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Chewy Cherry Brownies

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Chewy Cherry Brownies

Chewy Cherry Brownies

Time: approximately 1 hour; 20-25 minutes prep; 30-35 minutes to bake

Serves: approximately 30 2 x 2 inch squares

Inspired by: My friend Jeanette makes the most amazing brownies. She never gives out her recipe – smart girl! I am making desserts for my New Years Eve party and wanted to try one new dessert. It’s funny to realize that I’ve never made brownies. As I thought about what I’d like in a brownie, chewy and cherries came to mind (I love both) so I decided to at least attempt something like that. If you are a brownie “purist” I’m sure you’ll want to skip the cherries. I took the core of an old recipe on the Sunset magazine website for chewy brownies and then added my own twists — dried tart cherries and orange zest. I have no idea if the orange zest did anything at all since the other flavors are so strong/rich, but it sounded good to me when I saw an orange here in my kitchen. I might even try adding a bit more next time. I can’t believe how easy they were to make, but the jury is still out…. I wasn’t crazy about how “gooey” they came out initially. For me, chewy = great. Gooey = ?? I’m not sure about that yet. I did find, however, that they were awesome with a perfect consistency two days after making them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, broken into chunks (1/2 of an 8 oz Ghirardelli bar)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange zest (or whatever you get by grating the peel of one orange)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces (the other half of an 8 oz Ghirardelli bar broken into small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup dried and pitted cherries (I used Montmorency cherries that I found at Trader Joes)

Preparation:

  • In a small saucepan melt the butter and the unsweetened chocolate on medium to low heat.  Begin stirring once it is soft and remove from heat once it is melted.
  • In a large bowl, hand mix the eggs well.
  • Add the sugar, vanilla and orange zest; mix well.
  • Add the chocolate/butter mixture; mix well.
  • Add the flour and mix well (you can easily do all the mixing by hand).
  • Butter a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish and pour the brownie mixture into the dish.
  • Sprinkle the semi-sweet chocolate pieces and cherries over the top evenly and then push down and spread a bit so they are slightly covered with brownie mix.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
  • It should spring back a bit with a quick touch, but unlike a pie, an inserted knife will not come out clean – it should still be pretty gooey inside.
  • Let cool completely on a rack before cutting. Will stay fresh for a couple of days (normally I’d say in an air tight container but I left mine in pastry cups in the open air and they were even better two days later).

Notes: I originally used 3/4 cup of the cherries and the semi-sweet chocolate chips and a bit more chocolate in the initial mix and I think it was too much of both, so I already modified the recipe a bit. I might even skip adding the chocolate chips at the end next time and see how they are without. I need a lot more experimentation here – but wanted to keep these notes for next time I try this again!

Wine Suggestions: I would skip the wine – these are so rich, but I’ll add a few notes here. I often hear people say they like red wine and chocolate. I can see how this might work in some unique cases of overripe, almost sweet wines, but I prefer my wine to be a bit sweeter than my dessert. I think a late harvest zinfandel or a tawny port could be awesome with chocolate, and fortified fruity wines like Banyules and Ruby Ports typically have cocoa or chocolate in the nose, as well as other berry fruits like cherry and raspberry and are classic companions to chocolate.

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