The Swirl Makes All the Difference: Raspberry White Chocolate Brownies

Last year I made Sarah Kieffer's White Chocolate Brownies from 100 Cookies and was underwhelmed. But I was optimistic that one of Kieffer's variations on the recipe with an added component might be more up my alley. One variation in the cookbook incorporates a raspberry swirl made from freeze-dried strawberries and condensed milk, and it was on my to-bake list. But then I ran across a different raspberry variation on Kieffer's blog. Her Raspberry White Chocolate Brownies include include a swirl made from freeze-dried raspberries, cream cheese, sugar, flour, and an egg. It was initially the photo of the pink-topped brownies that drew me in, but as I thought about the swirl, the cream cheese version on the blog seemed like it would be more substantial than the condensed milk version in the cookbook. So I decided to try the former.
The previous time I made the white chocolate brownies, I used Callebaut Gold caramelized white chocolate. I recently came across an unopened 2.5kg bag of Callebaut Velvet white chocolate callets that I had forgotten about, so I used regular white chocolate this time around. Kieffer's base white chocolate brownie recipe on her blog is identical to the one in her cookbook. You whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla; add a melted mixture of white chocolate and butter; and stir in flour, salt, and baking powder. 
You make the raspberry swirl by mixing together softened cream cheese, ground freeze-dried raspberries, sugar, flour, salt, and an egg. (The instructions reference adding vanilla as well, but since vanilla isn't included in the ingredient list, I didn't add any.) I didn't add any food coloring, but Kieffer suggests that a drop or two will help maintain a more vibrant color.
I poured two-thirds of the brownie mixture into a parchment-lined pan and then added the raspberry mixture and the remaining brownie batter in alternating dollops. The batter and the swirl were the exact same consistency, making it very easy to marble them together. I did what I would consider an average amount of marbling and my brownies looked nothing like the predominantly pink-topped bars pictured with the recipe. 

The baking time provided in the recipe is 28-34 minutes, but I often need to bake Kieffer's brownies longer than specified; I kept mine in the oven for 39 minutes. I cooled and chilled the brownies before cutting, and they sliced cleanly. I really liked the look of the cherry-colored swirl. And the creamy swirl had a beautiful, bright raspberry flavor that you could taste in every bite. These brownies were way better than the plain version, and I would make them again. 
The white chocolate in the batter gave the brownies a nice richness and a touch of creamy flavor. It reminded me a little of Marcel Desaulnier's White Chocolate Patty Cake, which is an extraordinary white chocolate cake layered with raspberry puree that I have not made in far too long. But these brownies are a testament to the power and versatility of freeze-dried fruit; the raspberry swirl gives the brownies a real glow up!
Recipe: "Raspberry White Chocolate Brownies" by Sarah Kieffer, available on The Vanilla Bean Blog

Previous Post: "Too Vanilla?: White Chocolate Brownies," November 21, 2020.