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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Oh, yum, yum, yum... you got me! When I read "port-soaked dried cherries", I fell in love! These brownies sound divine, packed with so many goodies! Who can resist?!


As an Aussie, I'm thrilled to see your mention of that cookbook. They make some fabulous stuff at the actual bakery and their book is droolworthy. I like that you've made it your own with the cherries which would be an unusual and difficult ingredient to source in Australia but a fantastic combination with chocolate.


okay first, yummmmmmm, i'm drunk! second, i do a very simple strawberry dessert with amaretto that i call "tipsy strawberries." i may adopt your brownies as my own and "tipsy" them. you can too! :)

sina b0 bina

Heidi, you never fail to amaze me with your mouthwatering recipes. This is on my list to try for sure!! xo K

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)

creme fraiche and boozy cherries? I am ALL OVER this. I generally need ultra rich chocolate with something to cut it, and the tangyness of the cream with that lovely boozy acid sounds PERFECT.

Sarah (Braise and Butter)

Hi Heidi, This brownie looks delicious! My husband, which also follow your updates (after I talked so much about you), are blinking his eyes to me for this recipe. I will *have* to try it! :) And, I would like to *thank you* for starting with the metric measures in the recipes. This makes my life much easier when I want to try one of your recipes! :) Thanks for sharing with us!

Carla Duclos

OMG! The pictures...I almost ate them!


This has to be one of the most decadent brownie recipes I have ever seen! These are off the charts for chocoholics!


Well.......there goes the diet!!


These sound incredibly fabulous! I love the combo of chocolate and cherries!


Heidi, I can't tell you how much I'm drooling right now. I would have to take a photo of myself to do it, but I'd be foolish to do so. Brownies! I am a brownie addict and can't get enough of them! And now that I am drooling, I might have to make these right away just to accompany some type of home made ice cream I'll have to make. Any idea of what flavor I should make to accompany these with?

kamran siddiqi

Whatever they're called, they sound fantastic according to your descriptions. I've never tried cherries and chocolate together before, as cherries are hard to get around here. Unfortunately. But maybe I can go with prunes!


I'm definitely making these this weekend... Yummy...


Delicious. I can't wait to try it.


Those look so heavenly! Wish I could just reach out & grabe one!


Boozy cherries AND chocolate?! SOLD! We'll be making these asap! Thanks!!!


Wowsa, these look amazing. My mouth is watering after reading your description.

Carrie (Love Healthy Living)

your photos are making me want these for breakfast.


thanks heidi, for the decadence and inspiration. i just made nikki's healthy cookies today and was thinking of your last baked goods post, where you promised something waiting for. i guess this is it. looks amazing.


Wow! rich chocolates, cocoa, creme fraiche and booziness.. This has got it ALL! what a great idea---soaking the dried cherries in port.

nancy at goodfoodmatters

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