These are no ordinary brownies! They are perfectly fudgy brownies studded with luxurious Italian Maraschino cherries and iced with whipped White Chocolate Cherry Ganache. They are as pretty as they are delicious.
How many chocolate/cherry desserts are too many? Trick question! There’s no such thing as too many chocolate/cherry desserts. I adore the flavor combination and never get tired of finding new ways to enjoy it.
The impetus for this Chocolate Cherry Brownie recipe was two fold. First, a failed attempt at making a chocolate cherry shortbread cookie steered me in the direction of making a brownie instead.
Second, I’d bought a jar of Luxardo Maraschino Cherries after reading about them on the internet. People are absolutely gaga for them. I guess they’re used mostly for cocktails, but I didn’t see any reason not to bake with them.
I will say, they are pretty expensive. A jar of regular maraschino cherries in my local market is about $3, the same size jar of the Luxardo cherries is about $18. I know, crazy.
But, you know what? They do taste really, really good. Comparing regular maraschino cherries to these Italian gems is like comparing apples to caviar.
The Luxardo cherries have a totally unique flavor and texture that really brought these brownies to another level. For me the splurge was worth it. But don’t worry, I’ve listed alternatives to the Luxardo if you’d rather not spend the money.
I found Luxardo cherries with the cocktail mixers in my local market, but you can also find them on-line.
What if you don’t want to spend the money for Luxardo Cherries?
- Use regular maraschino cherries. Drain the cherries and use the syrup in the recipe as listed.
- Use dried sour cherries. Reconstitute the cherries in the liquor of your choice. I like Kirschwasser, cherry brandy or plain brandy for soaking. Let them soak for at least 3-4 hours or overnight. Drain the cherries and use the soaking liquid in place of the syrup in the recipe.
- If you don’t want to soak the dried cherries in alcohol you can soak them in cherry juice. Soak 3-4 hours or overnight. Drain and use the cherry juice in place of the syrup in the recipe.
- You could even use frozen cherries. Defrost and drain. Use the liquid you strain off in place of the syrup.
- 1 jar Italian Maraschino Cherries (see note)
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (255g) chopped
- 8 ounces (1 1/2 sticks, 225g) unsalted butter, cut into 1" chunks
- 1 cup (8 oz, 225g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 115g) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon syrup from cherries
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup (5 oz, 150g) all purpose flour
Whipped White Chocolate-Cherry Ganache
- Drain the cherries, reserving the syrup. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 13”x9” inch baking pan and line the pan with parchment paper or foil.
- Combine the chopped chocolate and the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, stir to combine. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring between increments, until all the chocolate is melted. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the reserved cherry syrup to the chocolate, stir to combine.
- Add the eggs, stir until combined and then continue to stir vigorously for another 30 seconds. Add the flour, stir until combined. Fold in the cherries.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. If needed, shift the cherries around so they are evenly spaced throughout the batter.
- Bake until the brownies puff up a bit and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs (20-25 minutes). Cool completely in the pan before icing.
- While the brownies are baking, make the ganache frosting. Microwave the white chocolate and butter in 30 second increments until the chocolate is completely melted. Warm the cream until scalding hot and stir into the melted chocolate. Stir in the cherry syrup and a drop of (optional) red food coloring.
- Set the ganache aside at room temperature until the brownies are cooled and ready to frost.
- Use the parchment paper or foil lining to lift the brownies out of the pan onto a cutting board.
- Whip the cooled ganache until it is light and airy but still soft enough to spread. Immediately spread the ganache onto the brownies and allow to set completely before cutting. At this point the brownies can be chilled to speed up setting the frosting.
- Cut into 24 large or 32 small squares. Lift each brownie off the parchment paper and transfer to a serving platter.
Italian Maraschino cherries can be found with the cocktail mixers in your local market. Since they are a little expensive, you can substitute regular maraschino cherries or dried cherries which have been soaked overnight in the liquor or fruit juice of your choice.
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