Chocolate Cherry Brownies Recipe

Dense, gooey chocolate brownies packed with boozy, port-soaked dried cherries. Made with Muscovado sugar, chocolate chunks, and crème fraiche.

Chocolate Cherry Brownies

I've been going back and forth about what to call these. Brownies that have the texture of a fallen chocolate souffle cake. Dense, ooey-gooey chocolate-y on the inside, well-set around the edges - you know the cakes. I thought I'd try to work soufflé into the title, but at the same time, these brownies are completely packed with boozy, port-soaked dried cherries, and doesn't that warrant a mention? I like recipe names to be short enough that the titles don't wrap (when possible), so that was a consideration as well. Port Souffle Brownies? Boozy Brownies? I settled on (small yawn) Chocolate Cherry Brownies and made a batch of them for my sister and brother-in-law. They spent last Saturday working on a Habitat for Humanity project, and early that morning I traded a plate of the brownies for an adorable 1-year old, who spent the day with us.

Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Here's what you need to know about these brownies. They could very well be the richest, most decadent brownies you've ever tried. They're off-the-charts delicious. They're also off-the-charts messy, and a bit of a pain to slice - particularly if you want to slice them small. Next time, I'm going to chill and slice them, then let them return to room temperature to serve. I'd also recommend slicing them in the pan. The pan lends a good amount of structure.

Chocolate Cherry Brownies

You can take this general idea and run with it in a thousand different ways. If boozy cherries aren't your thing, I can imagine adding chopped toasted nuts, baking them plain (in a smaller pan), making individual cakes/brownies in ramekins, trying other fruit/alcohol combinations, etc. The original inspiration for these was a recipe I came across in the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook - their version used pitted prunes and brandy. I decided to try cherries, port, muscovado sugar, and creme fraiche. I soaked my cherries for two days, but suspect I could have done fine with a one day soak - all the port had been absorbed by then.

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Chocolate Cherry Brownies

I used just shy of a pound of Guitard 55% chocolate chips in this recipe. You could go darker if you like, and shave or chop the chocolate from bars, which is what I typically do. I used Dagoba unsweetened cocoa powder. And I used a mix of light and dark Muscovado sugars - half and half. If all you have is regular brown sugar, or even fine-grain white sugar, those should work as substitutes. I left the cherries whole, but I suspect a version with chopped cherries would be good too, and different texturally.

butter for greasing pan
2 cups / 10.5 oz / 300 g dried cherries
scant cup / 200 ml / 7 fl oz port wine
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55g / whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 40 g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

10.5 oz / 300g 55% dark chocolate chips/chunks
5 1/2 tablespoons / 2 3/4 oz / 80g unsalted butter
2 cups / 10.5 oz / sifted muscovado sugar

4 large eggs
scant 1/2 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g creme fraiche or sour cream
1 cup / 5 oz / 145 g chocolate chips/ chunks

more cocoa powder, for dusting

A day or two before you want to bake the brownies, place the cherries in a medium bowl and pour over the port. Cover and set aside. Stir every twelve hours until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 325F / 170C and place a rack in the top third. Butter and line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch rectangular baking dish with parchment paper. An important step if you want to eventually get these brownies out of the pan. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

Make a double boiler by placing a stainless steel bowl over a small pan of gently simmering water - the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Place the 10.5 oz / 300g of chocolate into this bowl along with the butter and sugar. Stir just until the chocolate has melted and the ingredients come together into a mass. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and allow to cool (cool enough that it won't cook the eggs when you add them). Mix on slow and add the eggs, one at a time, letting each get incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula a couple times along the way. Add the flour mixture and stir by hand until combined, then add the creme fraiche, remaining chocolate chips, and the cherries with the port. Stir until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour, or until just set. The center of the brownie should be set and not at all wobbly. Allow to cool completely in the pan. You can cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap at this point and the brownies will keep for a couple days. I recommend chilling before slicing if you want small, precise squares. Also keep a tall glass of warm water on hand to wash your knife between each cut. Enjoy at room temperature dusted with a bit of cocoa powder.

Makes one large pan of brownies.

Prep time: 900 minutes - Cook time: 60 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

Yemmy!! my mouth is watering seeing these chocolates. I am gonna try this right now.

Cho Yung Tea

The minute I saw these I couldn't wait to make them because I love the chocolate cherry combination. They are delicious. This recipe is already one of my favorites!!

Randi Lynne

Brownies that are gooey and rich, offset by drunk cherries. I love this! :) We should have more of these boozychocolatey collaborations.

Sweets at Vicky's

So excited to see you're using an Aussie cookbook, let alone a Sydneysider one. From a bakery in Surry Hills...in my opinion one of the most amazing places in the city. The prune/chocolate combination has really been taking off here for a few years. The bakery is famous for their sausage rolls, something as a vegetarian I can't try.

Vidya

I canned some cherries in brandy last summer and I also canned some blueberries in peach schnapps and also in amaretto. Do you think I could use these with this recipe? The brownies look absolutely delicious and it would give me another way to use my canned goodies. I purchased this wonderful brownie pan last year that will work wonderful for this recipe, it has 12 individual compartments, almost like a muffin pan, if you know what I mean. All the best! HS: Sounds delicious Grace - the blueberries in amaretto + some chopped, toasted slivered almonds might make a nice combination.

Grace

Holy smokes! Saw the image, read the title, and could instantly feel all my willpower and mantras about eating fewer sweets kind of melt away into a little dribbly puddle around me. Hey, still counts as a (sort of) whole food when you make it yourself with all real ingredients, right?!

Emily

Oh my… these pictures are almost painful to watch! But it's good to know the remedy is to cook it myself. I think I'll feel better very soon.

Cherry_clockwise

I made these two days ago and they were an instant success! Completely decadent and amazing. Thank you for the recipe!

Amanda

If I'm into the cherry thing but not the boozy thing, do you think it would work to just add fresh, unsoaked cherries? Or should I soak them in something else

Sue

Can I have one piece of your chocolate brownie!!!... I love baking brownies! they are just so good!!! you can't go wrong with that!

Chocolate Freckles

Wow these look divine!

Erica

These brownies sound amazing, my mouth is watering.

heide M

These brownies sound amazing.

Heide M

Anything we can replace the wine with - don't have alcohol :)

Karthik

another "must" try. looks delish and I love cherries

tobias cooks!

first time commenter, I don't know if this will ever be relevant to anyone: BUT I made these because I couldn't wait to try them however there were a couple of things I had to change out of necessity or intrigue or both and I wanted to share: I used morello cherries and not dried ones, probably 3 cups of them plus a little juice. I used brown sugar instead of muscavado. I made vegan sour cream out of vegan cream cheese and lemon juice to substitute for the creme fraiche. AND everything turned out so well, I was shocked. I didn't use parchment paper because I didn't have any and the brownies still came out (honestly) perfect. Well done Heidi, a beautiful, adaptable recipe. I will return. HS: Whoop! Thanks for reporting back - glad to hear your substitutions worked out :)

Melissa

Ohhh. Yum. These look awesome... can't wait to try them! Any substitute for the wine?

Eleanor

I love the chocolate cherry combo.

The Food Hunter

I can't stop imagining myself eating these brownies.

Madhuram

What an incredible recipe!!! Is there any way to make it without the wine??

Nirvana

Oh My....you had me at boozy cherries, and the whole pound of chocolate chips nearly gave me a stroke. These sound like the perfect "adult" brownies, thanks for a recipe that I can taunt my kids with. Cheers - S

Oui, Chef

Yum. And the pictures look tasty.

Melange a Trois

These were really wonderful! I used kirsch instead of port, since that's what I had on hand. I also put the cherries and kirsch in a slightly warm oven just after I turned it off after baking something else. After an hour or so, they were good to go — so if you want to make these right away, you can rehydrate the cherries in a much shorter time if you warm them up.

Anne

Yum! I've made something very similar for years. My friend owned a bakery and I begged, on my knees, on my birthday, for the recipe. She swore me to secrecy. It was worth it. I've found that my brownies are even better partially frozen. I'd normally worry that the dried cherries in yours would be too hard once frozen, but I wonder if the alcohol would keep them soft. I guess I'll just have to see. Lucky me!

Kathleen

Chocolate cherry brownies sound phenomenal. I can't seem to get enough cherry recipes lately. :) Jenn

Jenn (www.j3nn.net)

Do you think that the cherries would work with amaretto instead of port?

Denise

The cherries are soaking......Cannot wait to try these. I have had wonderful results with all of your recipes!

Melinda

Oh goodness. I could see that these would also be awesome with grand marnier soaked apricots or lots of other boozy fruits. I'm not a huge port drinker so maybe I'll sub with red wine or sherry. Thanks for the recipe!

Akila

I love the idea of creme fraiche in brownies. Sour cream makes chocolate cake and coffee cake even tastier, I bet it does the same for brownies! This looks delicious. I wonder if prunes and Armagnac would be great too...

DessertForTwo

annnnnnnnnd....i will be making these tonight.

Julie

I love dried cherries! I'm really wishing I had some now to snack on after reading this post. But I've never thought of soaking them in port. Does the port make them less tangy or does it bring out their tanginess? Either way, I'm putting this on my list, maybe for Mother's Day. My family has a Christmas Even tradition of drinking a glass of port at midnight (I admit, I never get past a couple of sips) so I think they'll especially appreciate these. Thanks!

Jen

Yikes! These could be my downfall.

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

Hi, I can't wait to taste the combination of chocolate & cherry. I'll prepare it for my sick mum. Thats wonderful Heidi. Thanks.

Esther

Usually I bookmark the recipes I want to try, but with yours I have a problem....they all look and sound so delicious that I want to try them all! It looks amazing! :D I love cherries and berries in general (they are packed with vitamins!). I have never tried to soak them in alcohol, though. But sounds great to me :D

Ksenia

Oh my...I am speechless!

Alta

This makes me want to cheat on my mother's recipe! No mean feat when you consider that the only thing better than her brownies are her peanut butter bars.

Marjy

Drunk Cherry Brownies

Raquel

wow, these look intensely chocolate-y! Chocolate and cherries is a perfect combination!

Taz

Yumm...I am making these with white chocolate chips and cashews..will let you know how they turn out :)

Gayatri

MMMMMM I can't wait to make these, they souund so good :)

Milney

Cherries, and chocolate and Port, Oh My! That is a combination made in baker's heaven. I used frozen sour cherries and tawny port and low-browed it with store-brand chocolate chips. Considering the pan is now full of crumbs and a memory, I'd have to say these brownies are keepers--shortlived, but keepers.

tom | tall clover farm

Delish! Can't wait to make these!

Lea Barlow

Lovely. Is it possible to use fresh cherries or would that be too moist?

sasa.

Oh yum, I'm drooling over those!

Simply Life

Heidi, thank you for the lovely brownie recipe. Can't wait to make them. I made another brownie recipe today which included almonds, white chocolate chips and lemon zest. Before I start a batch of your recipe, can I confirm that the cooking time is approx 60 mns? the batch I just made only needed 23 mns in my oven

Dagmar

Sounds like a great way to use up some of the Chocolate Raspberry Port I have an abundance of! Thanks for the inspiration!

Roxanne

So glad that you have seen the Bourke Street Bakery book, Heidi! I got it for Xmas and love it - and so do my hips!

Amanda

Wonderful - can't wait to try them. Do you have suggestions for changing this recipe (and any other)into a gluten free recipe? I'm new to the gluten free world and am struggling to make flour substitutions. Thanks!

Julia

Hi Heidi, great to see you highlight an Australian title - isn't it a lovely book? I am also really thrilled that Kim Boyce's wholegrain baking book is now available here - I picked up my copy yesterday and my house is currently smelling beautifully of a baking Olive Oil Cake.......

kate

Hi Heidi, Can you recommend a port to use for soaking the cherries? Thanks!

Cassandra

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