We are in the first days of spring but winter has not let go… quite yet. Just yesterday, the snow was falling and the roads were slick and I had a hankering for some dark, rich, chocolaty brownies.
It didn’t hurt that I had a huge block of organic 72% cacao dark chocolate from Endangered Species left over from a cooking demo I did for the magazine where I work. That was inspiration enough to get baking.
The resulting brownie is super rich and is studded with dried tart cherries that have been imbibed with a sour cherry cordial liqueur I had purchased in the Hudson Valley. American Fruits Distillery in Warwick, New York, produces a Bartlett pear, blackcurrant, aged apple and a grappa grape brandy, and an apple and pear eau de vie.
Not only are the cordials and brandies delicious, but the bottles are gorgeous and relatively inexpensive (about $15 for a 375 ml bottle). So they make great host or hostess gifts when you have been invited for dinner.
If you can’t get your hands on this liquid treasure to soak the cherries in, a good brandy or tawny port will work as well.
So enjoy these antioxidant-rich sweet treats (they get their antioxidant power from the dark chocolate, cocoa powder and sour cherries). You wouldn’t be telling a lie to say that they are actually good for, not only your state of mind, but your body and soul as well!
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Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownies
Makes about 12 brownies
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup cherry liqueur, tawny port or brandy
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Ghirardelli)
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (love Endangered Species 72% cacao)
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F and coat an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray.
- Simmer cherries in liqueur in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool 10 minutes.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt and reserve.
- Melt chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until smooth. Remove pan from heat and whisk in sugars until smooth. Whisk in eggs, one at time, until each one is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next one. Whisk in extract. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in cherries with any remaining juices and chocolate chips until just combined.
- Spoon mixture into prepared pan and bake in middle of oven until set and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with some crumbs clinging to it, about 45 minutes. Transfer brownies in pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges and invert onto a cooling rack. Invert right side up and cool completely before cutting into pieces. Store cooled brownies in an airtight container at cool room temperature. They will only get fudgier the next day if they last….
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