1. It’s a fast treat to make when you are having people over/stopping by or when you are visiting some folks. This time, I’m visiting a family who just welcomed another addition to their home. I’ve already given my gifts, but I can’t very well arrive empty-handed.
2. Brownie mixes are just as good as the “made from scratch” version, especially if you doctor up the recipe a bit. It’s very easy and actually very malleable for different flavors. I’ve tried a mocha brownie mix, thanks to the Food Network, the low-fat version inspired by a Richard Simmon’s cookbook from the late 90’s, and now I’m doing a little improvising of my own.
Raspberry swirl! I can’t recall where I first heard about the jam for swirl trick — probably on the internet somewhere. Generally, I followed the recipe on the Brownie Mix box and use the “cakey” variation. This calls for 3 eggs instead of 2.
Before I spread the batter into the pan, I add about 1/2 a bag (1 cup) of semi-sweet chocolate chips and gently mix it in. After putting the batter in a pan (13 x 8 or 9×9), it’s time to add the little swirl. I used about 1/2 cup of raspberry jam (not my grandma’s jam — it’s too good to bake with, I have to savor it on a simple piece of toast or with plain yogurt) and added about 1 or 2 tablespoons of boiling or near boiling water. This helped to thin the jam, and I assumed the excess water could easily evaporate in the baking.
Then I dropped about 5 or 6 spoonfuls of jam evenly throughout the pan and took a knife to swirl it all around. I only let the knife go halfway through the batter, thinking that might help the jam stay on top. I didn’t want there to be faint hint of raspberry in the chocolate, I wanted to have 2 distinct flavors — chocolate + raspberry. And, Voila!