Double chocolate raspberry brownies

Double chocolate raspberry brownies

The heaviness of the past few months was lifted off my shoulders when I turned in my final project last week. I’m still having a difficult time trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s over; I’m on the other side. And I’m welcoming a lightness that hasn’t been felt since before we packed up and left for the trip. Except, like all things, this moment of lightness is temporary and fleeting, as classes start back up in three weeks. Which means things will be going full force until I’m finished in December.

So it goes.

Within those (err, these) three weeks we’ll be slowly abandoning our space downtown and trading it for new digs near the park. I’m anxious. Thrilled. Ready to be surrounded by houses instead of tall buildings, and greenspace instead of.. no greenspace for 1/2 mile. I’m counting down the days until I get to fall asleep sans the chatter and clanking and soft rumble of the city, and I can’t wait to run in a park (dirt trails! shade! other runners!) instead of a paved trail that runs along a polluted river, through North Denver and countless homeless communities that constantly make me question whether or not it’s safe for a somewhat small woman to be running in such an area before the sun makes an appearance. For the record, I do it for the adrenaline rush. Some people go skydiving, I run through sketchy, isolated parts of town before sunrise. Human instinct is to run faster when in danger so there’s a bit of logic behind there somewhere. No? You’re probably right.

Room with a view

Next week, the kind folks at Saveur (my dad scolded me for not telling you here, but I won Editors’ Choice for Best Original Recipes) (and did a little interview to celebrate) are sending me to Las Vegas to meet with a number of the winners and nominees, and I’m very much looking forward to crossing paths with some of my favorite internet folks. Since last year’s events consisted of more boozing in two days than I typically do in an entire month, I decided to step up my game despite the fact I’m not all that into consuming alcoholic beverages because HANGOVERS ARE THE WORST. However, in preparation for Sin City I discovered the secret to combating the post-drunk awfulness is to a) guzzle a shitload of water at the end of the night and b) sober up before falling asleep. So basically I drink a lot more gin and I’m happy about it. Also: I’m ready for you, Vegas. Unless you’re serving up jell-o shots, then I think I’m going to have to sit that round out.

Because I’ve been failing miserably at pancakes (they taste on point but look terrible), brownies have been a thing around here lately. Brownies with cacao nibs. Brownies with cookie dough innards (coming soon to eHow). Brownies with a generous chocolate hazelnut swirl. And now brownies studded with dark chocolate chunks and raspberries, and topped with a good dusting of cacao because I’m a firm believer that desserts dusted with cacao are superior to those that are not. I’m also a firm believer that brownies are the solution to many of life’s first-world problems so if you’re having a particularly awful day – or even if you’re not – you should make these brownies, open the blinds, and dance around the house to Wu-Tang Pandora (or Bloc Party if you’re looking for something a little less explicit) because it’s the perfect antidote for times when you’re not quite feeling like yourself. And if you’re lucky, Got Your Money (NSFW) will come on and you’ll start feeling reaaaaaaal nice because ODB + Kelis inspire the most unabashed rhythmic movements that’ll instantly make you forget about whatever it was that was bothering you in the first place.

RaspberriesRaw cacao powderFlax seedsFlaxseed mealWhiskingUntitledDouble chocolate raspberry browniesDouble chocolate raspberry browniesDouble chocolate raspberry browniesDouble chocolate raspberry browniesDouble chocolate raspberry browniesDouble chocolate raspberry brownies

Notes: If you don’t have a scale to weigh your chocolate, or if you can’t find an affordable 3.5 ounce chocolate bar, use 1/2 heaping cup of chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate. If you don’t have cacao powder, natural cocoa powder will work in its place but you cannot substitute Dutch processed cocoa (without adjusting the leavening). If you’re not a fan of spelt, you can use all purpose unbleached flour with good results. Whole wheat will work similarly except you’ll want to reduce the flour by 2 tablespoons. This recipe can easily be made gluten free by substituting equal parts of a gluten free flour blend + 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum. They’re a bit on the dense side but still insanely delicious.

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY BROWNIES

1 1/4 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp non-hyrdogenated shortening
3.5 oz good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups cane sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
2 flax eggs
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/2 pint raspberries

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 9″ square pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the shortening and chocolate. Once melted, stir in the sugar and let cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and stir in the almondmilk. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the flax eggs and chocolate mixture; stir with a whisk just until combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate then pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and level with the back of a spoon. Dot with raspberries (use as many as you want). Wrap pan on the countertop a few times until the batter is level. Bake at 350˚F for 26-28 minutes. Allow to cool in pan then keep loosely covered for up to four days. If your raspberries sink into the batter while baking, simply top with fresh raspberry halves as soon as the brownies come out of the oven.

Yield: 16 brownies

  • Haley May 21, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    You are nuts! I used to run on that same trail (in broad daylight) and didn’t feel safe. I do agree with the running faster when in danger logic because I ran some of my quickest splits on that trail but I’m happy to be in City Park now. :-) Where are you moving?

    The brownies look delicious! Have fun in Las Vegas.

    • Ashlae May 21, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      Hi Haley –

      Ha! Strangely, I’m kind of going to miss that route. But! I’m moving 1 block north of Cheesman and about a mile from City Park. Perhaps we can arrange an early morning run?

  • Alessandra May 21, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    These look amazing! I’m with you on the whole desserts-dusted-with-cocoa-taste-better front!

  • Rachel May 21, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    First of all, probably making those brownies for our Memorial Day cookout this weekend…they look ridonk.

    Secondly, as someone who’s dealt with her fair share of hangovers, I have another hangover prevention kernel of wisdom to throw your way before you go to Vegas (I, too, am partial to the “drink an entire 20-oz. bottle of water before bed trick). Take Emergen-C before bed. Just swirl one of those packets of powder (Tangerine flavor is best) in a glass of water and chug it down. I swear by it. It also helps if you take another in the morning. Good luck, and have a blast!

  • Kierstan May 21, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Enjoy the lightness while it lasts! (and the brownies, too).

    Just took a quick peek at your trip photos, gorgeous! Where did you travel to? I am gearing up for a 3+ week trek across Europe with my sister this July – beyond excited.

  • Melissa @ Nourish By Melissa May 21, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    Beautiful pictures! These look incredible xo

  • Katie @ Veggie and the Beast May 21, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    So so pretty, as always. Congrats on your new place!

    I’ve been looking for a new Pandora station, and clicked on Wu-Tang Clan to give it a try. It lasted about 10 seconds before I realized it was all a bit NSFW, so back to my standard Johnny Cash radio I go… :)

    • Ashlae May 21, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      Ha! You’re right. For non-explicit stations, The National, Pinback, Interpol, and Alt-J are my favs. :)

  • Kathryn May 21, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    The only hangover cure (or prevention) that’s ever worked for me is the drinking water tip. I forgot last week after a late night of karaoke and sangria and had the most painful day at work ever the next day. Not good. Don’t make the same mistake as me… Enjoy your trip to Vegas and your three weeks of freedom. I’m just going to sit here drooling over your brownies…

  • nora&laura May 21, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    WOW!! looks SO delicious!!
    x
    laura&nora

  • The Vegan Cookie Fairy May 21, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Oh my oh my oh my. These look adorable. I just finished a 4 hour shift at the restaurant (and have another in an hour) and these instantly made my day, just by looking at them. Thanks xoxo

  • Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon May 21, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Welcome to Cheesman! I live east of the park right near the King Soopers. It is a fabulous neighborhood and I love the park and getting a loop in, either jogging (working on my endurance!), walking, or biking. My favorite walk is into Cherry Creek for the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings!

  • Ashley May 21, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I am IN LOVE with these photos. I feel you on the swings of heaviness and lightness and am glad you have a few weeks to breathe. Enjoy as much as you can! I’m so excited for your venture to a new part of town. It sounds like the exact thing you need. My recent hangover tip: Orange Juice + Coconut Water – I SWEAR one big glass and all is well in the world. But I haven’t had a serious hangover in quite some time, so don’t fully hold me to it. ;) Have a blast! And congrats again! So well deserved! xo

  • Baby June May 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Those look delish! Raspberries and chocolate are like the PB + J of desserts. The cocoa powder sprinkled on top makes them look so elegant too! :)

  • Kristy May 21, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Congrats on winning the Editor’s Choice award, congrats on the new home, and congrats on being on the other side of a rough patch! These brownies look incredible and definitely the perfect way to celebrate. :-)

  • Lisa May 21, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Congrats to my beautifully talented daughter. You are ever so deserving! I too, agree with the hangover ritual of some h2o, then beginning to sober up before laying your head on a pillow. Enjoy Sin City. I’m hoping Mister will be accompanying you :)

  • Stefanie May 21, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Oh my gosh. These look amazing! Your photographs are to die for. I don’t think I’ve attempted a vegan brownie recipe yet… this looks like a perfect place to start!

  • Katie @ Produce on Parade May 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Congrats on your Editor’s Choice win! That’s awesome. Dang, I could really go for some of these brownies right now! :P

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar May 21, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    These look perfect! Such a yummy flavour!

  • Jenny Stockton May 21, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Good God has your dad scolded you for running through sketchy, isolated parts of town before sunrise? Stop that. Also, fingers crossed for a dance party involving “Got Your Money” in Vegas. That sounds like the best way to celebrate winning something so huge. Congrats, lady.

  • Ieva Marija @ Skanios Mintys May 22, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Just found your blog… OMG, my morning is complete now (with Got Your Money in the background). Today’s gonna be a good day. I could say that your pictures are incredible, your recipes are mouthwatering, your style of writing is sooo perfect for my taste, but I won’t (although I already did). I will just say that I can feel from your blog that you do this because you love it. And that’s the most precious thing in life – to do what you love.

    Greetings from Lithuania,
    Ieva Marija

  • Jess @ Sweet Menu May 22, 2014 at 1:48 AM

    Gorgeous looking brownies! And those red raspberries? Divine!

  • Gayatri May 22, 2014 at 2:27 AM

    Foodgawker brought me here and I’m so so so glad!!! What a lovely batch of brownies this is :) You have an absolutely beautiful blog :)

  • Maja May 22, 2014 at 4:13 AM

    YES!!! SO good lady!

  • Medeja May 22, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    Irresistible brownies! Chocolate and raspberries go so well together!

  • Sherri@The Well Floured Kitchen May 22, 2014 at 6:47 AM

    Congratulations on the win! What a fabulous prize, have a great time. I’m on a raspberry kick lately, these look amazing.

  • Melanie @ Carmel Moments May 22, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    Gorgeous! These have to be amazing!

  • Chelsey May 22, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    These just might be the best brownies I’ve ever seen. But the fact that they’re vegan leads me to believe you’re a wizard of some sort because brownies without eggs and dairy? I wouldn’t have dreamt it possible for them to look so damn decadent.

    I’m visiting Denver soon and would love some recommendations if you’d be willing to send them my way. :)

  • Joyti May 22, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Ooo, congratulations on the new house and moving!!!

    And the brownies look delicious.

  • Erin @ The Speckled Palate May 22, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    My little sister used to live in Denver, and when I visited her, I ran on the trail you described here. Here’s to having parks and trails to run that aren’t sketchy in the near future. And congratulations on the Editors’ Choice for Best Original Recipes! That’s so freaking awesome!

    These brownies sound like they’d be right up my alley, and the added bonus of almond milk in them just makes me so happy. These are definitely going on my to-try list because who doesn’t love a good brownie?

  • YH May 22, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Gorgeous pictures! Just found your blog through Foodgawker. The brownies look delectable.

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  • Alice May 23, 2014 at 6:57 AM

    I want to eat all of those brownies. Congrats on the win/house/end of the semester! What a freakin month.

  • georgina May 23, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Hi they look delicious. Do u have a gluten free version?

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  • lynn @ the actor’s diet May 25, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    Congrats on the award – and these epic looking brownies!

  • Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life May 26, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    Brownies are totally my soul-lifting, mood altering food too. Only special ingredient required – chocolate!!! and lots of it!
    Congratulations on winning the Saveur award. I am always inspired when I come and visit you. Have a wonderful time in Las Vegas. Trust your liver. It will recover in time ;)

  • Liz @ Floating Kitchen May 27, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    These look incredible! Good luck with the move. And good luck in Vegas :-).

  • ami@naivecookcooks May 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Yummm! Congrats girl for the big win!

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  • Sarah May 30, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    This looks all kinds of delicious – cannot wait to whip a batch up. Have fun in Vegas!

  • Sherry May 30, 2014 at 5:18 AM

    These look totally yummy and I am definitely going to try the recipe! One word of warning- your milk of choice contains carrageenan, a very unhealthy and harmful ingredient.

  • Veronica May 30, 2014 at 6:15 AM

    These looks insanely good! My mouth is watering! Your food photography always inspires me. I hope you enjoy your Vegas trip, sounds like it will be a lot of fun ;)

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  • Webbyrå June 3, 2014 at 4:13 AM

    This looks delicious!!! I’ll definitely make this recipe some time next week. :D

  • Barb@ThatWasVegan? June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Congrats on the move! I’m sure running in City or Cheesman park will be much preferable to North Denver :) And SUPER CONGRATS on the award!!

  • Gemma June 4, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    The first picture almost killed me but when I scrolled down this post…I DIED!!!…a sweet and pleasant dead, though, hehe. Really, two of my favorite things together in one recipe equals happiness. I love chocolate more than words can express and raspberries (delicious too) make every dessert look instantly more adorable. It’s been a while since the last time I baked brownies and now it’s time to try this recipe!
    Yummyness at its best!

    xoxo

    PS: is there a way to replace non-hydrogenated shortening? I can’t find it in Spain. :-(

    • Ashlae June 4, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Hi Gemma –

      You’re too kind! You could replace the shortening with vegan butter, but can you get your hands on that? Oil would work, but sadly will make the brownies a bit hard and, obviously, oily. :) I wish I was in Spain.

  • Kasey June 4, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    First of all, you are amazing. Congrats on the Saveur nod. I hope you drank a lot of gin in LV and did not get too bad of a hangover. Second, congrats on the new house! What an accomplishment. I wonder when we’ll make that transition…one day! xoxo

  • Genevieve June 15, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Made these today, with my only substitute being the WW flour, 2 tbsp reduced as you advised…tremendous flavor! Probably one of the best vegan brownie flavors I’ve been able to achieve. Downside is that the texture was too crumbly/fudgy, if that makes sense. It’s possible I didn’t cook them long enough, but I got up to 35 minutes. The raspberry juices made them moister/more watery, which may have been a contributing factor. I’m freezing them for brownie ice cream sundaes so not all is lost. Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Ashlae June 15, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      Hi Genevieve –

      It sounds like the brownies were either underbaked or didn’t have enough flour, as they should be more cake like than fudgy. Perhaps add the 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour back into the mixture (consistency between brands can vary greatly – I use Bob’s Red Mill) or bake the brownies for an additional 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, enjoy your sundaes. :)

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