Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Chocolate and Raspberry Heart Brownies

The Hubby loves pen and paper roleplay games.  When I met him he was a part of his university roleplay society and it was a regular feature of his week to be away gaming with his friends.  When we finished university and first moved into our flat in Fife, he would travel up on the train for games.  He wasn't really able to play with the university anymore, due to timings of trains, but his friends still did a roleplay and he would go up for that.  Back in the early days of this blog, it became traditional for me to bake something for him to take along.  His friends are very willing guinea pigs and it really allowed me to stretch my creative juices and experiment.  No wonder 2012 and 2013 were such prolific years for the blog.
Then the Hubby changed from being a lifeguard with casual hours to one with part time hours.  And all those hours were in the evening.  And consequently, roleplaying had to be put on hold.  I felt so bad for him because it also put a big hold on getting to see his friends in general.  After we convinced him to quit because I was beginning my probation year, it became an issue of no one having the same free day for meeting up and limited funds.  Their game has been on hold for a couple of years now.

However, now the Hubby has passed his driving test and we have access to a (devil) car he is able to travel up to Dundee much more easily, with no restrictions on when he has to leave as he's not relying on trains.  He is so happy.  And there are plans to start the game up again, with some new people joining.  So once again he'll be regularly trekking up to Dundee.

That's where this bake comes in.  Last Saturday he went to Dundee.  I did not remember him telling me he was doing this until he mentioned it the preceding Monday.  So obviously I spent the week teasing him about abandoning me.  It was fine though.  I was glad he was getting to see his friends.  And at the fact I had guinea pigs to bake for again.  My day on my own was also enjoyable (despite feeling ill).  I bundled up under a quilt with my cats and watched a lot of movies.  It was lovely. 

I thought I would do something with a bit of a Valentine's theme, being that time of year and all.  Brownies seemed a good bet.  Traybakes are good to send along to a bunch of people.  I went with chocolate and raspberry because it's a classic, romantic combination.  Plus tastes really good together.  The brownie part was a Martha Stewart recipe, so there's a LOT of butter and sugar in these.  But that's what makes a good, moist brownie!  That and a good quality dark chocolate.  I added raspberries to the brownies (more moistness wasn't going to hurt) and then found a nice and simple raspberry ganache recipe that I thought I'd be able to pull off (since, ya know, ganache is one of my nemeses).  I have to say, I like using chocolate chips, it helps things to melt quicker.  I switched milk chocolate chips out for white chocolate in my version because I wanted a nice pink ganache and because white chocolate also combines well with raspberry.

The trickiest part of this was actually cutting out the hearts.  My cookie cutter was a bit shallow to go through cleanly and come back out again.  I need a fancy one with a handle.  So instead I pushed it in part way and used it as a stencil, cutting around the inside edge with a knife.  It gives the brownies a slight roughness but for the most part, they still looked pretty cute.

I packed both the brownies and all the remnants up and sent them along with the Hubby.  There was much excitement at the prospect when he had told them over Facebook.  Apparently everyone immediately started tucking into the leftover bits, saving the actual brownies for after tea.  Any brownies that remained at the end of the evening were divided up between them.  They are a wonderfully moist brownie but weren't too heavy.  They're very chocolatey and the raspberry is strong.  The Hubby describes it, "as being punched in the nose and tongue with flavour".  A weird way to put it but I'll take it.  Everyone really enjoyed them so I was happy.

Recipe - makes 12 brownies (plus leftover bits)

Brownie - adapted from Martha Stewart
  • 225g/8oz unsalted butter
  • 350g/12oz light muscovado sugar 
  • 170g/6oz dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 240g/8.5oz plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g/5.3oz fresh raspberries 
Raspberry Ganache - adapted from Food.com
  • 160ml/oz heavy cream 
  • 60g/2oz butter
  • 280g/10oz white chocolate chips
  • 125ml/4.5oz seedless raspberry jam
  • Pink food colouring (optional) 
  • Sprinkles
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3 and grease and line a 12x10inch, deep sided tray with baking parchment.  Make sure the parchment hangs high over the edge so that you will be able to lift the brownies out of the tray.
  2. Put the chocolate, butter and sugar into a microwave-safe bowl.
  3. Microwave for 1 minute and then stir.  Continue to microwave for 10 second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate is almost melted.
  4. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, followed by the flour and salt.  Mix until just smooth.
  5. Cut the raspberries in half and fold into the mixture.
  6. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  I recommend to start checking after 20 minutes because you don't want the brownie to overcook and dry out.
  8. Leave in the tin to cool.
  9. Whilst the brownie is baking, start making the raspberry ganache.  In a small heavy saucepan placed over a medium heat bring the cream to a simmer then remove.
  10. Add the chocolate chips, butter and jam to the cream, making sure as much as possible is covered.  Let it stand until the chocolate has melted.
  11. If using food colouring, add it here.  Whisk the mixture until it is smooth.  Chill in the fridge for about an hour.
  12. Whip the ganache to soft peaks then spread over the top of the cooled brownie, smoothing over and making sure it goes right to the edges.  Sprinkle decorations over the top, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge to firm up.
  13. Once the ganache is fairly firm, use a 6cm/2.5inch heart cookie cutter to cut the brownies out.  (The scraps are worth keeping for nibbles).

No comments:

Post a Comment