This year I promised to make a couple of things for the July 4th get together, and one of those was brownies. I don't often bake much to the chagrin of my husband, but I love a really moist, rich, brownie. Made from scratch they couldn't be easier or more delicious. The first time I made brownies from scratch I was astounded by the simplicity. How did anyone ever convince us that we needed brownies from a box?!
I wanted to try something that felt a little like summer, and would be perfect for the Fourth of July. My mind went strait to the pint of fresh sweet cherries from Agriberry sitting on my counter. Now's the time for cherries. Cherries and chocolate go great together, and there's that whole thing with George Washington and the tree chopping so it seemed perfect way to honor the General himself.
For these brownies I used a basic brownie recipe, increased the amount of chocolate, added cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg, and added fresh pitted cherries to cover the top.
After the initial 35 minutes in the oven, and numerous rechecks followed with 10 more minutes, 10 more minutes... they were finally done. In end the end I wouldn't have changed a thing! The sweet cherry juices and the added bittersweet chocolate made for a wonderfully rich and moist brownie. They turned out to be so good. The downside here is that the cook time is not worked out perfectly as I lost track of just how many times I hit that 10 minute timer. So they'll require some extra attention after the first 40 minutes for your first try ! . Hopefully I'll bake more soon and report back. In the mean time, while the cherries are around here's what I did....
Double Chocolate Cherry Brownies with Cardamom and Ginger
What You'll need...
4 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips ( I used Ghirardelli)
1 Stick (8oz) butter + more for pan
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. course salt
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2/3 cup all purpose flower
1 cup sugar.
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Parchment Paper for baking dish
1. Prep: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Pit and halve/ quarter enough cherries to loosely cover the top of the brownies. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Butter the sides and the bottom of a 8X7 ceramic baking dish. Cover bottom of baking dish with a sheet of parchment paper long enough to hang a couple inches over the sides of the dish. Butter the top and sides of the parchment paper. ( This is a handy trick I learned from Martha Stewart.) Set aside.
2. Melt: To a sauce pan over low heat add the butter and the chocolate chips. Mix steadily until they are completely melted together and smooth. (This happens quickly, and you can remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring near the end of the process to keep the chocolate from burning.)
3. Mix: As soon as the chocolate and butter are melted, remove from heat and add all the rest of ingredients mixing in the dry ingredients, the vanilla, and the eggs just with a fork until fully combined.
4. Bake: Smooth out into your prepared baking dish. Place the pitted cherries cut side down across the top of the spread out brownie batter. Bake for about 1 hour, checking periodically after the first 40minutes.
Once a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the center looks fully set they are done. These brownies might try to trick you with a clean pick, but a center that is still too soft. The surface color and texture should be consistent across the top when they are done. Allow to cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pan. Lift edges of parchment to remove from pan. (**Note: This recipe is for fresh cherries not dried. If you try to use dried cherries they should reduce the required cook time, and should be mixed into the batter, not left on top.)
5: Enjoy! I plated mine, and covered the uncut batch with foil for Casey's house. An airtight container would be best, but I just ate the one remaining foil wrapped, refrigerated brownie with my lunch yesterday... six days later, and it was still super good!