Raspberry-Truffle Brownie Bars

For the cocoa shortbread crust
1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk

For the raspberry brownie filling
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 ounces premium semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/4 ounces premium unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
4 1/2 Tbsp Chambord or other premium raspberry liqueur
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup seedless red raspberry jam

For the ganache
8 ounces premium semisweet chocolate finely chopped
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp light corn syrup

For the raspberry truffle glaze
Ganache (above)
1 tablespoon Chambord or other premium raspberry liqueur

Decoration (optional)
About 2 ounces premium milk chocolate, melted


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang around the top edge of the pan. Lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the crust

Combine the flour, superfine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a fork or your hands, work in the butter and egg yolk until the mixture is uniformly moistened but crumbly. (There should be no dry spots.) Press the dough into an even 1/4-inch layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake the crust 14 to 15 minutes, or until dull on top and slightly puffy but still soft. Do not overbake. Transfer to a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling

Combine the butter, semisweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Stir as needed until the chocolate and butter are just melted. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the superfine sugar, followed by the eggs, Chambord, and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, mixing just until smooth and shiny. (Do not overmix, or the batter may break.) Pour the batter on top of the crust and spread into an even layer with a small offset spatula.

Warm the jam in the microwave until it becomes liquidy. Spoon the jam evenly over the top. With a small offset spatula, spread it into a thin layer that completely covers the brownie filling.

Bake the brownies about 20 minutes. Do not overbake. When done, the brownies will be set through to the middle and slightly puffed around the edges. A cake tester inserted into the center will come out with very damp crumbs on it. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before glazing or storing. (The brownie will set further upon cooling.)

Make the raspberry truffle glaze

Begin the ganache by placing the chopped chocolate in a large bowl so it forms a shallow layer. Set aside.

Pour the cream into a medium (3-quart) nonreactive (stainless steel or coated) saucepan. Place over medium to medium-high heat and scald the cream. (That is, heat the cream to just below the boiling point. The cream will put off steam, but no bubbles should break on its surface.)

Immediately strain the hot cream through a fine-meshed sieve directly onto the chocolate. Let the mixture sit 1 to 2 minutes without stirring, and then gently whisk until the chocolate is entirely melted. (If the chocolate does not completely melt, set the bowl over barely simmering water in a double boiler and stir regularly until smooth. Do not overheat, or the ganache may break.) Stir in the corn syrup.

Stir in the Chambord at the end. Pour the ganache evenly over the brownie. Gently tilt or shake the pan so the ganache completely coats the top.

Decorate (optional)

For a marbled top, work quickly while the ganache is still fluid. Fill a parchment pastry cone with the melted milk chocolate. Pipe thin lines 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart across the ganache. Draw a toothpick (or cake tester) back and forth through the chocolate and ganache to create a marbled pattern.

Finish the dish

Set the pan in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the ganache is firm enough to cleanly cut. (Do not overchill or the brownies will harden.)

Remove the brownies from the pan in one block by gently pulling up on the foil overhang, and place directly on a cutting board. Remove all foil and trim any uneven edges before cutting the block into 1 3/4- to 2-inch squares. For the neatest cuts, slice the bars while the ganache is firm and wipe the knife clean with a warm, damp cloth between slices. Serve at room temperature.

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