Brontë at Home

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Several thoughts went through my mind as I first picked up this book.  I loved the look of the enticing blueberry cake on the cover, loved the gorgeous photos inside, and each recipe sounded better and better as I flipped through the pages.  But what spoke to me was in the introduction, where author Brontë Aurell got my attention with the first sentence.  She writes of the connection between food and memory, and how memories are hidden inside tastes and smells, allowing one to be instantly transported back to a moment in time where even people now long gone are still there.  I feel that way each time I make recipes from my grandmother and mother, or the favorites of two of my brothers who both passed away within this last year.  I felt an instant connection with the author’s words and just knew I would love her recipes.

I was in the car with my daughter Kristina after buying the book and excitedly was telling her what I found.  She asked me to read her some of the recipes as she drove and we couldn’t decide what we should make first.  We were both thrilled to find that many of the recipes were similar to those of our Finnish relatives, with the use of berries, cardamom, rye flour, and more.  There are recipes for cookies and small treats, cakes and pies, breads, buns, waffles, and “fancy fika” such as Liquorice and Blackberry Pavlova; Danish Kringle; Swedish Princess Cake; Swedish Sticky Cake; and Almond Ring Cake.

The chapter called “All the Buns” include Cinnamon Share Buns; Apple and Cinnamon Buns; Semlor Buns (filled with marzipan paste and cream); Tosca Buns; Rhubarb Buns; Blueberry Buns; Marzipan Choux Buns; Norwegian Cream Buns; Gingerbread Buns; and Chocolate Buns (with a Nutella filling).

While I will be making many of the recipes in the future, I decided to begin with something chocolate.  I found the “Rye and Raspberry Brownies” to be the perfect choice as I liked the use of rye flour instead of all-purpose flour, fresh raspberries, and three kinds of chocolate.  The rye flour gives them a lovely nutty undertone.

The raspberries are divided, some in the batter and the rest pressed on top.

The brownies are luscious and so chocolatey, which means they need to be completely cooled before cutting.  The raspberries add beauty and sweetness.

All of the recipes are written with both Metric and American measurements, so you have a choice to weigh or measure the ingredients.  I went the measuring route and the brownies were wonderful, but I know many bakers prefer weighing ingredients.  All I know for sure is that if you love to bake, you will love this cookbook.

Rye and Raspberry Brownies
Cuisine: Scandinavian
  • 250 g/ 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 100 g/ 3-1/2 ounces dark/bittersweet chocolate
  • 100 g/ 3-1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 275 g/ 1-1/2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 75g/ ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon dark rye flour
  • 50g/ ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • 150g/ 5-1/2 ounces fresh raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (180 C.) Grease and line a baking pan 11-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper. (28-by-20 cm pan); set aside.
  2. Melt the butter with the dark and semisweet chocolate in top of a double boiler over simmering water, or can be melted in a microwave until just melted. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk together the granulated sugar and eggs using a large whisk in a large mixing bowl. Don't over whisk. Stir in cooled melted chocolate and butter until blended.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and vanilla sugar into the bowl with the sugar and chocolate mixture and fold in until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract if you use it instead of vanilla sugar. Take care not to overwork the mixture. Fold in half of the raspberries and pour into prepared baking pan. Add the rest of the raspberries evenly on top and press down lightly.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the side comes out clean. The middle can be a little gooey but it should not wobble when you shake the pan.
  6. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting. (Note: any leftovers can be covered and chilled in the refrigerator. They are good cold too!)


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