Cook on a Whim: Raspberry Jam Brownies

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Raspberry Jam Brownies. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim. | www.cookonawhim.com

I’m a sucker for fancy chocolate bars. I love to look at all of the creative flavors and usually end up walking away with at least one new flavor to try.

The only time I’ve ever been truly disappointed was when I decided to try a bacon chocolate bar. It was really, really bad. Bacon is good. Chocolate is good. Together, they are bad.

But when I saw Theo Chocolate’s Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar, I knew it would be delicious, I knew I had to try it and I knew I had to make a brownie with it. I’ve been on a berry kick lately. I thought about doing a vegan or gluten-free brownie, but decided to just stick with my classic cocoa-powder brownie recipe and came up with these raspberry jam brownies.

I have a confession: I do not love chocolate and fruit together. No chocolate-covered strawberries for me, thank you. I’m not sure if it’s a texture thing or a flavor thing, but much like bacon and chocolate, fruit and chocolate just don’t go together for me. The only exception to this is raspberry and chocolate, as evidenced by these raspberry jam brownies. They are rich, chewy on the edges and soft and gooey in the middle, with pockets of sweet jam and little bursts of fresh berries and delicious nuggets of Theo Raspberry Chocolate.

And you know, I can’t have a conversation about brownies and not ask which side you’re on: edge or middle? These raspberry jam brownies make it really hard for me to pick a side, but normally I’m a middle piece kind of gal. When I was a kid, my dad used to indulge this preference and cut out the middle of any sheet cake or brownie just for me. I like gooey, under-baked things, and I also don’t love frosting or sprinkles (I know, I’m weird) and the middle of a cake usually has the least amount of those things.

So, what side are you on: middle or edge?

If fresh raspberries are scarce, feel free to leave them out and use just the jam. Of course you could leave out all the add-ins and instead of a raspberry jam brownie, you’d just have an awesome, classic brownie: never a bad thing. And when I say classic, I really mean it. These are almost exactly the Hershey’s Cocoa Powder recipe with a few very small modifications. Hey, if it ain’t broke …

I find the melted butter/cocoa powder method to be the best textured brownie and it always has that perfect shiny top we all love so much. I melt my butter in the microwave and stir the cocoa powder in first to let it really mix in and allow the chocolate flavor to bloom.

I love to use a little bit of King Arthur Flour’s Black Cocoa to get a rich, dark color — it’s something I’ve been doing in all my chocolate recipes lately and I don’t think I can stop. Then, I bump up the chocolate flavor with my two not-so-secret flavor boosters: espresso powder and vanilla. This really is the best brownie recipe to which you can add whatever flavors you want. Mix up the fruit/jam flavors, use any kind of chopped chocolate you love, add caramels, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, nuts. Let your imagination run wild.

Here’s how I made these beauties.

 

Raspberry Jam Brownies

Servings: 12 large or 24 small brownies

Time: 15 minutes prep, 30 to 35 minutes baking

Difficulty: Easy

 

Ingredients

2 sticks butter (1 cup)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I love to use 1/4 cup King Arthur Flour’s black cocoa and 1/2 cup regular cocoa powder)

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup raspberry preserves (I prefer Bonne Maman)

1 pint fresh raspberries

1 bar chopped chocolate (I used Theo Chocolate’s Raspberry Chocolate Bar)

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with nonstick spray or smear with butter. Place a wide strip of parchment so that it overhangs on the long sides of the pan. Set pan aside.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Melt butter by placing it in large glass mixing bowl and microwaving for about 1 minute. Alternatively, you could place butter in saucepan and melt over medium-high heat on stove, transfer to large mixing bowl once melted and proceed with recipe.

When butter is melted and still hot, add cocoa powder and espresso powder and whisk to combine. Next, whisk in vanilla, sugar and eggs until thoroughly combined.

Toss your whisk in the sink and grab a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula.

Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until you don’t see flour anymore. Make sure to get the bottom and sides of your bowl really well. Spread about half of the mixture into the prepared pan.

Place little blobs of jam around, avoiding the edges. Then add a sprinkling of fresh raspberries and chocolate chunks, reserving some for the top.

Add the remaining brownie batter on top and spread as evenly as you can. It will even out in the oven, so don’t get too crazy.

Add more blobs of jam and, using a chopstick or a butter knife, swirl the jam around making sure not to get too close to the edges. If the jam gets too close to the edge, it could cause the brownies to stick to the pan, making for a big mess later.

Add fresh berries and chocolate chunks on top. I like to add the berries so that each sliced brownie will have one, so if you plan to cut these in 12, imagine where you’ll be slicing and add 12 raspberries evenly spaced (same for if you plan to cut 24 smaller brownies). You don’t have to do it this way, I just think it makes for the prettiest presentation.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. I let mine go the full 35 to avoid any sinking in the middle, but if you want them extra gooey, take them out at 30.

Let brownies cool completely before slicing, I even placed mine in the fridge so I could get really neat slices (for pictures, of course). Once cooled, you can use the parchment paper to lift them out of the pan to a cutting board and make really nice, neat slices.

But if you want to serve them warm, I suggest you forget slicing them. Just grab a big spoon and scoop them into bowls, top with really good ice cream and serve immediately. I hope you love them!

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.
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