Jennifer Stevenson’s Triple Chocolate Brownies with Whisky-Soaked Cherries
After long delay, here are the richest, most evil brownies you will ever eat. They’re super-quick to prepare as long as you soak the cherries in advance. I keep a jar of cherries soaking in whiskey at all times. Just in case, you know, brownies.
So at least one night before you bake, and up to weeks or months beforehand:
1-1/4 cup dried sour cherries, such as can be purchased from CostCo
2/3 cup hot water, or whiskey, brandy, rum, your choice
OR 1/3 cup morello cherry syrup and 1/3 cup hot water
Pack the cherries loosely into a jar that has a waterproof lid, such as a plastic Talenti ice cream jar. (Doesn’t everyone have these lying around?) Pour in the liquor (or syrup & water mix) to cover the cherries. Screw the lid on. Put the jar in the fridge at least overnight, if not longer. This plumps up the cherries and infuses the liquid with their cherry flavor.
The day you bake:
2 sacks Ghirardelli double chocolate brownie mix, such as purchased from CostCo
1 12-oz package Ghirardelli 60% cacao dark chocolate chips, plus three handfuls more
2 eggs, ideally warmed in the shell in warm water
12 Tablespoons butter (that’s 1-1/2 sticks)
Powdered unsweetened baking cocoa, about 1/2 cup
Powdered instant coffee, about 1 Tablespoon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put butter in baking pan and put baking pan in the oven while it preheats. Keep an eye on the pan; you won’t want the butter to get too hot. I use a giant heart-shaped pan, but a 9×13-inch pan also works.
While the oven preheats, drain the cherries, reserving the liquid. You should have about 2/3 cup of cherry-infused liquid. If not, add liquor or hot water to make 2/3 cup. Dump the cherries and liquid back together into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, empty both brownie mix sacks. Add all the dark chocolate chips and the instant coffee powder and mix.
When the butter in the baking pan is barely melted, remove the pan from the oven and swish the melted butter around to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the melted butter in with the cherries and liquid. (Drain the baking pan well.) Stir the melted butter into the cherries to cool it. For extra fancy, sprinkle the buttered bottom and sides of the pan with 1T coarse salt like kosher salt.
Dust inside of the baking pan with cocoa powder. This uses a lot of cocoa, maybe 1/2 cup. If there’s extra cocoa powder in the pan, dump it into the brownie mix. It’ll make a mess, so do that over the sink.
Whisk the eggs separately, about 200 to 300 strokes. Add the beaten eggs to the butter and cherries and stir until until well mixed.
With the minimum number of strokes, stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients–only 10 to 15 slow strokes. It’s okay if there are a few patches of dry brownie mix dusting the batter here and there.
Dump the batter into the pan. It will be super thick and chunky. Spread it out flat with a spatula. Bake 50 minutes in a convection oven, or 55 minutes in a normal oven, 325 degrees. The brownies will be soft to the touch in the center when done. DON’T OVERBAKE.
Remove. Cool at least 15 minutes. The brownies will still be fabulously gooshy and warm after cooling for 15 minutes. If you want the brownies to be firm before you cut them, cool 2 hours, or refrigerate, but be aware that the colder they are, the harder they’ll be to cut. The extra chocolate chips harden in the fridge.
Eat them warm for a terminal chocogasm, alone or with ice cream and a glass of red wine. Have a friend handy to take them away from you after you’ve eaten a pound or so. It eases the guilt.