Last summer we made a batch of cherry bounce – cherry-infused bourbon – from sweet summer cherries. We shoved them to the back of the refrigerator and promptly forgot about them – or at least tried to forget about them. It’s hard to forget about bourbon and ripe, deep red cherries even when they’re hidden behind the milk and eggs.
The results were ready for Christmas. We shared the wine-dark bourbon with family and friends. The burgundy liquor was festive: a good color for deep winter holidays.
But what of the cherries? The cherries were for us.
The cherries lost the edge off their vibrant red, but retained their juicy flesh and took on the complex aromas and psycho-pharmacological qualities of Kentucky bourbon. Boozy cherries? Don’t mind if I do.
The cherries had a different fate. Fortified by their alcohol content, they waited in the dark recesses of our fridge. Now it’s Valentine’s Day, another holiday for baking. It’s time for warm, gooey bars and cookies, eaten straight from the oven with your love. It’s time for brownies eaten in slow sensuous bites. So, the two were united in an act of love: boozy, drunken cherries and dark, bitter chocolate slowly heated side by side in a fudge-y brownie batter. The bourbon cooked off slowly in the oven, leaving a hint of fruity sour mash. A new beginning for a new love.
We recommend pairing the brownies on a romantic evening. Pair them after dinner with straight bourbon whiskey. Pair them at midnight with champagne. Pair them in the morning with Irish coffee.
- Flour. I use Jeanne’s Gluten Free Flour mix from the Art of Gluten-Free Baking. You can certainly substitute regular all-purpose flour or your favorite gluten-free flour mix if it suits you.
- Sugar. We’re not big on sweets around here. When we eat chocolate, we like it dark and rich. So dark and rich that I drastically slashed the sugar content from the original recipe and replaced semi-sweet chocolate chips with high-quality unsweetened baking chocolate. If you like your brownies sweeter, go for it.
- Cherries. If for some strange reason you don’t have boozy bourbon cherries sitting in your refrigerator (why ever wouldn’t you?) you can substitute dried cherries that have been soaked in bourbon overnight.
Bourbon Cherry Brownies (with Gluten Free option)
Adapted from Susan Purdy’s Independence Pass Brownies, included in Pie in the Sky: Successful Baking at High Altitudes
Makes one 8in x 8in square of brownies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
|1/2 cup Jeanne’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix or all-purpose flour||Home-mixed|
|1/2 cup cocoa powder||Trader Joe’s|
|1/2 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed||C-town|
|1 teaspoon bourbon||Dynasty Liquors|
|6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick)||ShopRite|
|2 large eggs||M&Z Nice Grocery|
|1 cup unsweetened baking chocolate, in chunks||Trader Joe’s|
|1/2 cup boubon-soaked cherries||Home-made|
3. Fold in Chunks & Bake