Very easy cherry & smoked chocolate brownies (gluten-free)

Brownies have to be quick and simple to make, and they are such a versatile mixture that you can add all manner of goodies or replace some of the ingredients eg) replace the nuts with dried fruit or crushed biscuits……..

I use a recipe that I have had for decades, although I do tweak it from time to time, sometimes making it gluten-free but sometimes not.

This particular incarnation uses an ingredient that is somewhat new to me: smoked chocolate, although I must stress that if you cannot get hold of any they still taste wonderful with normal dark chocolate. And if you are not opting for a gluten-free version, use normal plain flour.

I tasted smoked chocolate at a food market recently and loved it, so I needed no persuasion to buy a large bag of it!

Smoked chocolate?

I tasted smoked chocolate at a food market recently and loved it, so I needed no persuasion to buy a large bag of it!

As I mentioned above, these brownies can of course be made with normal dark chocolate for a wickedly indulgent treat! But if you can get hold of smoked chocolate then go for it!

The smoked flavour in the chocolate is subtle – it needs to be – but the flavour comes through wonderfully in these brownies without over-powering them. I don’t use all smoked chocolate though, but you can increase or decrease the proportion according to taste.

I have since smoked some chocolate myself using oak chips and a barbeque, popping the chocolate into a small open container before covering the barbeque to keep the smoke in there, letting it cool down completely. The trick is not to have the barbeque too hot at the start so as not to melt all of the chocolate. But if some of the chocolate does melt, it is not the end of the world as it will re-set and will taste fantastic stirred into cake mixture.

A vegan version:

I have also made a successful vegan version of these, replacing the butter with a mixture of vegetable oil and walnut oil, and even on a few occasions using all olive oil. I also use vegan chocolate and omit the eggs.

In place of the eggs I add 50ml water and an extra teaspoon of baking powder, which gave enough of a rise and a very nice level of gooeyness.

Recipe: cherry & smoked chocolate brownies

  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 100g smoked dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into smallish pieces
  • 70g unsmoked dark chocolate, in chunks
  • 90g dried sour cherries, chopped roughly – ideally soaked in rum, Kirsch or Amaretto at least overnight
  • 50g chopped hazelnuts
  • 30g chopped walnuts
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g gluten-free plain white flour: but you can make this non-gluten-free using standard plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 190g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon best quality vanilla extract

(1) Preheat the oven to 160C(fan).

(2) Melt the butter and the smoked chocolate together in a small bowl either over a pan of barely simmering water or in short bursts in the microwave (10-15 seconds at a time, wait a little, then repeat: once the butter has heated up and melted, you can stir the chocolate and it will melt quickly).

(3) Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture, the eggs, nuts and cherries and stir to incorporate fully. Stir in the dark chocolate chunks.

(4) Pour into a rectangular tin, lined with greaseproof (I used a 30cm by 20cm tin). Bake for 20-23 minutes: it will have a nice crust but should feel soft underneath. Leave to cool fully in the tin before slicing. NB: if you use a larger tin, giving a thinner depth of mixture, reduce the baking time to about 20 minutes.

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2 comments

  1. I need to know more about this smoked chocolate of which you speak!!! (Awesome recipe btw!)

    Like

    1. oh it is a fab ingredient. I bought some a few weeks back at a food market stall (never seen it before!) but it is so easy to smoke it in a BBQ with wood chippings and the like.

      Like

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