Balsamic Chipotle Roasted Strawberry Brownies

The first day of market is always an exciting one–for the first time in months I get to see and hug all the folks I’ve missed over the winter, the entire neighborhood (and/or city) comes out carrying reusable bags to store their haul in, and everyone, yup, everyone, is happy and friendly and willing to chat about the weather or the asparagus or the local politics. It’s a good day.

Last weekend marked the first day of Grandin’s farmers market and while we all miss certain folks who are no longer living here or selling here, it was a wonderful morning to get out and get some good local food. G & I brought home chicken eggs, duck eggs (be still my heart, yes), asparagus, radishes, chives, and, most importantly, strawberries–the first local Virginia strawberries of the season (these awesome solar ones from NC don’t count quite yet).

The question, though, is always what to do with such a thing as your first pint of springtime strawberries. Do I just eat them plain (which, by the way, they were amazing), do I make jam, do I make a pie, a compote, a sauce? In the end, I decided to bake with them–but not the usual pie or muffin. Inspired by White on Rice’s roasted strawberries, I thought I’d take a chance on the oven, see what would happen if I combined two of my favorite loves–chocolate & strawberries.

Worth it? By god yes. Like Todd & Diane’s recipe, I cleaned, sliced, and roasted the strawberries in the oven with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt, but added a pinch of dried chipotle for an extra spicy kick. I then whipped up a batch of cocoa brownies inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Best Cocoa Brownies–but gluten-free and vegan to boot. What resulted was a super rich, fudgey, dark chocolate brownie with a sweet tang-spice bite of strawberry–the perfect way to toast Spring in all her glory.

So thank you Paul, of Thistle Dew Farms, for your sweet and tart strawberries, and thank you bloggers for your constant inspiration. Spring is all about renewal and having fun and I’d like to think these brownies embody the most delicious elements of both. To Spring!

Balsamic Chipotle Roasted Strawberry Brownies

Inspired & Adapted from White on Rice and Smitten Kitchen

1 pint strawberries
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp dried chipotle powder
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

10 tbsp Earth Balance
1 1/4 c sugar
3/4 c + 2 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 flax eggs a’ la Bonzai Aphrodite
1/4 c white rice flour
1/8 c potato starch
1/8 c sorghum flour
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1/4 tsp guar gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rinse strawberries, hull, and slice in half (to equal sizes–large ones might need to be quartered). In a mixing bowl, combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, chipotle powder, olive oil, and salt. Toss to cover the strawberries completely.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Transfer strawberries to tray and make a single layer of berries. Bake for 30-40 minutes until juices begin to thicken. Cool and transfer to a bowl for later.

After the strawberries have roasted, begin to make the brownies.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray an 8×8″ baking dish with vegetable or olive oil. Set aside.

Combine the Earth Balance, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It will look gritty but will smooth out once flour and flax eggs are added.

Stir in the vanilla and flax eggs. Add the flours, xanthum gum, and guar gum and mix with a spoon until smooth. If the mixture remains gritty, add hot water a few tablespoons at a time, stir, and add more till smooth. (I added about 1/4 c of hot water during the stirring process until the batter was viscous and smooth.)

Spread evenly in the prepared 8×8″ dish and press the roasted strawberries into the top of the batter. Bake 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick emerges slightly moist with batter and the sides of the brownies are pulling away from the edges of the dish.

Let cool 10-15 minutes to set and store in the fridge after cutting.

Makes 16-25 brownies depending on how you cut them.

8 Responses to “Balsamic Chipotle Roasted Strawberry Brownies”
  1. T says:

    WOAH. These sound epic.

  2. Caitlin says:

    these brownies look delicious! i’ve heard of balsamic strawberry pie before, but brownies?! definitely on my “to make list” now!

  3. adriennefriend says:


  4. Barbara says:

    OMG, these look amazing, Jes. I never would have thought of such a combo in a brownie. And I must say, it sounds like you have one of the nicest markets anywhere!

  5. What an inspired idea. I can imagine how that intense flavor, concentrated by roasting and then heightened with a nice hit of acid would do wonders on any dessert. We’re still a long way away from getting local strawberries, but I know what I want to do with them first!

  6. These sound incredible! I have lately been obsessed with the flavor combination of balsamic and strawberries- I love the idea of adding them into brownies! My mouth is watering!

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