Recipe: Obscenely Decadent Chocolate and Cherry Brownies

These are lightly adapted from a recipe in Paul Young’s book, Adventures in Chocolate, which is, incidentally, a completely and gloriously insane book containing recipes for things like marmite truffles and garlic ganache.  Actually, I really need to try the garlic ganache, and not just because then it could join garlic fudge in my special Hall of Fame for Inadvisable Things To Do With Garlic. Come to think of it, I should try the garlic fudge again, too.  It was, after all, my first attempt both at roasting garlic and at making fudge, so it is possible that the recipe was not wholly at fault for that particular unfortunate incident (though I’ll admit the evidence is against it).

Anyway, I digress.  In between recording these magnificently insane recipes, Young has also provided a few recipes suitable for normal people cooks who are not completely insane less adventurous cooks, and one of these recipes is for brownies with dried cherries in them.  Being a young(ish) woman in possession of some very good dried cherries, I naturally must in want of a recipe which uses them, and this is itIt’s gorgeous – fudgey, heavy, rich, very-nearly-almost too sweet, and studded with the fruity, black-forest goodness of dried black cherries. 

And how did I adapt it?     Those who are familiar with this blog will be unsurprised to learn that I added more chocolate.  And more cherries.  And more coconut.  And then had to add to the cooking time, because for some reason it didn’t want to cook through as fast as the recipe had suggested.  I have no regrets. 

(actually, this is not true – I regret having brownies for breakfast this morning, but I have no regrets regarding the recipe itself)

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100 g unsalted butter (European style is nicest)
150 g raw caster sugar
100 g brown sugar
75 g golden syrup
300 g 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 free-range eggs
75 g spelt flour
60 g shredded dried coconut
115 g dried black cherries
 

Now what will you do with it?

I feel as though I should start here by pausing to acknowledge the fact that I actually had the opportunity to follow this recipe correctly – every time I put something on the scales, it was precisely the amount on the recipe – and I still couldn’t resist putting in my own two cents worth.  That’s my commitment to not following recipes, right there.  And speaking of this, I didn’t really up the chocolate, coconut or cherries by that much, so if you are Just Like Me (heaven help you), you can probably get away with adding more.  Just don’t blame me if it all falls apart.

Anyway.  Preheat the oven to 170°C, and line a big loaf tin (about 12cm by 25cm) with baking paper.

Melt the butter, sugars and syrup in a largeish saucepan.  When they are smooth, stir in the chocolate (in an ideal world, most, but not all, of the chocolate will melt), and then beat in the eggs.  Add the flour and coconut and mix thoroughly, then stir through about half of the cherries.

Scrape the mixture into the tin, and scatter the rest of the dried cherries over the top.

Paul Young wants you to bake this at 160°C for twenty minutes, but I tried that, and it was not even remotely cooked.  I’d try 170°C for about 30-40 minutes, myself – you’re looking for the point where it’s dry on top and doesn’t actually wobble when you lift it out, but you know that a finger pressed through the crust would go through into mush.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin.  Paul Young also wants you to refrigerate this brownie overnight before turning it out, trimming the edges, and cutting it into squares with a wet knife and then waiting *again* so that you can serve it at room temperature.  Paul Young is clearly far better at delayed gratification than I am (and apparently also doesn’t like crusts, which is a shame because they are the best bit), because I let it cool to almost room temperature, and promptly turned it out of its tin and had at it.  With a glass of milk, though I’d have gone with vanilla ice-cream if we’d had any.

Believe me, there was absolutely nothing wrong with doing it my way.

Variations

Hmm.  I’d say that gluten-free wouldn’t be difficult because there is so little flour in here that you could substitute just about anything in – almond meal (which would be fabulous, I think), hazelnut meal, quinoa flour, or even horrible packet mix gluten free flour from the shop.

Veganising it would be harder because four eggs is a lot to substitute out, especially when they are providing the only rising agent in the whole cake.  I don’t think you could go the banana-and-soy-milk-and-bicarb route here.  I’d be inclined to keep the flavours from this recipe but use my recipe for gluten-free and vegan brownies, or whatever your favourite vegan brownie recipe might be as a structural basis for it (you wouldn’t have to make it gluten-free, of course – just substitute 1 3/4 cups of plain flour in for all the gluten-free flours, if you like).  Swapping out the butter for Nuttelex would be a quick fix to make it dairy-free, if eggs didn’t bother you.

In terms of flavour variations – why would you?  This is glorious!  But dried blueberries or cranberries might be nice, I suppose.  If you like nutty brownies, chopped roasted almonds would go beautifully with these flavours.  No more than half a cup, though, or you’ll never get this to stick together…

You could go a lot worse than serving these warm with icecream and chocolate fudge sauce.  Well, maybe not a lot worse for your blood sugar.  A berry or cherry sauce (which I would make by gently cooking the berries until they were soft, adding just enough sugar that they weren’t sour, and pureeing the whole lot) would be a lighter, and equally delicious option.

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5 responses to “Recipe: Obscenely Decadent Chocolate and Cherry Brownies

  1. delicious – I would bake it your way too – and would add cherries and coconut! Brownies for breakfast on holiday sounds great! (if you are still on leave) – you’ve reminded me that I’ve decided I need a chocolate cookbook that isn’t just full of insanely decadent recipes!

    • Back at work today, but it was a very good way to celebrate the last of my leave!!

      I’ll have to show you this book sometime – it really is deeply weird, but also amazingly awesome!

  2. It is a truth universally acknowledged… *grin*

    Well, that’s entertaining. Having read your dried-cherry post late last night, I was going to suggest that chocolate-cherry-coconut brownies would be an admirable use for them! I have some lovely semi-sweet ones in my freezer, thanks to a lovely friend in another state.

    Though I’m fairly sure that golden syrup wasn’t involved in their creation, even if one can get it on Amazon…

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