Black Forest cakes have been a beloved favorite of mine. Turns out you can make this in brownie form. You get the rich flavors of chocolate and cherry, with the chewiness of a brownie. The sliced almonds give an exquisite roasted nuttiness and adds a slight crunch. A delicious trick I discovered is to soak the cherries the night before in Amaretto liqueur. It adds more almond flavor and the brownies are still kid friendly. As an added bonus you get cherry almond flavored liqueur. Use this to make a wonderful martini that pairs well with these brownies. Go ahead treat yourself, you deserve it.
For the Cherry Almond Martini, just use 2 parts cherry infused liqueur to 1 part heavy cream. Vigorously shake with ice in martini mixer and strain into martini glass. Garnish with maraschino cherries.
Photography: I shot this in the evening at 1/80 sec, f/ 2.0. I tried many setups, angles and props. Ultimately I went with a simple, elegant row of 4 brownies on a mostly white background. The contrast of the browns and red really stand out and draw your eye to these irresistible treats. I like to use a diffused Speedlite flash in lower light settings, and highlight certain surfaces on desserts and dishes.
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Black Forrest Brownies with Toasted Almonds
- 3 cups maraschino cherries, no stems (about 24-ounce jar)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 6 ounces
- 1/3 cup butter
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup white chocolate chips, 6 ounces
- 2/3 cups slivered almonds, toasted
- 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Coarsely chop 2 cups of cherries and place on paper towels to drain excess liquid (save the remaining whole cherries as garnish).
- Slowly melt chocolate and butter in double boiler. Take off of heat.
- Stir in eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, flour and baking soda. Fold in chopped cherries, white chocolate chips and almonds.
- Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick placed in brownie comes out clean. Allow to cool and cut into bars.
- Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
- Pipe mixture in a circular swirl on top of each brownie.
- Then place 1 drained cherry on top of each brownie
- Store in an airtight container if refrigerator for up to 5 days.
– Adapted from “Brownies & Bars.” Better Homes and Garden.
– You can microwave semi-sweet chocolate chips in microwave (instead of double boiler) for 30 second increments. Stir in-between until melted.
– Toast the almonds on a cookie sheet under the broiler or medium high heat in pan until slightly browned. Watch carefully and do not overheat. Nuts will continue to cook slightly once you take them off heat due to the oil in them.
– I highly recommend soaking the cherries in liquor the night before, and making yourself the martini to go with these.
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