In this house, brownies are usually saved for a special occasion. We make them for holidays, and they usually take the place of cake for birthdays. Of course, since we make them for most special occasions, I have a lot of practice in making really good brownies.
So, why not kick things up a notch?
For this recipe, I was inspired by something our local tea shop offers, an Andes Mint Brownie. They’re brownies topped with a layer of mint frosting and crumbled Andes candy. I didn’t want to just make a replica (though I might in the future; stay tuned) so I decided to look around at other flavor options.
A while back, I bought some freeze-dried strawberries to use in a strawberry cookie recipe. Unfortunately, I never got around to actually making that recipe, so the strawberries languished, unused, on a shelf. Bingo!
My favorite brownies are dark chocolate, with chocolate chips or chunks baked in. I took my favorite recipe for those, and added on two whole layers of decadent goodies.
The middle layer is a creamy, flavorful strawberry cream frosting. Using freeze-dried strawberries is definitely the way to go, here. Fresh berries would impart too much liquid (same with frozen) and would be a lot harder to form into a flavorful frosting. Freeze-dried berries worked perfectly.
The top layer is a thin, tasty layer of ganache. It’s not hard like pure chocolate, but more solid than a syrup would be. It’s simple, easy, and you can layer it on as thick or as thin as you want.
For both the brownies and the ganache, I use a makeshift double boiler with a sauce pan and my mixing bowls. It’s not necessary — you can just microwave your chocolate to melt it, stirring every 15-20 seconds — but I like having more direct control over the heat. Either way works fine!
If you want to jazz up this recipe, I had a couple of ideas. In particular, you can thinly slice a bunch of fresh strawberries and layer them between the brownie and the frosting, for that extra kick of fresh fruit. You can also leave off the ganache and top with diced bits of strawberry instead. The world is your oyster, so make the dessert of your dreams!
One word of warning: this dessert is insanely rich. I cut myself a slice the same as I would with any brownie, and I could only finish half of it. There’s a lot of sugar going on here, so plan accordingly.
Chocolate Strawberry Brownies
- 9×9" Glass Baking Dish
- Mixing Bowls
- Large Sauce Pan
- Rubber Spatulas
- Food Processor
For the Brownies
- 1 Cup Flour
- ¾ Cup Unsalted Butter Cubed
- ½ Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
- ½ Cup Cocoa Powder
- ¾ Cup White Sugar
- ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
- 3 Eggs 2 whole + 1 yolk.
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- ¾ Cup Miniature Chocolate Chips
For the Strawberry Cream
- 1 Cup Freeze-Dried Strawberries
- ¾ Cup Unsalted Butter Softened
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 3 Tbsp Heavy Cream
For the Ganache
- 4 Oz Chocolate Chips
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
Make the Brownies
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line your baking pan with parchment paper.
- Heat some water in a sauce pan. In a mixing bowl on top of the pan, melt together the butter and non-mini chocolate chips. Note: You can do this in a microwave, just run it for 20 seconds at a time and stir to mix in between, until fully melted.
- Mix the cocoa powder into your chocolate mixture.
- Mix in the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt, stirring to combine fully.
- Mix in the flour and, again, fully combine.
- Stir in the mini chocolate chips, then spread the batter evenly in your baking pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. While cooling, make your cream and ganache.
Make the Strawberry Cream
- In a food processor, pulse the freeze-dried strawberries until they become more or less a powder.
- In a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
- Mix in the powdered sugar and pinch of salt, mixing until combined.
- Stir in the strawberry powder and fully combine.
- On a low speed, add in heavy cream a tablespoon at a time, until your frosting becomes smooth and spreadable.
- Spread your frosting over the now-cooled brownies.
Make the Ganache
- Using the same double-boiler or microwave method above, melt the chocolate and heavy cream together. Stir until smooth and creamy.
- Spread ganache over top of the strawberry cream.
- Allow to cool and firm up before cutting and serving. Enjoy!