Raspberry Chocolate Brownies with Amaretti Crunch

23 Comments
Raspberry Amaretti Brownies

Squidgy chocolate brownies with raspberries & crunchy amaretti biscuit

Celebrity chefs are making us fat.

Or so the media might have you believe. According to recent research from the British Medical Journal, recipes from the likes of Jamie, Hugh and Nigella are less healthy than a supermarket ready meal. The study shows these recipes to contain, on average, considerably more calories and saturated fat than their pre-packaged counterparts, casting the latter in a much more favourable light.

Raspberry Amaretti Crunch Brownies

Each bite is sweet, smooth & crunchy all at once

Which feels a bit ridiculous. Of course people are unlikely to praise Nigella for her health conscious cooking (and recipes such as the salted caramel pasta from her recent Nigelissima series are verging on the absurd), but surely the benefits – at a fundamental level – of famous faces encouraging people at home to cook with fresh ingredients from scratch (rather than relying on a microwave) outweigh the negatives that this study brings to light.

I don’t lie awake at night worrying about whether recipes on this blog are contributing to obesity. I’ve mentioned before that I eat a pretty balanced diet: lots of fruit, vegetables, protein and whole grains with most of my baking and eating of treats limited to a couple of days a week. Yes, the recipes I share can be heavy on the butter and sugar, but these are known, natural ingredients, to be eaten and enjoyed in moderation. And while I appreciate that I’m not in the same position of influence as these celebrity chefs, I’m pretty sure the principles are the same: cook what you can from scratch and know exactly what it is that goes into your food.

Raspberry Amaretti Crunch Brownies

Irresistible served warm with cold ice cream & extra raspberries

So ready meals are still out in my book and homemade treats very much in. None more so than the brownie as I’ve never bought a pre-packaged bar that tasted a fraction as good as the gooey, dark, crackly-crusted deliciousness you can bake in the comfort of your own home. Good chocolate, yellow yolked eggs and rich golden butter are ingredients that just can’t be beaten, but while I love a plain and simple chocolate brownie, Christmas is as good an excuse as any to jazz it up with some extra ingredients.

The basic brownie recipe here is ever-so-slightly adapted from one given to me by a lovely fellow blogger, stirred through with delicate red raspberries and crumbled crisps of amaretti. The brownies are soft and truffle-like with juicy pockets of fruit and a textural crunch of biscuit, delicious served warm from the oven with ice cream or cold with a glass of milk. They’ll keep for a couple of days, but I’m planning to churn what we didn’t eat this weekend into ice cream with an amaretto-spiked custard.

Raspberry Amaretti Brownies

Squidgy slices of chocolate heaven

As a responsible blogger I should probably tell you to eat these brownies on rare occasions, enjoy in moderation and advise that they may pack a more calorific punch than the tiny squares that pass for a portion you can buy in the shops. But it’s Christmas. And it’s obvious. And I’m reaching for a second square as I write this post . . .

Raspberry Amaretti Crunch Brownies

Juicy red raspberries add a freshness to these sweet, crunchy brownies

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies with Amaretti Crunch
(makes 16)

Ingredients:

240g unsalted butter
240g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 large free range eggs
320g golden caster sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 a vanilla pod, seeds scraped
120g plain flour
75g amaretti biscuits, coarsely crushed
125g raspberries

Method:

Grease and line a 23cm square baking tin. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

Melt together the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla seeds. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.

Fold the flour into the mixture until combined then gently fold in the crushed amaretti biscuits and raspberries. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the top is set firm but a little batter still clings to an inserted skewer.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin before turning out and slicing into thick, squidgy squares.

23 RESPONSES TO Raspberry Chocolate Brownies with Amaretti Crunch

  1. I think it’s a load of rubbish anyway… Much better to cook for yourself! It’s definitely been reported in an irresponsible way. Still, these look damn good. Barrie’s are SO nice in brownies, aren’t they?

  2. Lisa -

    You always make the most creative and mouth-watering goodies, and somehow, you always hit my taste..which maks it even harder to pop in because I always crave it afterward ;D These Raspberry Chocolate Amaretti Brownies are NO exception. I want! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday!

  3. I whole heartedly agree with you. I’m a doctor, a baker, a wisdom tooth taker as my blog tag line goes ;) and all I can think is how I adore chocolate and raspberry brownies (particularly a version I’ve tried with Guinness in the brownie batter) but to add that thoroughly sublime liqueur amaretto would push me over the top into brownie bliss! What a cracking recipe, plus, it *is* Christmas ;)

  4. I agree. There’s no way a supermarket ready meal is coming into my house. Or that I’m going to put down my favourite cookbooks because of the calorie content. I’m with you on this one.

  5. Only your second square?! That’s very well behaved…the thing is with cooking your own food, you can control exactly how much is going in and none of the nasty preservatives etc that are used. as you said, everything in moderation :) Merry Christmas!

  6. Kitty -

    What a great post and a yummy recipe. That report was ridiculous. I don’t recall having ever bought a ready meal (unless a frozen pizza counts which I am sure it does, but the last one was about five years ago before I discovered how easy they are to make from scratch – and quick if you make the bases in advance and freeze them). I am with you that the skill of cooking, not to mention the enormous joy it brings (cooking / eating are ways to express love and feel loved, in my book), is far more important. As is the control of ingredients and absence of preservatives and the like. Also, I do worry about the media’s obsession with ‘healthy eating’ and that the current generation are going to grow up scared of food due to a constant concern about calorie content and in fact run the risk of not getting enough nutrients (fats, proteins etc.) by cutting out too many food groups: fruit and vegetables are fantastic but we cannot live on them alone! Also, we NEED 2000 – 2500 calories a day, on average to SURVIVE – without exercise – it is not a maximum that we must keep below at all costs. I have learnt that cutting back by a couple of hundred calories a day can be damaging in the long term (google Gwyneth Olwyn for research). Anyway, off my high horse and back to your delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing. I will make it in the new year as I am fully baked out now! Thank you for the link to that really funny newspaper piece about Nigelissima too. I watched a couple of the programmes and did think she had gone a little too far this time. Hope I don’t get the book for Christmas! Still like her though! Anyway, who needs more cookbooks with the wonderful world of food blogs?! Merry Christmas!

  7. I bought fresh raspberries yesterday and was planning on making either brownies or a chocolate tart with them inside. You read my mind! The amaretti crunch is fantastic, a great idea! Merry Christmas!

  8. I couldn’t agree with you more and was quite surprised to see so much coverage given to this research! A balanced diet and lots of lovely exercise = delicious treats such as these fabulously festive brownies!

  9. O M G these brownies are going straight on my ‘to bake’ list. Brownies with raspberries are lovely, but the Amaretti biscuits are a lovely touch.

    Have a lovely Christmas x

  10. Those brownies really do look dark, gooey and gorgeous!! I may well have to indulge…in moderation of course!! ;-) I agree that you can’t beat homemade! Happy Christmas!

  11. I totally agree with you; I think moderation is key and I’d much rather eat something slightly more unhealthy but made with proper ingredients than something full of fake rubbish. I can’t wait to try this brownie recipe as I know how much you like it, your additions sound just wonderful too.

  12. Laura -

    Encouraging cooking from scratch can only be a good thing. Yes, some of these chefs like their olive oil and butter a bit too much, but it’s all about moderation and common sense. Sometimes I run out of will power though and I think if a batch of these was placed in front of me that would be one of those occasions. They have a raspberry and amaretto brownie at the Jamie’s Italian restaurants that I’ve been too full to order both times I’ve been. I think your recipe with some amaretto splashed in would certainly make up for that.

  13. Great recipe post and lots of interesting comments.
    I run a cafe/restaurant and try to see all the arguments in a balanced way. For sure, everyone should have the basic capacity to understand that by eating a completely unbalanced diet, the risks to ongoing health are pretty obvious. The mirror will tell you a lot and really doesn’t lie (unlike some studies and statistics).
    However, recent UK stats about obesity, do portray a worrying picture. If Joe Public can’t be bothered to look after themselves, they can hardly get their proverbials in a twist, when politicians step in and let’s be honest, that’s the last thing any of us needs. The poor health/Health Services/tax burden arguments have all been made and it’s now down to all of us to accept responsibility for our own dietary needs, even in a world of austerity.
    At its’ simplest, the delicious Brownie recipe here, suggests that eating foods such as this on a regular basis, isn’t going to be smart for your health. But in moderation, along with other sensible foods (fresh fruit, veg, etc) it will contribute to a wonderful life of taste sensations.
    It doesn’t need to be rocket science or a stick with which politicians/scientists can beat us, but we do have to be serious about eating in a grown-up way. McDonalds, Burger King, et alia, do provide a lot of jobs and taxes, but there are plenty of small independent, excellent, healthier eating establishments out there, who could take up the slack if folks don’t populate the chains quite so often and that, combined with some good old home cooking, will go a long way in sorting out our bad eating habits.

    • Frugal Feeding – cooking at home is SO much better. And turning on a microwave isn’t cooking.

      Lisa – aw, thank you!

      Jo Blogs – if you can’t have a little of what you fancy at Christmas, when can you? :-)

      The Single Gourmet – I LOVE how the raspberries go all jammy and soften the batter around them, sooo good.

      Laura – hear hear.

      Becs – it may have been my third…

      Kitty – thanks for such a long and passionate comment – let’s here it for food blogs! :-)

      Paula – great minds think alike :-)

      Kate – exactly :-)

      Claire – the amaretti crunch really makes these brownies, love them.

      Laura – they’re wonderfully gooey. Enjoy!

      Kathryn – it’s a very gooey, fudgey brownie which is what I love. Hope you like it!

      Laura – I’ve heard about the Jamie brownie but never tried it – will have to pop down there soon if I can bear the queues!

      Colin – I totally get that some people need to moderate their intake of unhealthy food, and many to the point that they shouldn’t be eating anything like this. But I do also believe that a balance can be struck – I’m a healthy weight and eat well but still manage to enjoy baking. It’s all about balance, moderation but above all understanding all the options that we are presented with.

      • Summed up nicely. It’s simply food common sense and for those that don’t have some food related medical condition, there really is no excuse for persistently eating in a dietary suicidal fashion.

  14. Politics and health promotion aside, these look absolutely delicious. I’ve tried many variations of brownies but I’ve never added some crunch in the form of amaretti biscuits… genius!! Will definitely be trying them.

  15. Pingback: week 8 of the 52-week bread challenge: easy wholemeal pittas | weekendsareforpancakes

  16. The cake looks nice :)
    Thanks for the recipe…

  17. Anji -

    in the oven now, ty for recipe, smell amazing!!

  18. Sarah Greaves-Milner -

    Made these for the first time this week and am really impressed. So easy and simple and they taste delicious. These are likely to become a firm favourite recipe!

    • thelittleloaf -

      Ah, I’m so pleased you liked them!

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