Shane's training for his Ironman race next month is really ramping up, and the weekend workouts are pretty intense lately. On Saturday he ran for 3 hours, and then he spent 5+ hours on his bike trainer down in the basement yesterday. It's crazy, I can't even fathom doing what he does! Because he's so busy, it leaves me with a lot of time to do my own thing. Sometimes that means shopping or catching up on my DVR, but this weekend I spent a ton of time in the kitchen, trying out quite a few new recipes and revisiting a couple of old favorites. Logistically, it's much easier for me to share desserts with family and friends during the week, so weekend baking is always an exercise in restraint. When it came to these roasted cherry brownies, I wish I'd had a little more :)
When I first saw this recipe last year, I honestly wasn't all that interested in trying it. Cherries and chocolate just weren't a combo that sounded good to me. We stocked up on cherries big time recently though after finding them on a great sale, and while I was searching for dessert ideas, I came upon these brownies again. The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became - I absolutely love strawberries and raspberries with chocolate, so why not cherries? Worst case scenario, if I wasn't a fan I was pretty sure it wouldn't be hard to convince someone to take the brownies off my hands...
I've never actually roasted cherries before, but the aroma that filled my house when they were in the oven was amazing! They only need 10 minutes so it's a quick and easy way to turn ordinary brownies into something extraordinary. This brownie base is really rich and fudgy and the sweet roasted cherries proved to be the perfect complement. I'm totally kicking myself for not having been brave enough to try this combo last year, but better late than never I guess. It's times like these that I wish cherries were in season for so much longer!
Roasted Cherry Brownies
adapted from The Pastry Affair and Baking Illustrated (via Annie's Eats)
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
5 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss the cherries with 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a small roasting pan (I used a disposable one) until well combined. Roast until the cherries begin to release their juices, about 9-10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack - set aside while you make the brownies.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Line a 9x9-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the brownies out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate as well as the butter to a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water and heat until melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl from the pan and whisk in the cocoa powder until incorporated. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the flour, using a rubber spatula to fold/stir just until incorporated. Gently fold in the roasted cherries.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Remove the pan to a wire rack, and allow the brownies to cool completely before lifting them out and cutting into squares for serving.