I seem to have been making rather a lot of chocolate brownies this summer, which is strange as I’m not supposed to be eating them on this diet (though one or two might have accidentally fallen into my mouth on occasion).
They were my contribution for the Food Bloggers Bake Sale and the Husband also requested some for his birthday, where I copied Nigella’s idea of piling the brownies up in lieu of a cake.
After extensive taste testing, I have found no better recipe than that for Chocolate and Sour Cherry Brownies from Unwrapped – Green & Black’s Chocolate Recipes which is a fabulous and much underrated cookbook. (I can’t get Nigella’s brownies to be anything other than dry and cake-y)
These brownies have just the right gooey interior and firm, crusty, satisfying edges, while the cherries impart an extra chewy dimension. And the sultry dark chocolate and sweet, tangy cherries are of course a match made in heaven.
It’s not surprising they’re so good, since the ingredients are insane. If you’re on any sort of diet, I suggest you walk away from the computer now and go get yourself a nice cup of cottage cheese.
300g (11oz) unsalted butter
300g (11oz) top quality dark chocolate
5 large eggs
450g (1lb) granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract/essence
200g (7oz) plain (all purpose) flour
1 tsp salt
250g (9oz) dried cherries*
Extra chocolate chips for topping if you’re greedy like me
*dried sour cherries are easily obtainable in the US but maybe not so easily in the UK, though I’ve definitely found them at Waitrose. However, I’ve successfully substituted dried cranberries and you could also use any other dried berries, nuts or just leave them out altogether.
Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Line a 34x25cm / 13x10in rectangular baking tin with baking parchment.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bain-marie or heatproof bowl suspended over barely simmering water.
Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy. Then beat the egg mixture into the melted chocolate.
Sift the flour and salt together and stir into the mixture until smooth. Stir in the cherries.
Pour the liquid mixture into the baking tin and then bake for 25-35 minutes until the whole thing looks like a giant brownie with a slightly cracked surface. When you start to smell them, it means they’re almost done.
Try not to overcook the brownies. If they seem too squidgy after you’ve taken them out, it’s not a problem to put them back in the oven for a few more minutes. But if overcooked they get cake-y.
Just after you’ve brought the huge brownie out of the oven, sprinkle the whole thing with chocolate chips. They will partially melt in the heat and slightly embed themselves into the mixture but then cool back down into chocolate chips again, imparting an extra chocolatey crunch to the surface of the already perfectly textured brownie. I got the idea from the brownies served at Pret a Manger, and it’s well worth the extra calories.
Leave the giant brownie to cool for about 20 minutes before cutting into large squares in the pan.