Tuesdays With Dorie
Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan is the cookbook that 184 members from the group Tuesdays With Dorie bakes along with. This week, Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook chose the recipe French Chocolate Brownies, found on pages 92-93.
The recipe is not hard at all and takes very little effort by way of expertise or dirty pans. Dorie's recipe calls
for raisins, and while I don't have an aversion to raisins, I won't insult a classy Chocolate Brownie with
something that belongs in Raisin Bran cereal!
Luscious ripe red cherries have been popping up all over in the supermarkets lately and they immediately caught my attention. Why not add cherries to the chocolate brownies? After all, chocolate and cherries have long been a favorite of many nations. Chocolate Covered Cherries are the classic example of a match made in heaven!
I thought fresh cherries would add too much moisture to the brownies and make them soggy. I hunted around for dried cherries and knew that would be the perfect solution. But, cherries soaked in rum didn't sound too appetizing either. Wait a minute, I had a whole liquor locker tucked away in the boat! Surely I could find a substitute.
That's when I found the brandy and life was good again! BTW, brandy does a fine job igniting and flaming and leaves a nice smooth, mellow aftertaste, unlike some rum that I've tasted.
These fresh cherries are real! They were so bright and fresh they looked plastic. They were some of the BEST and tastiest cherries I have ever tasted. But at $3.99 a pound, they were no deal. Good thing they were delicious! I know one TWD baker would say, (and you know who I'm talking about CB) "They were Cherry-tastic!"
Wine & Chocolate Pairing?
Who's going to eat all these brownies? Not the two of us! I'll have one and John will have the rest of the pan. No way! I sent John across the dock to ask another nice sailboat couple if they'd like to get together for wine later. They didn't know I was packing brownies too! I made the whipped cream and chocolate sauce, packed 4 bowls, 2 wine glasses and 2 bottles of wine. An instant and impromptu party was created! We had a great time sharing stories, drinking wine and eating brownies! That's what sailors do!
We paired these brownies with a full and robust red 2005 Red Knot Shiraz form McLaren Vale, Australia. It was up to the task and were excellent with the sweet brownies! Who said you can't have wine with chocolate?
That's the only thing I changed in Dorie's recipe, and I think it was a darned good one too - if I do say so
myself! Check out all the other blogs at TWD for more awesome brownies!
French Chocolate Brownies with a Cherry Twist!
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden (My Notes: I used chopped dried cherries)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum (My Notes: I used 2 Tablespoons of brandy instead)
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.
- Put the raisins (or cherries) in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum (or brandy), let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.
- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
- Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins (or cherries) along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
- Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.
- Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.
- Serving: Dorie says, "The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they're even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!" (My Notes: I whipped up some heavy cream and made a small batch of chocolate sauce for garnish)
- Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
- Makes 16 brownies
p.s. There were left over brownies and I'll give you one guess who ate them with the fresh cherries???