Monday, July 16, 2012

Raspberry Truffle Brownies

Raspberry Truffle Brownies

I had been staring at these brownies in one of my cookbooks for a solid two weeks before I decided to attempt to make them. I say attempt because really whenever I try a recipe for the first time, that's what it is. I don't know exactly what I'm doing and I'm trying to feel out the recipe to see if I like the way it is or if I want to make adjustments. And also, by staring I mean drooling. But not literally, I swear.

**Sidenote: yes, pretty much everything that I cook comes out of a cookbook. I can't concoct these types of things...yet. It's my goal to be able to think of things from scratch, but I need more practice. So until then, recipes and slight..sometimes major...adjustments it is! **

So my dog particularly enjoyed watching me make these. She plopped herself down right at my feet so I could step on her every time I went to move. It's pretty difficult maneuvering yourself around a 44 pound husky who just wants to be involved in everything you do in the kitchen. It's also pretty difficult to make sure no fur gets in the food when she's bouncing around like a jumping bean. Alrighty-roo let's get started!

Here's what you'll need material wise...a small microwavable bowl, a large mixing bowl, a medium mixing bowl, a 9x9 square baking pan, and a hand mixer (I have a 7-speed Cuisinart one that I love, and of course it's green)

And for the ingredients...

6 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used probably about an extra 1/8 of a cup)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh raspberries

6 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam (I used about 2-1/2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bowl of ice water
Fresh raspberries to garnish

This is my favorite baking chocolate to use. It melts perfectly and the consistency of it is really nice. Makes baking with it so easy. For this recipe I needed to boxes of this stuff, since I needed 12oz and the box comes with eight 1oz squares. Unwrap 6 of the squares and break them apart into the halves, then chop them up some more so they're in smaller pieces and therefore will melt faster.

The pieces don't have to be insanely small, but the more the chocolate is chopped up, the easier it is to melt it. Once the chocolate is chopped up. Cube the butter and throw it in the bowl with the chocolate. Pop it in the microwave for about 2 minutes on 50 or 60% power. I melt the chocolate on medium power because I don't want it to burn. It needs to melt but by doing it at half power it takes a little longer but the chocolate doesn't run the risk of burning. After the initial 2 minutes, stir the chocolate around and put it in for another 2 minutes at the same power level. After that if the chocolate isn't melted keep putting it in for about 30 seconds at a time. Stirring it until the chocolate and butter are mixed together and are smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees now.

Next up grab that hand mixer and a large mixing bowl. Take the 2 eggs, cup of sugar, and vanilla and beat them together. The mixture needs to be smooth, but don't sit there and over beat it. Once that is all set the mixer aside and stir the melted chocolate and butter mixture into the eggs/sugar/vanilla combo. I didn't use my mixer for this part because brownie batter can be a little temperamental so I just used one of my mixing spatula-spoon things.

Stir it together just until it's mixed. Here I have it almost mixed together. I like doing this part by hand, like I said the batter can be pretty sensitive so do not over mix. I repeat do not over mix! Next in a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt then gradually stir the flour into the chocolate mixture. Again do it by hand and careful not to over mix it!

Once that's all mixed together, take the cup of fresh raspberries and rinse them off with cold water. Dab them a little bit so they're not sopping wet and gently fold them into the batter. Fold them in, do not stir. Fold the raspberries in by gently scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl and pouring it over the raspberries until their sufficiently mixed in.

Be gentle with the raspberries, you don't want to squish them!

Spread the brownie batter into a greased 9x9 square pan. I lined mine with foil first, then used a simple Pam baking spray to coat the foil. I lined it with foil so I would be way easier to get the brownies out of the pan once they were done cooking. I always have the problem of getting the first couple brownies or bars out of the pan because let's face it, it's just annoying and then they end up falling apart and it sucks. So pour the batter into the greased, foil lined pan. Spread it so the batter is even, I like to tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to just get out any possible air bubbles and it sort of helps keep it even. And as an added bonus it drives my dog nuts and she starts barking at it. The brownies need to bake in the 350 degrees oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Take this time to clean the beaters on your hand mixer, and maybe the bowls too. You're going to need the mixer for the frosting in a little bit anyways. Check it at about 20 minutes to see how the brownies are baking and I also turned the pan around at that point. Mine took about 26 or 27 minutes, each oven is different though so keep checking during the last 5-10 minutes. You'll know the brownies are done when a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted near the center of the brownies. I like my brownies pretty moist so I didn't mind if there was still just a little bit of brownie on my cake tester.

This is right when I put the brownies into the oven. Yes, you can begin to drool over them now.

When the brownies are done cool them on a wire rack, obviously you leave them in the pan so just put the pan on the wire rack to cool. Cool them COMPLETELY! I know, it's hard to do. The patience it takes to wait for something to cool completely is...well it's a lot. But it's totally worth it! The time will just go by painfully slow as you wait, and wait, and wait for the damn brownies to cool! You can be like me and pick at them because if you mess up the top of the brownies it won't matter, they're gonna be covered with frosting anyways, right?

Don't fret if the tops of your brownies don't look perfect. It'll be hidden underneath the frosting anyways! :)

For the frosting, take that microwavable bowl and chop up the 6oz of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate. Funny thing about bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate, they're pretty much the same thing so if a recipe calls for one, but you only have the other, use it. You won't notice the difference. Or if you prefer one over the other it doesn't really matter which one you use.

Anywho...take the chopped up chocolate, heavy cream, and raspberry jam and microwave is for about 2-3 minutes again on 50% or 60% power. Stir it after the first round in the microwave and if it's not completely smooth throw it in the microwave for another minute or so. Once the chocolate is melted, stir it until it is smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a slightly larger bowl. You'll need the room when you're mixing the frosting. Stir in the vanilla. Next you're going to get that bowl of ice water and place the bowl with the frosting in it. This cools the warm chocolate mixture and will help with the consistency of the frosting.

Start by stirring the frosting with just a spoon for about 3-5 minutes. Then, grab that hand mixer and beat the frosting on a medium speed (I had mine on the 3rd or 4th speed). Beat the frosting until soft peaks form. Soft peaks are when you take the beaters out of the frosting and the tips of the peaks fall over. So it's sort of thick, but not so thick that you can't spread it.

Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies. If you want you can save about 1/2 a cup of the frosting so you can make little flowery toppings on the brownies one they're all cut up. I didn't because...well I was feeling a little lazy by the end of this. Once the frosting is evenly spread over the brownies, cover them and place them in the fridge for about 30 minutes to get the frosting to set.

After that, cut up the brownies, garnish with some more fresh raspberries, serve, and enjoy! Be sure to store these in the refrigerator if they don't disappear all at once. I cut the pieces into about 16 brownies. Now these are ridiculously chocolaty and super rich so some people may find it hard to eat even just one whole brownie. These keep in the fridge for about a week and a half, or well that's how long they lasted around my house.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Definitely will make them again!

'Til next time!!

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