place in a bowl. Place the cream and raspberry jam in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir to combine and bring to the boil. When it reaches the boil, pour evenly over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for about 30 seconds. Stir gently from the centre of the bowl to make sure that all the chocolate melts and the ganache is smooth. Don’t whisk or beat it as you don’t want to incorporate air bubbles.
When the brownies have cooled, pour the ganache over the top and smooth or swirl the top. When thickened or set, snip the aluminium to gently remove the sides of the pan. This allows you to more easily slice the brownies. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars. I got about twenty-one bars by cutting the brownie in three lengthwise and then in seven across the width. I think this is already a fairly generous size as they are incredibly rich, but hey, it’s up to you! Cut into small squares, they would make lovely petit fours for a BBQ or party.
Serve with extra fresh raspberries.
I store these in an airtight tin in a cool, dry spot at room temperature. They should keep for several days at least if stored correctly. In hot weather, you might like to store them in the refrigerator.