Chasing Delicious | Blackberry & Mint Brownie Parfait
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Blackberry-mint-brownie-parfait

Blackberry & Mint Brownie Parfait

 

The faint sound of a stirring permeate the thin, dirty glass hanging mere inches from my weary body. Stacked pillows and raised blankets do little to keep my slumbering mind dancing in marvelous thoughts and dreams. My tired eyes open with little shock to darkness, the barely blue and gold morning light struggling to reach around the planet and into my room. I give up my fight for sleep, far too curious about the sounds pounding at my window. My feet kick about to shake and free myself from the layers of blankets I’ve carefully constructed throughout the night. Too late to catch the noisy culprits, the distant glitter of a sun-kissed tree line capture my attention.

With my tired eyes half closed, I struggle to pull  the nearest pair of jeans up over my legs as I hop about my room. I put yesterday’s shirt on backwards, then on correctly, and drag myself to my bedroom door, grabbing my camera as I pass by my desk. In a race to make it outside, to catch a time of day I rarely ever see, I skip my morning chores, hot cup of coffee, a bite or two of breakfast – not to mention the search for clean clothes – and dart out my backdoor. I close just the screen door to give my cats a change to enjoy the burgeoning morning as well.

Eager feet carry me through the tall St. Augustine and wild flowers that litter my backyard. I fight with the half-century-old gate, dodging low hanging poison oak as I leave my yard and enter the greenbelt. I am welcomed with taller grasses and more menacing wild flowers until I find the barely worn path lining a familiar creek residing feet from my home.

Open fully for the first time, my eyes peer out over the gullied landscape just as the morning sun begins to peak over the distant pines. I trek east towards a bend in the creek and witness bright gold light beginning to scrape the fog forming above the damp, dew-laden grass and slow-crawling creek. A few early risers leapfrog me on the worn dirt path as I lazily move about the blossoming Texas wild flowers dotting the sloped creek bed. I move down the shallow valley to escape the patter of running shoes and the polite hello’s and how-are-you’s of passing neighbors; the whir and gargle of rushing water falling over rocks now fill the air. I watch the flourishing morning and contemplate my own.

I pass around one bend and reach another when I remember the camera hanging off my right shoulder – I forgot about it in my frivolous wandering. I bring the eye piece up to my eye right eye and peer through the lens. My index finger and thumb finger away at the aperture and shutter speed dials, tweaking each until the light meter reads the way I want it to – having learned the quirks of my canon from two years of toting it around I know I need this shot two stops underexposed. I push my damp, grass-clinging Nikes into the soft soil slowly to avoid slipping as I take a couple steps up the slope, looking for that perfect spot. My eye is glued to the  camera the entire time as I watch the change in perspective and composition as I move about.

Finally happy where I am, I kneel down just slightly, unmoved by the banana spider sitting on her web to my right and the clicking, hissing bugs to my left. I wait until the sun peaks above a puffy cloud and depress the shutter. I pause – hesitating to pull my eye from the shot composed in my viewfinder – before I drop the camera from my eye. My eyes continue to enjoy the real thing, staring east as fog and mist dance around in the warming morning air, as the sun marauds upwards towards the bright blue heavens, as the once lonely, quiet greenbelt roars to life. I finally glance away and take a look at the screen, smirking in response to the image I’ve managed to capture.

On my way back, an hour or two later – moments I didn’t spend wondering about how much time I was wasting – as the sun sat higher in the sky and the gully lit up, I began to notice fruiting dewberry, strawberry and blackberry plants littering the valley – early fruiting a welcome perk of the unseasonably warm winter. I risk the thorns and hiding creatures to pick a few blackberries, popping most straight into my mouth. As I get closer to my home I begin to collect the berries in both hands, conjuring up thoughts of desserts. Back through my gate, ducking under the poison oak and past the growing grass and wild flowers, I approach my herb garden and notice a burgeoning, out of control, mint plant. I drop the berries in a near-by, unused clay planter and begin picking a few of the leafy branches from my Kentucky mint plant.

Inside I find my eyes staring intensely at the green and dark purples and blacks of my catches – my eyes stare while my mind flips through the recipe book stored deep inside my mind. Eager to try one of my favorite combinations – tart berries with fresh, bright mint – with something new, I decide to repurpose the brownies I baked the night before. With little hesitation I jump into the preparation, confident of the treat these three flavors will create.

If you haven’t noticed, I love pairing strong flavors together in desserts. Here, not only do blackberry and mint shine through in a deliciously pairing that plays with sweet, tart and minty flavors, but the rich chocolate of the brownies creates a wonderfully dark base for the dessert. With your first bite you will get the smooth, rich and chewy bite of scrumptious chocolate and the delicious sweet and tart pop of blackberry – all very normal at this point – and then suddenly the fresh, herby tones of mint and the smooth, creaminess of the mint-infused whipped cream come into play. Together these flavors and elements have created one of my all time favorite desserts.

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Blackberry & Mint Brownie Parfait

Difficulty: Easy

Tools:

6-8, 8 ounce tumblers
Bowl
Fork
Heavy-bottomed pot
Stand mixer with whisk attachment (or bowl and whisk)

Ingredients:

1 brownie recipe (below)

12 ounces blackberries
3 ounce sugar
2 tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6-10 mint stems with leaves
3 tablespoons sugar

Instructions:

1. Prepare the brownies according to the recipe and set them aside to cool completely.

2. Prepare the blackberry macerate by putting the blackberries, 3 ounces sugar, 2 tablespoons mint leaves, honey, vanilla extract and water in a bowl. Mix with a fork, mashing some of the blackberries, until everything is evenly distributed. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

3. Prepare the mint-infused whipped cream by placing the cream and the mint stems and leaves in a heavy-bottomed pot. Heat the mixture over medium heat just to the scalding stage – don’t let the cream come to a simmer or a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool at room temperature before placing in the fridge to chill completely.

4. Once ready to whip – making sure the cream is cold – strain the cream through a fine mesh sieve – saving the cream but discarding the mint. Place the cream in a bowl and whip at high speed. Once the mixture begins to thicken, slowly add the 3 tablespoons sugar and continue whipping until the mixture forms stiff peaks – this will take longer than whipping normal heavy whipping cream. Set aside.

5. To assemble the parfaits place a few brownie chunks in the bottom of a cup. Spoon the mint-infused whipping cream on top of the brownies and then spoon blackberry macerate onto of the whipped cream. Repeat these steps until the cup is filled to the top (I placed a couple large chunks of brownie and some fresh mint leaves on top for decoration).

Only assemble the parfait just before eating. Store the parts separately refrigerated for up to a couple days (you will have to rewhip the cream a bit if you let it sit longer than a few hours).

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While you can use any brownie recipe of your choosing, I suggest using a very fudgey, rich brownie recipe. I’ve used the recipe from my Fudgy Brownie Bites recipe. This time I baked the brownies in one sheet pan to make it easier to cut portions for the parfait.

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Fudgy Brownie Bites

Recipe adapted from a Brian Samuels – of  A Though for Food - recipe.

Difficulty: Easy

Tools:

9×11 pan
Heavy-bottomed pot
Glass or metal bowl
Wooden spoon

Ingredients:

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped
14 ounces sugar
3 1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder
4 ounces 70% cocoa chocolate bar, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, cold
3 3/4 ounces cake flour

Instructions:
1. Butter a 9×11 pan; preheat an oven to 325°F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
2.  Place the butter in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water (bain marie). When it begins to melt, add the sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate bar. Stir occasionally until the butter and chocolate have completely melted and mixture is completely mixed together–it may still appear a bit grainy.
3. Remove the bowl from the bain marie and allow the temperature of the mixture to cool slightly.
4. Add the vanilla and stir. Then add each egg, one at a time, mixing well after each to completely incorporate it.
5. Add the cake flour and mix until it is completely dispersed. Continue to mix for another minute to ensure the mixture is smooth. The batter will be very thick.
6. Pour batter into the pan and spread it out evenly if needed. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 22 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out covered in crumbs and a paste-like substance, but not a liquidy looking substance (it should stick to the toothpick and not run or fall off).
7. Allow the brownies to cool to room temperature.
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Enjoy!

AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Born and raised in Texas, Russell van Kraayenburg may sit you down for a stern lecture if you confuse barbecue with grilling. Creator of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, his work has been featured in Southern Living magazine and on such sites as Lifehacker, Fast Co. Design, Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, The Daily What, Quipsologies, Neatorama,Explore, and Fine Cooking.

71 Comments

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  • naomi

    Russell-I LOVE this! Listen to how wierd this is? I just adapted Brian’s brownie too?!

  • Maria

    What a lovely dessert!

  • Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef

    LOL I make Brian’s brownies without adaptation :) So good.

    I could stare into the view in the photo above by the hour. It’s mesmerizing.

    Love the parfait – a combination of all my favorites.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This is absolutely lovely. Awesome idea!

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Fabulous, my friend. Truly fabulous! Pairings you wouldn’t normally make, blackberry and mint, for example, are revelatory! Love every bit of this post.

  • dassana

    russell.he.. the second pic of the fog, sun in the valley is so beautiful and mesmerizing…

  • thelittleloaf

    Blackberries and chocolate is a killer combination but you definitely need that cool cream to counteract all the sugar and LOVE the addition of fresh mint. Like a chocolaty hedgerow! What an utterly gorgeous post.

  • Michelle

    Beautiful shots, and that dessert sounds grand too! It is hard to believe that there are blackberries already.

  • kitchenriffs

    Really nice landscape photo there (the food photos are good too, of course, but the landscape is special). And a pair of yummy recipes. I haven’t made a parfait in ages (at least 10 years). Maybe I should again? I think yes. Thanks for this.

  • Tesei

    Wow, congratulations, not only a gretat looking recipe but also lovely photos. I love your blog!

  • Suzi

    Beautiful landscape photo. I can envision strolling through the mist and peering up as the sun peeks through those clouds. So glad you remembered that you had your camera. The parfait looks killer.

  • Mary @ Bake Break

    Yum! These look perfect for summer – I can’t wait until berry season!

  • Karen | Citrus and Candy

    Oh. My. Word. I think my heart’s just stopped. I would so push over old ladies for a spoonful of that!

  • Cucina49

    I don’t know which is better, the writing in this post or the dessert itself. Both are pretty fabulous.

  • Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

    Did you make these for me? I absolutely adore blackberries. It’s one of the few food items my husband and I agree on. I cannot think of a better combination than blackberries and chocolate! Love the mint addition too. Beautiful!

  • RavieNomNoms

    Amazing photos all around as usual. The parfait is truly delicious. The pairing of the mint brownie and the blackberry is just so perfect!

  • Katie {Epicurean Mom}

    Whoaaaa!!! I need this right now!! What a perfect combination. Love love!

  • steph@stephsbitebybite

    Who would have ever thought that blackberry and mint would make one incredible brownie parfait! DELISH

  • Kathryn

    Such a great combination of flavours.

  • Sandy @ tinytinyfork

    Love the added freshness that mint and blackberry bring to such a decadent dessert like brownies! Great post.

  • Meki

    Dear Russell,

    The only thing I want right now is to be in your kitchen.

    :)

  • Katie

    I like your description of combining strong flavors together in desserts. The combination of blackberries and mint here sounds fantastic!

  • Jackie @ La Casa de Sweets

    In love with everything about this post!

  • Kiri W.

    Oh wow – this looks to die for! Very elegant presentation, and as always I am awed by your photography!

  • Lora

    What a gorgeous dessert and that landscape shot is absolutely stunning!

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Yummy! I almost drooled over just looking at those pretty photos :D

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Berries and chocolate are such a nice combination but your presentation is really what knocks it out of the park!

  • Kulsum at JourneyKitchen

    oh that place looks like heaven. And so does this combination.

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    This looks absolutely heavenly. I love the touch of blackberry and mint in this!

  • Cookin' Canuck

    Those hours right before and after the sun rises are magical, particularly in a gorgeous spot like that. Beautiful photos, Russell! And that brownie parfait…wow!

  • Georgie

    Woah! Everything is perfect.. the recipe, the story and the photo’s!

  • Amy at Gastronome Tart

    Love the new look of the blog Russell! And I absolutely love these parfaits. Super delicious looking!

  • christina @ ovenadventures

    i can’t wait until blackberry season arrives. this is a perfect summer dessert. the picture of the landscape is breathtaking.

  • Kankana

    Every time I read your post .. i feel like I am with you! I could feel the cold grass .. the quietness and then of course the sun ray! As for that brownies .. YUMMY. I love pairing berries with mint :)

  • Denise

    This is gorgeous and looks like a dessert I just wanna dive right into. I’ll skip the mint though (sorry: I hate after eights, says enough right?!) but I just know it will me delicious without that as well. The combination of blackberry and brownie, even thinking about it gets me drooling;)

  • Geraldine Saucier

    MMM how delicious:) I love the delicious combinations -blackberries, mint, and brownies. I also like the fact it is easy to prepare. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for the great post.

  • sarah

    Just gorgeous… and I’m so jealous of those blackberries! We’re months away from them here but I’ll be tucking this recipe away until then.

  • Sara{OneTribeGourmet}

    Yum, gorgeous recipe and I’m drooling! Thank you for visiting my blog and your sweet comment! x

  • mjauQi

    Awesome idea!

    Wellcome on my food blog!

  • Rikki

    oh MY gosh! This is pure genius. I don’t think there could be a more perfect combination than this. I have some left over mint in my fridge and I am running to the store for some blackberries asap! It looks so delicious Russell, and what a beautiful landscape, it’s certainly beautiful where you live. [:

  • Denise

    The misty morning picture is just so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing! And your way of sharing the experience was very poetic. Love it and would love to see more photos. Plus you got the added bonus of blackeberries for dessert..yum! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jay @ LocalFood.me

    I love the pairing of that landscape with the parfait. It’s as if they are perfect complements, or are holding an enduring conversation.

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    I think I have fallen in LOVE, in love with your beautiful scenic/ sun set shot.. and of course how could I miss this parfait. My sweet tooth is something I cannot give up on..LOVE LOVE LOVE blackberries paired with choco brownie.. CONGRATS on TOP 9 too!! Ahh… can I say I am feeling a sense of calmness right now by just staring straight into your beautiful photos. cheers~Jo

  • The Café Sucré Farine

    Lovely post! And very lovely dessert! What a delicious combination and your photos are wonderful! That early morning shot is absolutely stunning, wow!

  • Kelly

    Ohh these look fantastic and I LOVE your photos! Congratulations on your Saveur best dessert blog nomination, well-deserved!!! :)

  • Kristen

    Seriously stunning – both words and photos. Congrats on the Saveur award! I voted!!

  • Eliot

    That is an unbelievably beautiful picture!

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)

    That lanscape photo is absolutely stunning, I love the view of the sun rising over the mountains, just amazing. And your blackberry mint and brownie parfiat looks amazing too. I would never have through to pair these flavours together, delicious!

  • Mandy

    What an awesome morning for you! I enjoyed my coffee as I read about your morning…what a great way to start the day and to have a beautiful dessert that night to feast on.

  • Claudia

    And I love strong flavors in desserts as well. Oh how this welcomes me home. I think I would get up too early for that view – stunning photo of a time of day when all things are possible.

  • BigFatBaker

    Wow. This sounds amazing, and your photos are gorgeous. I am so proud of you for being able to get up early enough to see such a sight..that doesn’t happen too often for me anymore! I need to try this combo asap, it looks too good to pass up!

  • Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake

    Amazing! I never would have thought of this combination for a dessert, but it works! I would love to try it, and the flvors going on here sound delicious!

  • Ira Rodrigues

    Congratulation on being one of the nomination award on SAVEUR. off to vote :)

  • Reem | Simply Reem

    Gorgeous!!!
    I am so jealous right now my friend… Even if I get up at the right time then too there is no way I can see this beauty anywhere near me where I live… But I have to admit still seeing the sun gently kissing the earth good morning is a beauty even from my backyard…
    What a luscious parfait, I have to admit Russell I am not a big fan of it but this delicious baby will convert me for sure….
    Congrats on being nominated… I voted for you my friend…. All the best!!

  • Liz

    What a gorgeous photo…your own little paradise! And I love these yummy parfaits…the combination of blackberries and brownies must be as delicious as it is beautiful!

  • Sydney Jones

    These look absolutely lovely, Russel :) Congratulations on your nomination on Saveur, very well deserved indeed!! Am always in awe of your work, please do keep inspiring me (us)
    Happy Easter!!

  • Yudith @ Blissfully Delicious

    I can always use another brownie recipe! Beautiful pictures Russell! Have a great Easter!

  • Tiffany

    There’s nothing not to love about this parfait (especially the blackberry-mint combo!)

  • Baker Street

    Your pictures are drool inducing! Love this concoction of berries, chocolate and mint!

  • Lacy @ NYCityEats

    Seriously, do you live in heaven?? It sure looks and sounds like it! That picture is amazing and I would love to be able to pick delicious berries on the way to my apartment. Ha! Just imagining this story taking place in Brooklyn is too impossible to not laugh at!

    You did an amazing job with this dessert. The blackberries are gorgeous and what’s better than homemade whipped cream, not much in my book! Wonderful writing and photos as usual. :)

  • raquel@eRecipe.com

    This is my first time on your blog, and I love the photos =)

  • Kita

    Russell – all food aside – that is an amazing shot! The colors are outstanding and the scene is beautiful. It makes me want to be in the mountains again and soon. Im sure those parfaits are amazing but that one picture was it as far as this post goes for me. Amazing.

  • Thanh @ eat, little bird

    Oh I love the sound of the Blackberry & Mint Brownie Parfait! What an elegant dessert and a different way to serve brownies. Loving your website!

  • Jenny (vintagesugarcube)

    Wowzers dude! I have never seen a sexier parfait ever! You’ll pics are sooo drool worthy.

  • bhavani

    A very smart idea! Mint and chocolate is a classic favourite of mine – and the addition of blackberries…even better! Thanks for sharing!

  • ce

    This is such an awesome parfait! Probably try it tonight. Thank you

  • Gourmet Creations

    DELICIOUS!

  • Marah

    Wonderful recipe cannot wait to try it. Absolutely enjoyed the story. The photo is extraordinary! Note to the photographer – did you notice the wolf in the clouds? A very special photo this is.

  • Randy Viehmeyer

    I think will be ruining my diet in just a bit.

  • clic aqui

    Hello, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this blig post.
    It wass practical. Keep on posting!

  • Zee a

    Did anyone else have issue making the cream? I used heavy whipping cream , put the mint in let it get warmed up as directed let it cool and when I went to whip it with my kitchen aid stand mixer the cream just didn’t form. Not sure what I did wrong. Any help?

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