Reimagining The Cherry Cordial

Spiff up the candy box classic with these little brownie bites.

Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Have you ever had a cherry cordial? Chances are, if you've ever gotten a box of chocolates as a gift (say, for Valentine's Day?), you have. It's a chocolate shell filled with a candied cherry and syrup. They're not my favorites in the box - more of the one I'll take a bite of and put back - mostly because they have a very artificial cherry flavor. Whatever may once have been a cherry is obscured by the sugary-sweet syrup.

But these little brownie bites recreate the ideal chocolate-cherry combination, with a much better result. The dried cherries pack plenty of natural cherry flavor, without the dampness from fresh ones. The brownie is rich and chewy and the flecks of cherries bring them to a whole new level. I like to make these in mini muffin pans, but a whole sheet cut into squares is just as tasty.

Ingredients: 
11 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 tsp instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsps dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
Recipe Steps: 
In a (very) large bowl, melt the chocolate, butter and espresso powder and mix together until smooth. Whisk in the sugars until completely combined.
Add 3 of the eggs and whisk until combined, then add the remaining 2, plus the vanilla, and beat until well mixed.
Sprinkle the flour, cocoa powder, salt and dried cherries on top of the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the mixture in until just a few streaks of white remain.
Pour the batter into a greased 9x13" metal or glass pan, or divide among greased mini cups. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes for a large pan, or 10-15 (with regular checking) for mini ones. Do not overbake!