In this triple-decker brownie, everyone’s favorite aphrodisiac factors into three places: a buttery crumb crust, a dense chocolate-raspberry filling, and a glossy ganache on top. This brownie is only moderately sweet, so it is best reserved for adults.–Julia M. Usher
LC Valentine's Brownie Note
If ever there was a brownie intended for foodies intent on impressing, this fancy-pants version is it, boasting a buttery cocoa crust, a decadent chocolate-raspberry filling, and boozy ganache. Pucker up.
Raspberry-Truffle Brownie Bars
Makes 2 dozen (1 3/4- to 2-inch) squares
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Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and position the oven rack in the center position. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang around the top edge of the pan. Lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the flour, superfine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a fork or your hands, work in the butter and egg yolk until the mixture is uniformly moistened but crumbly. (There should be no dry spots.) Press the dough into an even 1/4-inch-thick layer in the prepared pan.
Bake the crust 14 to 15 minutes, or until dull on top and slightly puffy but still soft. Do not overbake. Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you prepare the filling.
Combine the butter, semisweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over but not touching barely simmering water. Stir as needed until the chocolate and butter are just melted. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the superfine sugar, followed by the eggs, Chambord, and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, mixing just until smooth and shiny. (Do not overmix or the batter may break.) Pour the batter on top of the crust and spread it into an even layer with a small offset spatula.
Spoon the jam evenly over the top. With a small offset spatula, spread it into a thin layer that completely covers the brownie filling.
Bake the brownies about 20 minutes. Do not overbake. When done, the brownies will be set through to the middle and slightly puffed around the edges. A cake tester inserted into the center will come out with very damp crumbs on it. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before glazing or storing. (The brownie will set further upon cooling.)
Begin the ganache by placing the chopped (or ground) chocolate in a large bowl so it forms a shallow layer. Set aside.
Pour the cream into a medium (3-quart) nonreactive (stainless steel or coated) saucepan. Place over medium to medium-high heat and scald the cream. (That is, heat the cream to just below the boiling point. The cream will put off steam, but no bubbles should break on its surface.)
Immediately strain the hot cream through a fine-meshed sieve directly onto the chocolate. Let the mixture sit 1 to 2 minutes without stirring, and then gently whisk until the chocolate is entirely melted. (If the chocolate does not completely melt, set the bowl over barely simmering water in a double boiler and stir regularly until smooth. Do not overheat, or the ganache may break.) Stir in the corn syrup.
Stir in the Chambord at the end. Pour the ganache evenly over the brownie. Gently tilt or shake the pan so the ganache completely coats the top.
For a marbled top, work quickly while the ganache is still fluid. Fill a parchment pastry cone with the melted milk chocolate. Pipe thin lines 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart across the ganache. Draw a toothpick (or cake tester) back and forth through the chocolate and ganache to create a marbled pattern.
Set the pan in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the ganache is firm enough to cleanly cut. (Do not overchill or the brownies will harden.)
Remove the brownies from the pan in one block by gently pulling up on the foil overhang, and place directly on a cutting board. Remove all foil and trim any uneven edges before cutting the block into 1 3/4- to 2-inch squares. For the neatest cuts, slice the bars while the ganache is firm and wipe the knife clean with a warm, damp cloth between slices. Serve at room temperature. Store unglazed brownies at room temperature up to 4 to 5 days. Keep them covered (and uncut) in the pan until ready to glaze. Once glazed, the brownies must be refrigerated. (The glaze is perishable.) Because the brownie layer will harden if refrigerated too long, the glaze is best applied 1 1/2 to 2 hours before serving. The brownies will be softest and most flavorful if served at room temperature.
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Raspberry-Truffle Brownie Bars Recipe © 2009 Julia M. Usher. Photo © 2009 Steve Adams. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.