Cherries have a relatively short season – one day you see them all over stores and the next they are no where to be found. They are truly a summer treat!
I have never really had a strong fondness for cherries. I run (quickly) away from any cherry flavored candy, drink or treat. I pass on anything with too much grenadine or lots of maraschino cherries.
But hand me some fresh cherries? I will eat those any day. Weird, right? There is something about that sugary cherry flavor that I cant stand…until I made my own candied cherries.
The cherries cook away on the stove top in a little bit of sugar and when your done you get this magical cherry syrup that actually tastes like the cherries you put in to start, only sweeter. This is a great way to preserve one of the summers best produce.
This brownie recipes uses the candied cherries and only a little bit of the syrup. Don’t let the rest of that syrup go to waste – it makes a wonderful ice cream topping (with or without the brownies).
It lasts about 2 weeks in the fridge and there are countless other things you can do with it, like mixing into some drinks (homemade cherry limeade anyone?) or even as a pancake topping.
In order to get that dark decadent chocolate flavor in these brownies, make sure to use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, or if you don’t have it or can’t find it in a store near you, just make a mixture of half regular and half Dutch Process cocoa powder. Use a good quality dark chocolate bar to chop and mix into the brownies, it will give the brownies a little bit of richness.
This recipe is being submitted in the OXO Cherry Recipe Contest.
- 1 pound of cherries, fresh or frozen
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeeze lemon juice
- 1 drop almond extract
- 1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup Hershey’s Special Dark coco powder (or a mixture of unsweetened cocoa and Dutch Process cocoa)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 oz of good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Remove the stems and pit the cherries. Heat the cherries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a large nonreactive saucepan or skillet or until the liquid starts to boil.
Turn down the heat to a low boil and cook the cherries for 25 minutes, stirring frequently for the last 10 minutes of cooking to make sure they are cooking evenly and not sticking.
Once syrup is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup, remove the pan from the heat, add the almond extract and let the cherries cool in their syrup.
Drain cherries from syrup and coarsely chop them. Set chopped cherries aside with ¼ cup of the syrup (remaining syrup can be reserved for another use).
Preheat oven to 350 F°. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla, eggs and sugar until thoroughly combined. Mix in cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt until well blended. Gently fold in candied cherries and dark chocolate chunks.
Pour batter into prepared pan, spread with a spatula to smooth out top.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Let cool before slicing and serving.