For all the ways I talk myself out of making brownies; Not worth it, I don't like them that much, just eat a piece of fruit, this other super sophisticated, impressive-looking dessert sounds so much more exciting - I always come back to my desire to have a good recipe for everything. That way when someone requests a batch of brownies, as they inevitably will, I'll have no problem throwing together the best brownies they've ever eaten. Then I'll serve them directly out of the oven with vanilla ice cream because, if you're going to eat a brownie, you might as well do it right.
In case you are wondering why there are no pictures in this post you can chalk it up to the fact that I'm an idiot and dropped my camera in the middle of taking them - and by dropped I really mean it went crashing down onto the tile floor in the most horrific thud I've ever heard leaving me standing there for the better part of 30 seconds afraid to pick it up or acknowledge what had transpired. When I finally picked it up and assessed the damage (small crack in the lower left corner of the body) I decided it was time to put it away even though I had yet to take a picture that I was happy with.
Drunken Kirsch Brownies
Brownies have but a few ingredients and they will only taste as good as the ingredients you use. Basically this is not the place to use cheap chocolate. In fact if there is ever an argument to use chocolate that cost a dollar an ounce, this is it. Over the past three weeks I've been playing around with recipes and different chocolates and ultimately I like Scharffen-Berger 99% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate the best. It lends a deep, complex flavor to the final product and is worth every penny.
Over the past few weeks I've played with different recipes and variations. The base of this brownie is my favorite basic brownie so far. They're cake-y but not too thick with a crackly top. I've made them plain, with walnuts and with a cheesecake swirl (so good). I also tried a different brownie base the first time I made these but I wasn't as happy with the taste or texture - not to mention they fell apart no matter how long I froze them before cutting.
The next time I used my basic brownie recipe but added dried unsweetened, unsulphured cherries that I first soaked in Kirschwasser for the day. If you prefer more traditional brownies just leave out the cherries and kirsh or replace them with chocolate chips or nuts. Adapted loosely from Smitten Kitchen and 101 Cookbooks.
8 tablespoons Unsalted butter
3oz. Good Quality Unsweetened chocolate
1 cup Turbinado sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2/3 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
6oz Dried Unsweetened, Unsulphured Cherries
About 1 day in advance, pour the Kirsch and the cherries into a bowl or jar and leave at room temperature until the liquid is absorbed. Shake it up every once in a while especially during the first few hours - just to make sure all the cherries get a fair chance to drink up the alcohol.
Preheat the oven to 350
Drain any remaining liquid from the cherries and set aside
Heat butter and chocolate in a metal mixing bowl (I like using the one from my stand mixer) and place bowl in simmering water over moderately low heat, to create a double boiler. Stir it occasionally just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined, add cherries and spread in an 8x8 baking dish (I used pyrex). Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 25-35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. I like them best straight out of the oven with a generous amount of vanilla ice cream.
Note: If you have trouble cutting them, throw the pan in the freezer until very very cold, this will make it easier to get a clean slice.
Side note: I love that these only make one dirty bowl.