26 April 2010

Decadent Raspberry Brownies (aka the best thing I have ever made)

based off of this recipe (generally I don't like/trust recipes from companies touting their brands but ohmygosh this is so good)

It was my boss's birthday and I had a vague recollection that he liked "fruity things." I wanted to make some sort of fruity brownies. I did a bunch of searches and finally decided that this was what I really wanted to make. It's a dense brownie, covered in a thin layer of raspberry preserves, covered in a layer of ganache. I also added some fresh raspberries to the top of the ganache.

I almost had some serious problems. First I used a pan that was too big because I am dumb and the batter was way too thin and I had to transfer it (aluminum foil and all) to a smaller pan. Then, when I was making the ganache, I accidentally bought bittersweet chocolate instead of semi sweet and so I added some sugar but it basically ruined the ganache completely and I had to start all over. My roommate was watching while I was struggling and said "See, this is how the rest of us feel when we try to bake things!" But they came out perfect anyway.

And I do mean perfect. I have never gotten so many emphatic compliments about something I've made before. I say with little humility that I am pretty good at this baking thing by now and I'm used to compliments. I actually made these two days in a row (for my boss one day, and then the next day for an engagement party I went to) and people I didn't know were seeking me out to compliment me and some of my friends are STILL talking about these brownies, a week later!

They are not difficult to make if you don't make my dumb mistakes, but they do take quite a bit of time because you have to let the brownies cool before adding anything else, and you have to let the ganache cool before cutting them. If you can, I think it's best to make these the night before. Also, even if the ganache is totally cooled, cutting these is a little sticky so you'll have to wipe your knife in between cuts.

4 (1 ounce) squares Bakers UNSWEETENED baking chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
6 (1 ounce) squares Baker's SEMI SWEET sweet baking chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream

fresh raspberries for garnish (I used 24 cut in half, but you'll need extras for the ones you cut poorly/accidentally drop in your mouth)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving some on the ends so you can eventually pull the brownies out with the foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray (use the kind that has flour in it if you have it!) 
2. Heat the unsweetened chocolate and butter over medium low heat and stir constantly until butter and chocolate are completely melted. Remove from heat.
3. Stir sugar into chocolate mixture and mix well. Mix in eggs and vanilla, then flour. Stir in flour until everything is totally mixed in. 
4. Pour evenly into the pan, it will be fairly thin, don't worry!
5. Bake 30 to 35 minutes (use the toothpick test!) and be careful to not overbake. It's much better to underbake than to overbake!

6. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan, at least an hour, more if you have time. Now would be a good time to slice some raspberries if you are into that.
7. Once the brownies are cool, evenly spread the jam on the brownies. Resist the urge to use more jam, even though it seems like a good idea! Reviews of the recipe say if you use too much jam, then the ganache will slide off!
8. Heat the semi sweet chocolate and cream over a double boiler and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. I don't think you need to add any flavorings to the ganache (I usually do), just let the intense chocolate flavor stand on its own!anache evenly o
9. Spread ganache evenly over the jam.
10. While the ganache is still liquid, press half raspberries into it in whatever pattern you'd like. I did 6 x 8 raspberries, so a total of 48 halves.
11. Allow the ganache to set at room temperature, at least 3 hours but overnight is better. I'd recommend against putting them in the fridge until set unless you are in a time crunch. Doing this causes condensation on the ganache, but it's not a big deal.
12. Carefully remove brownies from the pan by pulling out the aluminum foil and place on a cutting board. Wet a very sharp and thin knife and cut into bars (I cut mine so each had 2 half raspberries) and wipe off chocolate/wet the knife between cuts so it doesn't gunk up.

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