Earlier this week, I touched on some pretty heavy topics. And while some of those topics might come up again in the future (they certainly aren’t issues that are going away anytime soon AND I think it important to maintain an open dialog), today we’re going to keep things light and cheery. Because above all else, this is a food blog. And I think it’s important to honor that.
So let’s turn all of our attentions to these beautiful Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies with Raspberries.
When I decided to make this recipe, I was all like “I got this. I’m just going to whip these babies up in no time. Easy peasy.” But boy, was I wrong.
The first batch of brownies I made was so terrible that I had to THROW AWAY THE ENTIRE PAN! Like, completely in-edible. I honestly don’t know what happened. I mean, how badly can a person mess up peanut butter and chocolate that it’s so gross it becomes trash? I don’t know. I made them at 6:00 am, so I’m wondering if in my sleepy haze I completely forgot a major ingredient or something. I never really figured it out.
The second batch was good (and edible), but not great. The texture was a bit odd and I overcooked them slightly (note: those are actually the ones in the photos, so yours will probably look a little less dry when baked). But by the third time, I nailed it. I brought them to the brewery and all my friends gobbled them right up. And I even received a marriage proposal as a result of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies with Raspberries. Are you impressed yet?
Spoiler alert: I’m still happily single.
So here are a couple things that I learned during this process. First, I got much better results when I used a big brand name peanut butter (like Skippy or Jiff). The brownies I made with my natural peanut butter didn’t have the smooth texture I was ultimately looking for. If the idea of those big brands really turns you off and you want to use your favorite natural/organic brand of peanut butter, go right ahead. But please be aware that you’ll likely have to add in a little more salt and sugar to make up for the fact that those natural/organic brands usually contain less to start with. The second thing I noticed is that the temperature of the two layers is related to how “pretty” your swirls will come out. The brownie batter should be warm already (since it gets started on the stovetop). But if your house/kitchen is cold, you might want to microwave the peanut butter layer for a few seconds to help loosen it up.
The raspberries were a last minute addition, because it’s almost Valentine’s Day and I wanted to throw in a little bit of pink flare. If you’re one of those individuals that isn’t down with fruit in your brownies, then just skip them. You might not get a marriage proposal, but I can guarantee they will still taste amazing.
Recipe adapted from my Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
So…am I being a total jerk for posting a cake recipe during the second week of January?
If I am, you guys can totally tell me. Be honest.
Well…maybe not too honest. I don’t want my feelings to get hurt.
But here’s the thing: I like cake. I like baking it. I like sharing it with friends. And I like eating it. So I’m going to continue to do those things. Maybe with a little less frequency than I was doing in December. But I’m not going to abandon desserts altogether. Deprivation doesn’t jive well with me. Someone always ends up getting hurt in the end.
And this Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel is just barely crossing the threshold into the “dessert” category. The cake itself isn’t too terribly sweet. In fact, I’d say it’s definitely leaning more on the cornbread side of the equation than on the cake side of the equation. And if you skip the glaze, it would totally be acceptable to enjoy a slice (or two!) at breakfast or brunch. No one would judge you.
The fennel seeds were a last minute addition, spurred by the all mighty Google machine. When I was researching recipes, I found several sweet cornmeal cake recipes (usually Italian or Brazilian in origin) that used them. And that sounded like a pretty good idea to me. So I gave it a go. And holy moly, it might just be my favorite part of this recipe. So whatever you do, definitely don’t skip the fennel seeds!
I’m sharing this Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel as part of our monthly seasonal eating round-up organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. At the start of each month, Becky posts a guide outlining which fruits and vegetables are currently at their peak, along with recipe suggestions for how to use them. You can find her January produce guide here. And then myself and a few other bloggers make new recipes to further highlight those ingredients. Check out the links below to see what everyone has created for the month of January. And follow along with the hashtag #eatseasonal on social media to see even more inspiring seasonal recipes!
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
January Eat Seasonal Recipes
Healthy Tangerine Julius Smoothie by Letty’s Kitchen
Leek and Turnip Soup by Vintage Mixer
Apple Almond Bircher Meusli with Winter Fruits by Simple Bites
Saucy Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Curry and Mint by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Squash Boats by She Likes Food
Peanut Butter Crusted Sweet Potato Fries by JoyFoodSunshine
Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad with Harissa Vinaigrette by Project Domestication
Winter Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Cranberry-Mustard Sauce by Cafe Johnsonia
Meyer Lemon Coconut Panna Cotta by Kitchen Confidante
Maple Orange Teriyaki Salmon Bowls by Flavor the Moments