Scratch Brownies

Some people will say that if you plan on growing raspberries, you should be prepared to have a fight on your hands once they have become established. That’s because the fruit-bearing plants of the Rubus family are very evasive and have a tendency to spread unless pruned vigorously.

But one of the smartest gardening moves that I’ve made over the years was to transplant raspberries into our yard. Not only are they delicious as a topping for a number of desserts and cereals such as oatmeal, raspberries make yummy jam.

That being said, they also are one of the most nutritional members of the berry family, being a rich source of vitamin C,  manganese and dietary fiber. Contents of B vitamins 1-3, folic acid, magnesium, copper and iron also are high in raspberries.

And raspberries also rank near the top of all fruits for antioxidant strength. Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which can damage cells and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Another of my favorite uses for raspberries is atop homemade brownies that are served with a little ice cream. It’s hard to beat a dessert such as this on a steamy summer day.

With that in mind, here is a recipe for some scratch brownies, which was adapted from  Ready for Dessert  by David Lebovitz, that probably would go well with some freshly picked raspberries and a little vanilla ice cream.

Scratch Brownies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup flour
1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the chocolate; stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined.
Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the flour; stir energetically 1 full minute (time yourself) until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. Stir in the nuts.
Scrape batter into a buttered 9-inch-square baking pan; bake until the center feels almost set, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool completely in the pan; cut into squares.
Yield: Serves 10.