this picture is unfair, because this picture isn't going to win me any browniebabe accolades.
but it should.
these were life-changing brownies, startling in their perfection, wonderous in their flavor, lick-up-the-crumbs-with-your-fingers delicious, reforming a man who hasn't eaten cherries since his colonoscopy.
ok, maybe i went too far with the bodily functions on that one.
for the third browniebabe challenge, after missing the first TWO in spite of my love for brownies, i am determined to submit a contender for august.
one of my goals for the summer has been to cook extensively using the most local, fresh, responsible and seasonal ingredients i can find. a side effect of this has been that my cooking has gotten simpler--nigel slater is, after all, my hero--but it's also given me a chance to systematically work my way through the brilliance that is emily luchetti's a passion for desserts.
i should mention also that i am obsessed with cherries. sweet ones, sour ones, queen annes or rainers. doesn't really matter. i've been hoarding them like a fruitarian squirrel (i feel like i have used that simile before, but it still applies). last friday, i came home from work after walking from 86th and the central park great lawn all the way down to columbus circle and then across town to 39th and 12th. i was exhausted. but i opened up the fridge when i made my way home and found myself staring down 3 quarts of cherries. no lie. i knew what i had to do, of course--i had to bake!
i'd been looking forward to saturday for the entire week because i had planned my most favorite activity: sailing. friends of my parents, who are practically my other parents, invited me and my sister up to their boat on the hudson for a sail and a picnic, so i promised to bring brownies. quick, easy, delicious. done. when i saw the cherries in the fridge, i had a flash of brilliance: black forest brownies a la ms. luchetti, using the cherries, giving me a snack worthy of the sail, and giving me a contender of an entry for the browniebabe event.
and thus i present my black forest brownies, inspired by ms. luchetti but executed in hybrid format. i used my staple brownie recipe, king arthur flour's on-the-fence brownies, and combined it with ms. luchetti's directions for adding cherries and flavors. i threw in a quick pour of kirsch and a quick pour of almond extract, because one of the new discoveries of my summer has been the magical mix that is cherries and almonds. they baked up so quick, i didn't even need to dirty any dishes because i could prep everything in the microwave. they smelled unbelievable. and they overnighted even better, because the kirsch soaked into the brownie batter and infused its flavor into every crumb.
i am telling you, this picture doesn't do it justice. but these are browniebabe-worthy brownies.
black forest brownies
(adapted from emily luchetti's a passion for desserts)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
I ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
8 ounces (about 24) sweet red cherries, preferably Bing,
plus 16 whole cherries with stems, for garnish
i 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
i teaspoon kirsch
¾ cup all-purpose flour
'/4 teaspoon salt
'/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with
TO MAKE THE BROWNIES: Melt the chocolates together with the butter in a double
boiler (see page 23). While the chocolate is melting, stem, pit, and cut the 8 ounces
of cherries into eighths.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs. Whisk in the chocolate
mixture and the kirsch. Mix in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Gently mix in the
cut cherries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out almost clean but still
with a little batter on it, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the brownies cool in the pan.