National Chocolate Week today and I was determined to bake a chocolate recipe to celebrate. These chocolate brownies are incredibly chocolaty – just the thing! I found the recipe online and believe it originally came from Gourmet magazine, however, I have put my own stamp on it by adapting it to be gluten free and to include some cherry brandy soaked dried cherries for extra indulgence.
It was the photo of the brownies that drew me to the recipe, they looked so moist and squishy that I couldn’t resist trying them out. The brownies were called Chocolate Crack Brownies, which I assume means they are so addictive they are like drugs! I admit that the resulting brownies were insanely good but I have renamed them Mud Fudge Brownies which I think sounds much more inviting. They are soft, squishy, fudgy and intensely chocolaty with that just-cooked tenderness of a chocolate mud cake all encased under a delicate crisp sugar topping.
I was a little worried that making them gluten free would result in a drier brownie as gluten free flours have a tendency to absorb the excess moisture out of foods but brownies are actually one of the best baked goods to make gluten free as the proportion of flour called for is usually very low compared to the vast amounts of butter and chocolate, meaning soft and tender brownies are almost guaranteed. Just look at the slice – so good!
I decided to add some dried Morello cherries to the batter as I love the combination of cherries and chocolate together and I found a small snack pack of them lurking near the back of the cupboard. They were a little too dried to add straight in, but a short soak in some cherry brandy plumped them back up and added a fantastic fruit boozy hit every time you unexpectedly bit into one.
Using a good quality, high cocoa content dark chocolate is what makes these brownies so satisfyingly chocolaty. I used a 70% Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference dark chocolate which was described as having ‘fruity red berry notes.’ I was generously sent a free sample to try after the re-launch of the Taste the Difference range (along with a hazelnut Swiss milk chocolate, also delicious) and was pleasantly surprised at how well it seemed to enhance the flavour of the brownies.
So whether you are making the brownies gluten free or not, I urge you to give them a go and bet you won’t be able to stop at just one!
Chocolate & Cherry Mud Fudge Brownies (GF)
135g 70% dark chocolate
240g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
50g gluten free flour (mix of rice, potato & tapioca flours)
OR 50g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
30g dried Morello cherries
1 tbsp cherry brandy
Pour the cherry brandy over the dried cherries, cover with clingfilm and leave for 3-4 hours to plump up.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 7-8inch square baking tin and line the base with baking paper.
Gently melt the butter and chocolate together in a pan set over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove from the heat and beat in the vanilla, salt and sugar (it will go grainy – but this is normal)
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. The mix should go thick, glossy and smooth.
Scatter over the flour and cocoa powder and mix until combined. Finally, beat in the soaked cherries and any remaining liquid.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. They will look slightly puffed with a dry sugary topping and be soft and moist underneath (not raw or molten though!)
Allow to cool in the tin for at least an hour before turning out and slicing. Delicious eaten at any temperature and with anything!
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