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

Just made this this week, and they're fantastic. For anyone thinking of trying to make them vegan, I used vegan chocolate, three egg replacers in place of the 4 eggs, and left out the creme fraiche, though you could certainly do vegan sour cream; I just didn't have any one hand. The result is fantastic - love the cherries. I'd like to try other dried fruit as well. Thanks, Heidi, for another amazing recipe!

Spike

I made these brownies - and I have to say.. they were the most amazing, moist, chocolatey brownies my taste buds have ever experienced.. and I am no amateur brownie eater. I was wondering if you think a nut, such as an almond, could be substituted for the cherries.. and soaked overnight in the port. Do you think this would work? My mother has an aversion to dried fruit but she would absolutely LOVE these brownies. I think the port is key.. so I'm trying to think of the best way to still incorporate the port.. ideas?

LJ

was dying to try this recipe, the pictures made it look so tasty. I couldn't find dried cherries in the health stores here so used dried cranberries instead. Very very tasty. had some 100% cocoa and mixed it with milk chocolate to even it out. thanks Heidi for the great recipes, I am gradually working my way thru them all :)

miss vivien

So gooey! They never really firmed up and I was glad to have the pan lined with parchment. I made these with frozen berries I soaked in wine for a week, which is probably why they stayed gooey.

AlliAZ

I think yours is the first food blog I came across which I keep coming back to. Great recipes. Made this with canned cherries in brandy from 2 years ago, dark chocolate 73% cocoa, and switched the creme fraiche for sheep yogurt. Had to start eating while still warm. So good. Like eating a giant truffle- recommend eating with some aspirin to avoid heart attack. :) Thx

Erez

This is awesome, real american stuff. I made it with rapadura sugar and added freshly cracked pecans that I'd had lying around for sometime (a Year I think). I'm glad it made so much and it kept the workers going too! keep up the good work heidi

Cate Stone

Genial fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

WP Themes

These are in the oven a I type. :] I used a merlot, and a variety of chopped dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries. I was wondering though, if anyone had to bake these for over an hour? Mine have been in for about an hour and 20 minutes and a crust has only formed on certain places of the outside, leaving gooey, delicious looking, but unfortunately, unset brownie pockets. I am a vegan so I used vegan sour creme and egg replacers so this may be why.

Erin

I used plain Greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche since that's what I had on hand - seemed to work nicely. These are extremely fudgy and dense! And delicious. A 9x13 pan of these brownies goes a long way - I'm going to try to freeze some and see what happens.

Lydia

I bake a lot. These are the best brownies I've ever made. I almost ate the batter. I kept the cherries whole and they were DELISH!! I'm making these again and again!!

Michelle

I bake a lot. These are the best brownies I've ever made. I almost ate the batter. I kept the cherries whole and they were DELISH!! I'm making these again and again!!

Michelle

Absolutely decadent! I will make these again. Do you think that the recipe could be halved successfully?

chef_ub

What a great combination of flavors--these look delicious!

The Bush League Cook

I've made these twice in the last week with cherry flavored craisins and sweet cream sherry. These brownies were so good I had dessert after every meal one day! Thank you! I'm learning to cook naturally and loving it... you don't know it, but you're my mentor in this new food venture. :)

:: mandy ::

cherries soaking as we speak (type) I cannot wait! chocolate, wine and cherries all in one package!

Judy

Nothing compares to an ooey goooey brownie--unless of course it has alcohol soaked brownies! yum! I've never heard of Dagoba Cocoa Powder. Ill have to look for it!

COURTNEY MONIGOLD

Cherry and chocolate flavor combo is amazing. And as always, lovely top photo! Looks incredibly light and chocolatey.

Another Foodie

mmmmm the real world bourke street bakery is on my cycle home kind of destroys the healthfulness of the cycle if I stop off every day for one of their amazing brulee tarts...but we can't have everything can we?

gk

YUM!!! NEED to make these. One of my absolute favorite combinations is chocolate + cherries. Thanks for the recipe! Delish.

Beth

I made these without the cherries and port and even then they were AMAZING!!!! My dinner guests got yummo's to take home too! Thnx heidi

roshigal

I had some dried cherries I was wondering what to do with - and then I saw this recipe. Wow! I've shared it with neighbors, co-workers and my accountant! And boy have I made friends. And we each eat a little a day - it makes a lot, and it is yummy rich. Thank you!

Amy D

The recipe for the Chocolate Cherry Brownies looks unreal. I am a huge fan of chocolate covered cherries, so I guess this would be the next evolution.

Hot Sauce

Do you think buttermilk would substitute well for the creme fraiche?

CB

Heidi, My wife regularly makes desserts for our co-workers at our employee meetings, and this time, she made these brownies. They are ridiculous. You have outdone yourself. We have liked your recipes before, but this takes the prize. -Kumar

Kumar Plocher

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