Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Black Forest Espresso Brownies

Black Forest Cake may be something of the 1970's, but it's certainly a flavour combo this is as relevant as ever! It hits high on my list up there with chocolate + peanut butter, chocolate + coffee, and chocolate + caramel. 

Actually, it's probably my most favourite fruit + chocolate combo.

This recipe is unreal. My family (and by that I mean me and my husband) devoured this whole entire pan in an embarrassing 2 days! That's the truth.

It takes inspiration from the traditional Black Forest Cake, but instead of cake we're making the deepest darkest fudgy brownies!

Annnnnnd, instead of spiking it with cherry liquor, I've infused it with a hit of espresso and WOW... this combination is out of this world!

The other deeply delicious secret to this recipe? Cream cheese whipped cream! Using a bit of cream cheese not only helps stabilize the cream, but it adds a rich, cultured, tangy flavour that plays off the bitter chocolate and sweet black cherries.

Since cherries are in season, you can make these brownies right away, but then you can also make them all year 'round since frozen cherries work just as beautifully! 

I'd suggest making a big batch of the cherry compote as it is sooooo delicious. I served the extras warm over vanilla ice cream with chocolate shavings. I'm sure you can guess it was a great idea ;)

This might be the only way I want to eat brownies from now on (except I will still eat every other kind of brownie).

Black Forest Espresso Brownies
makes 12-16 brownies

6 oz (170g) bittersweet chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
8 tbsp (84g) salted butter
2 tsp espresso powder
½ cup (71g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cream topping:
2 tbsp (30ml) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup (180ml) 35% whipping cream

Cherry compote:
1 cup (125g) pitted black cherries, halved (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15ml) lemon juice
1 tsp corn starch
1 tbsp (15ml) water

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each end and butter the exposed sides.

Melt together chocolate and butter until smooth and glossy in a heatproof bowl set over a pot with ½-inch of simmering water or in the microwave. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs with sugar, espresso powder and vanilla on high speed until pale and thick about 3 minutes. Fold in warm chocolate mixture until evenly blended. Fold in flour until well incorporated and smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and use the back of the spatula to smooth out the surface.

Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted someplace between the edge and the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 20-22 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the topping, begin beating cream cheese with ¼ cup of whipping cream until smooth. Add remaining cream and beat until firm peaks form. Spread over cooled brownies and chill.

For the compote, combine cherries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until cherries soften and release their juices. Break the cherries down and cut them up with the side of a spoon. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolve and the syrup thickens. Stir in lemon juice. Combine corn starch and water to make a slurry and then add to the saucepan. Stir it in and boil for 30 seconds to thicken. Pour it out into a bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Spoon chilled cherries with some sauce over the cream topping on the brownies and serve!

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