Today would be my mother’s 86th birthday. She passed away 16 years ago, three months before The Artist and I got married, and today’s post and recipe are in her honor. Thank you to Chris and Rachel Keenan of The Keenan Cookbook for providing the absolutely perfect recipe as part of today’s Secret Recipe Club! These brownies have a hidden layer of raspberry jam that makes them extra special and worthy of any party or holiday menu. I’m quite certain they will be making another appearance soon and probably again on Valentine’s Day!! The Keenan’s share a wide variety of recipes that will have you drooling. Make sure you head over to their blog to check out all of the delicious recipes and wonderful stories ~ you won’t be disappointed!!
My mother loved chocolate and would treat herself occasionally to a large Hershey bar and a bottle of Coke. That was the height of sophistication when she was growing up in rural Indiana in the 30s and 40s. She would have loved these brownies and I can see her smiling face as I set the plate down in front of her. She had the most sparkling blue eyes that truly twinkled when she smiled and laughed, which was most of the time.
My mother radiated happiness and would holler out “Woo Hoo” when anyone arrived at our door. It always made me laugh and the memory of it still does. When you see me use this kind of expression on my Facebook comments, you know where it came from, LOL.
When she passed away, I was responsible for calling her closest friends and letting them know. It was a remarkable experience because at least twenty of them told me she was their best friend. Can you imagine having twenty best friends? These ladies wanted to spend time telling me how much she meant to them, how she had enriched their lives, and shared their favorite memories.
My mother hand wrote personal letters regularly to her friends and never forgot a birthday. She sent holiday cards to them all every single year. When I cleaned out her house I found photo albums going back over fifty years where she had collected and saved the Christmas cards from all her friends. Most were family photos ~ it had always been a favorite pastime to see how the children were growing up, and where they had traveled during the year, even if I had never met them.
My mother always wanted to have a career, but was a stay at home 1950s housewife, raising four children. She envied and respected my business career, following my advancements with pride and a little envy. I, in turn, envied her seemingly peaceful life free from the challenges of dealing with co-workers and regular work crises. In the hindsight of adulthood, her life wasn’t easy and had plenty of frustrations, but she always managed to stay positive, even as cancer was eating away at her body and mind.
I hope that my mother would approve of and enjoy reading The Heritage Cook and the documentation of our family recipes along with newer favorites. She and I were very different people, but I can say her positive nature and commitment to friendships has definitely continued to the next generation.
The blending of chocolate and raspberry is truly remarkable and a classic in many traditional desserts. No wonder … it has me dreaming of biting into another brownie! Thank you Chris and Rachel for helping me create a wonderful new memory and a treat that will become a tradition for our family!
Use a gluten-free flour blend to make these brownies and add some baking soda (in italics).
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour (or gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum)
- 1 tsp baking soda if using gluten-free flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, long enough to allow the ends of the foil to extend over the ends of the pan. Butter the foil.
- Place unsweetened chocolate and butter in a large glass, heatproof bowl and microwave on High for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Remove from the microwave and stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer to the bowl of your standing mixer.
- Add the sugar to chocolate mixture and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer, add the flour (and baking soda if using gluten-free flour) and salt. Mix on low until flour is incorporated and then increase speed to medium and beat until slightly lightened, about 30 seconds. Spread into prepared pan.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs stuck to toothpick (do not over bake). Cool in the pan.
- When the brownies are cool, spread jam over the top using an offset spatula to make sure it reaches all the way into the corners. Set aside.
- To make the ganache, in a microwave-safe, heatproof glass bowl, place the semisweet chocolate and cream. Microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes or until simmering (little bubbles around the edges). Remove from the microwave and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is blended and smooth. To make it easier, start in the center of the bowl and keep whisking in small circles until the chocolate is blended into the cream. Then make progressively larger circles until the entire mixture is blended. Pour this chocolate ganache over the jam layer and use an offset spatula to spread it as evenly as possible, making sure all of the raspberry jam is covered.
- Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate layer is set. Lift desert from pan using foil handles. Carefully peel the foil away from the brownies and transfer to a cutting board. Using a long sharp knife, cut* into squares or rectangles and serve.
- Yield: about 10 to 12 servings
- *For the cleanest cuts, run the knife under hot water and wipe dry between each cut. Cut straight down, wiggle the knife side to side to loosen it, slide the strip of brownies away from the rest of the slab making it easier to cut into smaller pieces. Rinse knife under hot running water and wipe dry again before cutting the next strip. Cut crossways into squares. Use a small spatula or cake server to move each piece to a platter or individual serving plates.
Create a New Tradition Today!
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What a beautiful tribute to your Mom, Jane. I’m sure she is smiling down on you with pride as she watches you pass along the family traditions you treasure and make new ones for others to remember.
Thank you so much for sharing, Jane. The Brownies are just perfect:)
You are so sweet Louise, thank you. I hope she is … I think she would be glad to see me following my passion and being successful in my transition to gluten-free. It is my honor to share them with you!
Wow, these brownies look AMAZING – so good!!
Thank you Sara! I think I’ll have another for dessert tonight, LOL!
Your memories of your mum paint a beautiful picture. I’m sure she’d love your blog and those brownies.
Thank you so much Leigh. I’m working on my writing, trying to improve with each post. I know she would love the brownies and I hope she would like my blog.
It was wonderful to read about the person your mother was. The brownies look like an absolute treat. Saving this for sure.
Thank you Trisha – I hope you make these soon. They are really easy to make and travel beautifully if you want to take them to a holiday dinner. Enjoy!!
Lesa @ Edesia's Notebook
What a lovely tribute to your mother, Jane! I’m very sorry for your loss, but I’m glad you have such lovely memories of her. What part of Indiana was she from? I grew up around Fort Wayne. These brownies look amazing. I absolutely love chocolate and raspberry together and am totally pinning this for Valentine’s Day.
Thank you Lesa. Both of my parents were from Shelbyville (near Indy) but I have cousins, aunts and uncles in Warsaw and Fort Wayne! I have a feeling these will show up again on our Valentine’s Day menu, LOL. And since my brother-in-law is a chocoholic, I may bring them to Thanksgiving as well.
Beautiful photos and such a beautiful tribute to your Mom! Glad you liked them and thank you for sharing such a touching post!
Thank you Rachel (and Chris) for the inspiration. The brownies were absolutely perfect and the only change I made was to make them gluten-free. That is a great recipe!!
Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings
Thinking of your mom and your family today!
Thank you Elizabeth – I appreciate it!
Chris @ The Keenan Cookbook
This recipe comes from my Mom, and you baked it in honor of yours. Love that. What a beautiful post – so glad to be a part of it.
Oh Chris, I didn’t know that and it makes this even more special. Thank you so much for letting me know and let your mom know how much I love her recipe!
Great memories! These look fantastic.
Thank you Melissa, it was fun to write and make!
These are beautiful. Your eyes twinkle too, now we know where you got them from.
Ah Keren, you are so sweet! Thank you and hugs!!
Sweet as Sugar Cookies
Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman. What beautiful memories you have of her. Those brownies look luscious.
Thank you! Come on over and take some of these brownies so I don’t eat them all, LOL!