Sunday, July 22, 2012

Roasted Cherry Almond Brownies + A Product Review

It's cherry season, my friends!  And what goes perfectly with cherries?  Chocolate, of course!

I can't remember a time when I didn't love cherries.  In fact, I once drank so many cherry-flavored SqueezeIt drinks (does anyone else remember those??), that I broke out in a cherry-induced acid rash.  I know, I know...lovely.  Although, I must admit that I only really developed an appreciation for FRESH cherries...pits and an adult.  My cherries of choice as a kid were of the maraschino variety, plucked right out of a glass jar.

I recently brought a bag of the gorgeous red fruit home from the store and didn't know right off what I wanted to make with them.  The answer came in the form of chocolatey, intensely rich and fudgy brownies, studded with roasted cherries and sliced almonds...Oh, yeah!

Now, these definitely aren't your normal, boring ole' cakey brownies.  The juices from the cherries keep these brownies incredibly moist and fudgy in texture.  These are not meant for the chocolate-faint-of-heart.  :)

Another reason that I couldn't wait to make these, is because the great folks at OXO recently sent me one of their Good Grips Cherry/Olive Pitters to try out.  I really don't know what I've done all these years without a good cherry pitter!  One thing that has kept me from cooking and baking with fresh cherries as often as I'd like is the fact that you have to stand there and pit each and every one.  Not fun, if you ask me.  I can honestly say that this OXO Cherry Pitter made the job super easy and so much faster.  The holder is generous enough to hold large cherries, and the splatter shield kept me from getting red juice everywhere.  The handles are soft and comfortable, and it seems very sturdy and well-made.  Now, I'm not one to keep tons of extra little gadgets in my kitchen that I don't use often, however, this is certainly one that's worth having.

So, if you're having a chocolate-induced craving anytime soon, give these brownies a try.  In fact, if you want to go ALL out, maybe you should even top them off with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Bon Appetit, my friends!

The OXO Good Grips Cherry/Olive Pitter made quick, easy work of pitting the cherries.

Roasted Cherry Almond Brownies
Adapted from:

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips, plus 1/2 cup reserved
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp sugar (divided)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Combine the cherries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a small roasting pan and toss well to combine.  Roast the cherries for 10 minutes, or until they begin to release their juices.  Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper or line it with foil and grease it very well with butter. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt and then set aside. Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan, then add the chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon until they are melted. Remove from the heat, add the sugars and stir to combine.

Add the almond extract and the eggs, one at a time, stirring between each addition. When the mixture is smooth and shiny, slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixture in the saucepan. Add the chopped cherries and the reserved chocolate chips.

Spread the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and then sprinkle the top with the almonds. Bake for 28-32 minutes, just until an inserted toothpick shows moist crumbs. Let the bars cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Note:  I used a 10x10 baking dish (for thicker brownies) and increased the total baking time to about 40 minutes.

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Betty@SouthernGrace said...

Newest follower! Yummmm, Excited to find your blog. Hope you'll follow me too! ~betty

Celeste said...

Thanks, Betty!! :)