Raspberry, Lemon and Cardamom Cocoa Brownies
August 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
I have been getting really excited about fresh berries at the farmer’s market. Each week I find myself wanting to buy every berry available because I don’t want to miss any of them. It seems, however, that each week a new variety shows up but the early season berries are still sitting right next to them. Strawberries are still being harvested and are being sold next to the boysenberries!
But even though I enjoy staring at them and lusting after them, I really haven’t bought many berries this year. We snacked on early strawberries in Spring and I baked with blackberries just a few weeks ago, but I find myself grabbing more practical produce most weeks: corn, potatoes, zuchinni. The stuff that will last more than a couple of days and we know we will use. I am terrified of spending $5 on a couple pints of berries and then not being able to use them before they go bad.
I had to buy some berries this week. They were everywhere at the Saturday market; I just couldn’t get away from them. And when I checked out the raspberries and saw how unbelievably fresh they were – still firm and completely whole, not broken down in anyway – I grabbed three half pints and carefully stashed them in my backpack. After I snacked on a few of those berries, I decided the amazing sweetness needed to be featured in something baked. Brownies.
Because of the added sweetness from the berries, I cut the sugar in the recipe slightly (it is based on my mom’s recipe) but it could honestly be cut a bit more if your berries are as fresh and sweet as mine and you prefer sweets to be bittersweet. I also brightened up the sweetness with lemon zest and added a subtle, spicy contrast with cardamom. These brownies would be awesome topped with an airy whipped cream. They are rich but don’t feel so heavy because of the fresh qualities. The aromatics can certainly be changed up to take advantage of whatever berry or stone fruit looks best, and then complimented with the appropriate zest and spice.
Raspberry, Lemon and Cardamom Cocoa Brownies:
– 1 3/4 cups sugar
– zest of 1 lemon
– 3 eggs
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
– 1 1/2 cups AP flour
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
– 3/4 cup cocoa powder
– 1 pint fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rub lemon zest into sugar and beat the sugar and zest into the eggs and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add butter and continue to combine until incorporated. Sift together dry ingredients and blend the dry into the wet slowly (in 2-3 batches) until smooth and incorporated. Gently fold berries into the batter and transfer the batter into a greased 9×13 sheet cake pan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a fork can be removed (fairly) cleanly.