This time I made blondies and brownies. Both of these are recipes that I have been making for years, but for some reason this time I decided to dress up the brownie recipe a bit by adding some brandy-soaked dried tart cherries. Even though my family tends to favor the tried and true, these went over pretty well. I was certainly pleased with the way they turned out.
The original brownie recipe was given to me by a floor mate in college. She had made them for our Sunday night floor study break and after tasting one, I had to have the recipe. Fudge-y without being gooey (or cloyingly sweet), I think they are a brownie that would please just about everyone—even those who prefer a more cake-like brownie to a fudge-y one. I'm guessing that the wonderful texture of these brownies is due in part to the mixing method used—it is a bit unusual for a brownie. In most brownie recipes the butter is melted with the chocolate before being combined with the other ingredients. This recipe uses the creaming method (beating soft butter together with the sugar).
I wish that I could give credit to the creator of this recipe, but I have no idea where the original recipe came from (if someone recognizes it, I would love to know). In any case, I have altered it slightly over the years—reducing the baking powder a bit and substituting golden brown sugar for some of the white sugar. With this last batch I reduced the quantity of chocolate chips by half a cup before adding the dried cherries. The addition of the cherries adds a nice tart accent and although I would never give up the "plain" version of these brownies, I will definitely be making this latest version again.
Black Forest Brownie Squares
1 c. dried tart cherries—coarsely chopped if very large (6 oz.)
2 T. brandy
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (6 oz.)
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 1/4 c. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. golden brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 t. vanilla
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Place the cherries in a bowl and toss with the brandy. Cover and let sit for an hour or two (or overnight, if you have time).
Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment. Grease the parchment and flour the pan. Set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Briefly cream the butter and sugars together (just until smooth—the mixture doesn't need to be "light & fluffy"). Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted chocolate. Mix in the chocolate chips and dried cherries along with any unabsorbed brandy.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake in a 350° oven until a toothpick comes out clean—30 to 35 minutes.
Cool completely—overnight is best. Turn out of the pan and flip back onto a cutting board. Cut into 48 squares.