Is there any combination that feels as luxurious as cherries and chocolate? Here, fudgy chocolate brownies are laced with macerated cherries for a divine flavour combo.
Do you love black forest cake? I sure do and it was my dads favourite, so one year after baking some cakes that sadly fell apart on the drive to deliver them to him, I created these gorgeous black forest brownies.
Dense yet soft, rich and fudgy – everything a brownie should be. These are easy to make (pinky promise) and most importantly, very portable and take humble brownies to a celebratory level. Great for Christmas or Valentines especially with those bright juicy fresh cherries on top.
I have loads of cherry recipes from this easy baked cheesecake with fresh cherry sauce right through to black cherry jubes (you know, the candy type). Both so good but just type cherry in the search box to see more you’ll love.
Ingredients in black forest brownies
Along with baking regulars eggs, flour, butter and salt there’s a handful of ingredients in these brownies that give such amazing flavour.
- Cherries: Fresh are best but you can use frozen in a bind. Make sure they are defrosting and drain any excess liquid away.
- Chocolate: Use a dark 50%-70% chocolate that has a good flavour. Don’t use compound or baking chocolate for these. Chips are fine too.
- Sugar: White and brown in this recipe. Both for sweetness but a little brown sugar adds moisture and chewiness.
- Cocoa: I just use regular unsweetened cocoa but you can also use dutched process cocoa.
- Vanilla: I always add a little vanilla to chocolate recipes as it actually accentuates the chocolate flavour.
Handy tools to have
While you really don’t need much more than a hand whisk and a couple of bowls;
- 8 inch square baking tin: to bake them in
- Handheld beater: makes them even quicker.
- Cherry pitter: not absolutely necessary but it does make pitting cherries much quicker
- Speed peeler or vegetable peeler: perfect for creating shaved chocolate and small chocolate curls.
How to make them – step by step
Macerated fresh cherries mixed through a thick chocolate brownie batter and a layer of whipped cream – here we go.
- Pit the cherries, if they aren’t already – see my tips below – then chop them into quarters and sprinkle over some sugar (image 1).
- Melt together butter and chocolate in a bowl (images 2 & 3). You can use the microwave or a bowl over boiling water.
- Beat together eggs and sugar until pale then pour the melted chocolate and butter in (image 4). Mix it all together (image 5, below).
- Sift in the dry ingredients (image 6) then mix that through until just combined.
- Give the macerated cherries a light mash, then mix those through as well (image 7).
- Pour it into a baking tin (image 8) and bake for 40 minutes or so. See my tips below.
- Once the brownies have cooled, whip up some thickened cream (aka heavy or whipping cream) and spread that over, then dot with more cherries and shaved chocolate.
Tips and Tricks
- Pitting cherries: If you don’t have a cherry pitter (which admittedly makes the process much easier), place the cherry on a board, sit the blade of a sharp knife on top, then with two fingers holding it from the top, roll it so the knife cuts straight around the centre. Pull the two halves apart and pull out the pit with your fingers.
- The eggs and sugar: I beat these for a good 1-2 minutes until pale. It’s not absolutely necessary for the brownies to work but gives an amazing almost meringue-like crust on top. You can just beat for 30 seconds though and they’ll work out fine.
- Baking time: This will depend on your oven and your brownie texture preference. A toothpick inserted should come out looking sticky but not wet or unbaked. Brownies will continue to bake purely from their own internal heat after they’ve been removed from the oven, so leaving them longer than this will give you dry brownies.
- Shaving the chocolate: I use a regular speed peeler or vegetable peeler to make the shaved chocolate and chocolate curls on top. Use room temperature chocolate, and run the blade along the thin edge of the chocolate.
Black forest brownies are lovely served at room temperature so take them out of the fridge at least 30-40 minutes before you want to serve them. If it’s very hot where they are, don’t leave them out too long as the freshly whipped cream may suffer.
Any leftovers (lucky you) will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
The brownies can be made ahead a day or two then top with whipped cream closer to serving time.
Go ahead and spoil your family with these gorgeous cherry brownies. They’re a wonderfully easy, make ahead dessert that still look like a total celebration.
More great recipe using cherries
- Easy Baked Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Sauce
- Cherry Pistachio Cupcakes
- No-Bake Cherry Ripe Slice
- Easy Cherry Cake with Crumble Topping
- Black Forest Chocolate Cupcakes
- Black Forest Cheesecake
Black Forest Brownies
FOR THE CHERRIES
- 2 ½ cups fresh cherries (310g / 11oz with pits OR 270g / 9.5oz pitted)
- 1 tablespoon white sugar (notes)
FOR THE BROWNIES
- 100 g dark (70%) chocolate (3.5oz)
- 113 g unsalted butter (1 stick / ½ cup)
- 3 large eggs room temp
- 1 cup white granulated sugar (200g / 7oz)
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed (50g / 1.8oz)
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 130 g plain (all purp) flour (1 cup / 5.6oz)
- 25 g cocoa (0.9oz / ¼ cup)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
FOR THE TOPPING
- ¾ cup whipping cream (250ml)
- 100 g milk chocolate, shaved (3.5oz) (notes)
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line an 8×8 inch square baking tin with baking paper.
- Pit the cherries and chop into quarters. Set aside ½ cup for the topping. Add the rest to a bowl with 1 tablespoon of white sugar. Set aside to macerate for 10 minutes.
- Place the butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each until melted and smooth. Set aside.
- Place the eggs and both of the remaining sugars in a large bowl. Whisk with a handheld mixer for around 2 minutes until light and fluffy (or in a stand mixer with paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes)
- Add the melted chocolate and butter and the vanilla and stir through with a spatula.
- Sift over the plain flour, cocoa and salt and stir through with a spatula until just combined.
- Use a fork to lightly mash the macerated cherries, then stir them through the brownie batter.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for around 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with some sticky crumbs on it (see notes).
- Let them cool completely before proceeding. You can speed this up by putting chilling them in the fridge.
- Whip the cream in a bowl until soft peaks, then spread over the top. Dot with remaining cherries then scatter with chocolate shavings.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons)
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- To shave the chocolate, make sure it is at room temperature then run a speed peeler or vegetable peeler along the edge, over and over to create small curls and shavings.
- Brownies are done when a toothpick comes out with a few sticky crumbs on it. They will carry-over bake in the tin.
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