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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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.

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


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


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


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!

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!


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.......


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


I love the combination of cherry with chocolate-a very happy marriage! It looks decadent! Nisrine

I love the combination of cherry with chocolate-a very happy marriage! It looks decadent! Nisrine

these sound phenomenal


I always take your desserts seriously, because you don't do a lot of them. I've perfected your cherry coconut mini-tarts and made many times, even adding chocolate in. So I am counting on these brownies to be a heavenly experience. I have a package of dried cherries and berries and I have a bottle of port. I cannot wait to try. I will wait for a special time. My wedding anniversary is next month. (I don't eat a lot of sweets, but when I do I want it to be really good). And these just spoke to me. Thanks as always.

Cherries and booze are a main stay in our house. Each year right after Washington sends all it's gorgeous cherries south, we fill quart jars with cherries and tequila, strain the booze, simmer with a bit of sugar then re-jar. Mixed with a bit of soda water and squeeze of lime, it brings something special to a summer barbeque. Hmmmm, a bit of a "ode to the cherry " with brownies and boozy drinks. Break out the hula hoops girlz, summer is here!


I got my chocolate fix today with this great Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake recipe ;).


The most beautiful part is it looks so soft. That cherry's source is the hard bit for me.

This just takes brownies to a whole new level - I will be making these for sure!

how funny - I just picked up some dried organic cherries today and this recipe looks so good!!

wow i think I am going to make these for my next meeting at work... I was planing on making a passion fruit tart but this looks amazing... I know they will so love the port part and chocolate... and the cherries... yumm... can't wait to try them thanks for all the lovely things you post here.. love everything you do... and have tried many of your creations lena

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