As I write this blog post, the snow continues dance outside my window. I can hear the windchimes in the backyard. A neighbour is outside shovelling. I’m cozy and warm within the shelter of these thick, limestone walls. I’m humbled by the age of my home, by the storms it has endured and yet, how it still solidly stands over 150 years after it was constructed. There parts of it that need care, storm windows to be restored and a roof that needs repair in the spring, but it we’ll make it through the winter. The home must have so much history locked away within these walls. Stories to tell about the people and families who lived here before me. Who were they? Has there always been a piano in the front room? When was the kitchen moved from the basement to the first floor? Did children feel safe to play in the streets outside?
My February musings. I’m not sure I’ll figure out the past, but I keep my listening ears ready for the stories of the people that surround me. I record my children’s stories and the ones that were told over the holidays. I’m listening more than ever before and reading more than I have in years. It takes practice and I know my winter rhythm will change when the snow melts and everything is green once again. But in this moment, I am content.
Chocolate plus raspberries for Valentine’s day. Ultra-fudgy, a little salty and complimented by the tang of raspberries make these brownies the ultimate indulgence. I used frozen raspberries because fresh ones at this time of year lake any sweetness and are trucked in from too far away. Chocolate frosting is not necessary. Need I say more? Go ahead and bake them.
Fudgy Raspberry Brownies
Makes: 16 intense brownies
Time: Prep time (20 minutes) + Baking time (35-45 minutes)
300 g dark chocolate, chopped
½ cup minus 1 tbsp (100 g) unsalted butter, cubed
3 large eggs
¼ cup (50 g) brown sugar
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 1 tsp (100 g) all purpose flour
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup (100 g) frozen raspberries, separated
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180 °C). Butter and line with parchment paper a 20 cm (8 inch) square baking dish so that the paper comes up the sides.
2. Using a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl) over barely simmering water, add the chocolate and butter. Do not stir. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl then incorporate the sugars and vanilla extract. Remove the chocolate-butter mixture from the heat (note, if it seems very hot, wait for it to cool otherwise, you’ll cook the eggs) and whisk in the egg-sugar mixture. Fold in the flour and salt followed by half a cup of raspberries. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle or strategically place the remaining raspberries on top of the mixture.
3. Bake for 35-45 minutes. A skewer inserted should come out a little wet. Allow the brownies to fully cool in the pan before gently pulling on the parchment and removing it from the pan. Cut into 16 small squares. Store in an airtight container.
Enjoy these brownies after dinner with your favourite person.
Adapted from Peyton and Bryne British Baking.