This dessert doesn’t need me to vouch for it; the title says it all. Dense chocolaty brownies sandwiching a tangy buttercream made from real raspberries?? Uhh, I’ll take two. Thanks.

These brownies are a lovely marriage of sweet and tart, and they make for a wonderful Valentine’s Day treat! But don’t limit yourself to Valentine’s Day and heart shapes, cut them into whatever shape you’d like, switch up the raspberries for another berry (following the same buttercream directions), or even go with blondies rather than chocolate brownies. The possibilities are pretty endless, so tap into your creativity and see what you come up with.

Pair the brownies with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt and a few extra fresh raspberries for a beautiful plated dessert. …Or eat them straight our of the pan, haphazardly dolloping buttercream on the brownie pieces as you go. Whatever floats your boat.

I can’t lie: as I was cutting out the hearts, I ate an embarrassing amount of brownie “scraps”. It made for a pretty good time at the time, but it meant that I definitely couldn’t renege on my class at the gym this morning…

These were great as is, but I’m going to try these again and switch up the flavour combination, just for kicks!

Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Buttercream

Ingredients

Brownies:
    • nonstick vegetable oil spray
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
    • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (3 squares of Baker’s Secret)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 tsp. instant coffee powder
    • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 c. flour
    • powdered sugar, to sprinkle on the finished brownie hearts
Buttercream:
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3-1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 T. milk, if needed to thin out the frosting

Directions

Brownies:

Preheat oven to 325°.

Line a 9″ x 13″ metal baking pan with parchment paper so that the edges hang over the sides of the pan. Spray the parchment with nonstick spray.

Stir the butter and chocolate in a large heavy saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugars, and then the eggs, one at a time. Whisk in the instant coffee, vanilla, and salt. Then sift the flour over the chocolate mixture and stir to blend well. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake brownies until slightly puffed and dry-looking and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist batter attached, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on rack.

Buttercream:

Cook the raspberries in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the raspberries are broken down into a sauce. Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds, and then pour the raspberry sauce back in the pot. Simmer until the sauce reduces to a 1/4 cup. It will be a very rich red and concentrated sauce. Set aside to cool. With a mixer, cream the butter with a paddle attachment on medium high speed about 2 minutes, until lightened in color and a bit fluffy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, the 1/4 cup of cooled raspberry sauce, lemon juice, and salt. Mix until smooth. Add another 1-1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. If you want the frosting less stiff, add some milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. I did not add any milk to mine, and thought it was perfect for piping. Fit a pastry bag with your tip of choice and fill with fresh raspberry buttercream.

Run a knife around the inside edge of the brownie pan. Use the overhanging parchment as an aid and gently lift the brownies from the pan. The pan I used produces a brownie that is 1/2″ thick. Be sure your cookie cutter is taller than 1/2″. Press heart-shaped cookie cutters firmly into the cooled brownie. Use a thin metal spatula to lift the cookie cutter filled with brownie from the foil. Gently press the brownie out of the cookie cutter. Repeat the cutting process until you have cut out as many brownie hearts as you can. Now, indulge in the scraps.

With the pastry bag filled with fresh raspberry buttercream, pipe a line of frosting around the inside edge of one of the brownie hearts. Then fill in the inside of the line with frosting, too. Top with another brownie heart, very gently pressing down to make a sandwich. Repeat until all your brownie hearts are completed. To finish off, sprinkle the brownie hearts with powdered sugar.

Yes, you should.

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