I'm about to do something that I chide my friends and family for all the time. I'm going to mention Christmas before we've even reached the holiday milestones of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Why? Because my recipe for Cherry Fudge Brownies, which I actually developed during the peak of cherry season back in August, reminds me of Christmas.
You see, every Christmas, my father would receive at least one box of chocolate-covered cherries (i.e. cherry cordials)... if not from one of his children (*grin*), then definitely from Santa. He'd always to offer to share them with the rest of the family, but I found them too sweet and would either not-so-politely decline (I was a kid, give me a break!) or pretend to eat one. I'd pass the cherry off to my brother while my father wasn't looking...
It wasn't the combination of chocolate-and-cherry that I had a problem with. It was the instant cavity I got after eating one. And, wouldn't you know it? In the middle of one of worst heat waves of the summer, I had a craving for something made with chocolate and cherries. Inspired by the bag of fresh cherries I picked up from the neighborhood fruit stand and by the container of Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Cocoa Powder I had in my cabinet, I made my kitchen even hotter by preheating the oven so I could bake brownies.
Don't those cherries look absolutely luscious sitting on top of that smooth and creamy brownie batter? (Note to self: If you ever have a chocolate fondue party, make sure fresh cherries are available for dipping!) Let me tell you... Standing in the heat was SO worth it!
The rich and chocolaty brownie married perfectly with the slight tartness of the cherries, and before I knew it, I had eaten three of these brownies within an hour of taking them out of the oven. (Oops?)
If fresh cherries aren't available, you can use frozen cherries (thawed, of course) or even dried cherries for a more intense flavor. Who knows...? Maybe my father will find a batch of these waiting for him under the Christmas tree this year instead of a box of chocolate-covered cherries.
Cherry Fudge Brownies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with the unsalted butter.
- In a large microwavable bowl, melt the remaining butter.
- Add the cocoa powder to the melted butter and stir until well combined.
- Add the granulated sugar. Mix well.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
- Stir in vanilla, flour, salt. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Fold the cherries gently into the batter.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.
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