When I was a kid, my mom often put a homemade brownie in my lunchbox along with a ham and cheese sandwich, a handful of grapes, and a small bag of Cape Cod potato chips. Not surprisingly, these remain some of my favorite comfort foods today. (Well, if you can replace ham and cheese with a croque-monsieur, and grapes with wine!)
Every September, right around back-to-school time, I get an insatiable craving for rich, fudgy, slightly under-baked brownies. When I bake at home I try to stay with recipes that are as low-fat as possible (if it calls for more than one stick of butter, I probably won't make it), and for a long time my go-to brownie recipe was for the Irish Cream Brownies featured in the October 2006 issue of Cooking Light. I think their trick of replacing about 3/4 of the melted chocolate with cocoa powder is ingenious—it cuts loads of calories, yet still retains that gooey mouthfeel.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a similar recipe in this year's September issue of Cooking Light. Dark Chocolate and Cherry Brownies call for 3/4 cup of cocoa powder and 1/3 semisweet chocolate chips. The cherry preserves add a unique note reminiscent of kirsch (the fermented cherry filling sometimes in fondue, cakes, and candy). This is one of those incredibly easy to make recipes, and you probably already have all the ingredients on hand. An added bonus? They stay fresh for days. I made my batch last week, and I'll be sure to treat myself to one with my lunch today.
Dark Chocolate and Cherry Brownies
- makes 16 brownies (155 calories, 5.4 grams of fat each) -
adapted from Cooking Light magazine
- Cooking spray
- 3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cherry preserves
- 1/3 cup water
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 large egg white
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, coat with cooking spray.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 cup of sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine cherry preserves, 1/3 cup water, and butter in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Add preserve mixture to flour mixture; stir well. Add egg and egg white; stir until smooth. Stir in semisweet chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired.