Wednesday, 2 July 2014

My Ravishing Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

Fresh raspberries and dark chocolate are a marriage made in traybake heaven and this recipe combines them in a deliciously decadent way.  My Ravishing Raspberry Chocolate Brownies would be a perfect weekend sweet treat for the family or a fabulous after dinner dessert for friends.  Ooooh, I can imagine them piled high, lightly dusted with icing sugar with candles for an alternative birthday cake.   I make no apologies for the naughty factor in these brownies, but after a hard week at school or work, I reckon we all deserve a little treat. 

The Squidge Factor 
 I think the perfect brownie needs to have a dense squidgy texture and the addition of fresh raspberries here adds an extra degree of sexy squidge; we are thinking more of a pudding here, although they would be super for afternoon tea with the girls if you include a glass of fizz or pot of earl grey.   When you take the brownie tin out of the oven, you should still have a bit of a wobble in the centre of the cake.  Truly, a bit of cake cleavage is essential for a moist bake (ooh err missus!)

The Decadence Factor
There are a couple of things that add a real 'vavavoom' to these brownies and one of these is raspberry flavoured dark chocolate.   I recently discovered this and it adds an amazing flavour to any chocolate cake: if you don't like the idea of adding fresh raspberries then I would urge you to try adding raspberry flavoured choc instead, if you can find it.  I know that good quality chocolate can be really expensive and I'll be doing a separate post on some reasonably priced options at a later date.

Ok, so let's just say you are making these brownies as a special treat for some grown up friends or an intimate supper for your best beau, then you might want to add a cheeky shot of Chambord raspberry liqueur.   You know me, I love a little booze in my cake and this works really well.  Taking it a step further, you could easily develop this recipe into some divine individual trifles; place a brownie in the bottom of a dessert glass, sprinkle on some Chambord and fresh raspberries, top with fresh custard and whipped cream.  Ooh, la la, c'est magnifique! 

Now I've whipped you up into a chocolate frenzy, we had better get on to how to make these little darlings.

300 g caster sugar
250 g unsalted butter (softened)
200 g (70% cocoa solids) dark chocolate (2 bars)
3 large or 4 smaller eggs
60 g plain flour
60 g cocoa powder
half teaspoon baking powder
175 g fresh raspberries

Optional for increased decadence!
50 ml Chambord liqueur
Replace 1 plain bar of chocolate for raspberry chocolate (70% cocoa solids)


First, preheat your oven to 180 C (gas mark 4) and line a 23cm square baking tin.

1 Chop up both bars of chocolate and add to a bowl which sits over a pan of simmering water to melt slowly or follow the packet instructions for melting in the microwave.  Leave to one side to cool slightly.

2 Beat the unsalted butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy; make sure the butter has been out of the fridge for quite a while before you do this and give it a good beating.

3 Beat your eggs in a separate bowl and slowly add them bit by bit to the creamed butter and sugar beating thoroughly after each addition. Don't worry if the mix looks a little curdled, just add a tablespoon or two of flour and keep going.

4 Add the melted chocolate and carefully incorporate into your mixture.

4 Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together and fold gently into the brownie mix.  If your brownie batter is looking a little stodgy at this point then you can add a tablespoon or two of milk to loosen it a little.

5 Finally, fold through the fresh raspberries and if you are going for full out decadence, add your Chambord and stir through.

6 Place in your cake tin and bake in the centre of your oven for approximately 30 to 40 minutes; ovens vary, so it's hard to be precise.  Remember you need a bit of a wobble in the centre of the cake to get a nice squidgy brownie.  

7 Leave in the tin to completely cool before turning out and cutting into squares - they are going to be crumbly and fragile but don't panic as this is part of the charm of brownies. 

NB If you are serving this to young children or pregnant ladies, then you may want to cook the brownie through more thoroughly but you will get a dryer crumbed bake.  Always use lovely fresh eggs, that goes without saying. 

Eat and Enjoy!!!

Give my Raspberry Chocolate Brownies a try and listen as your friends and family ooh and ahh with pleasure.  

This post is an entry for the #MorrisonsMum Summer Recipe eBook Challenge sponsored by Morrisons, which has recently cut prices on over a thousand every day products. Find out more here price checker tool  (Sweet treats category)

Have a cake-tastic week.  Galx

PS  If you love chocolate and raspberries as much as I do then check out my Red Velvet Butterfly Cakes with Raspberry Curd or my Raspberry Quickie, hurrah!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Selling at my first Vintage Fair!

Can I get a big Eeeeeeeep?!  Giddy Aunt Lola is off to the Kitsch and Stitch Vintage Makers Fair, woohooo!  I've been building up to selling some of my vintage wares for the longest time and have finally taken the plunge.  My sister popped over with two of her lovely daughters to help me sort through my junk boxes of vintage loveliness in a bid to select what I will be taking along to sell.

Trying to decide what to take and what I couldn't bear to part with was easier than expected as I am determined to have a jolly good clear out.  It's all very well finding delicious vintage items for a bargain in charity shops but it seems such a waste to just stuff them in a cupboard or a box.  I've enjoyed the hunt for vintage homeware but I always had a sneaky plan that I was buying to sell as well.  My poor old dining room is heaving with vintage whatnot and sadly doesn't get used very often partly due to the clutter.  So, it's time, dear friends, to liberate some of the vintage goodies into the wild where they can free range in another vintage Gal's home and be displayed and appreciated.

You'll probably recognise some of my charity shop finds that have appeared in my blog posts;  I've been quite brutal in what I am preparing to sell and focussed on keeping things that I know I will actually use regularly or can display properly.  

I have some work to do on my stall to pretty it up, together with some upcycling and creating that will prepare for the first outing of Giddy Aunt Lola at the Kitsch and Stitch Vintage Makers Fair on 5th July, Vestry Hall, Cranbrook.   Exciting!  Any tips you have on selling at vintage fairs and displaying and dressing my stall are gratefully received.

Tally Ho! Galx
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