Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: French Chocolate Brownies

On our recent trip to Seattle, one of our favorite treats at the Pike Place Market was the Chukar Cherries.

We bought several bags of the cabernet chocolate cherries as souvenirs for our friends and family.

I guess I had that on the brain when I read the recipe for this week. I thought cherries would be a great replacement for the raisins (which seemed a little odd to me, although I'm sure they would have been delicious).

In going with the Chukar theme, I was hoping to switch the rum with Cabernet, but the googling I did on the subject made it sound like maybe that wasn't the best idea (due to the low alcohol content). I stuck with the rum, but the flame wasn't nearly as exciting as I was hoping for. I also made a few other changes to the recipe due to time constraints and my usual meddling to cut out a bit of the fat and sugar, which I marked in red.

Everybody has heard about the potential health benefits of drinking moderate amounts red wine, but have you ever thought about rum? One study examined two groups of elderly individuals with regards to diet, alcohol consumption (in this case corn wine and rum), and serum lipid levels. They found a correlation between alcohol consumption and increased levels of HDL-C (the good cholesterol) and decreased levels of LDL-C (the bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol.1 While more research is needed in this area to make any definitive statements, it is an interesting study.

This is my weekly submission to Tuesdays with Dorie, hosted by Laurie of quirky cupcake. Be sure check out all the other creations by my fellow TWD bakers. A big thank you to Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook for picking this weeks recipe.

French Chocolate Brownies

- makes 16 brownies -
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden (dried cherries)
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (combo semi-sweet and bittersweet)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces (only 1 stick)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar (only 1/2 cup)

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.

Put the raisins/cherries in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes(or only 30 minutes at 350), or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

1. Ruixing Y, Shangling P, Hong C, Hanjun Y, Hai W, Yuming C, Jinzhen W, Feng H, Meng L, Muyan L. Diet, alcohol consumption, and serum lipid levels of the middle-aged and elderly in the Guangxi Bai Ku Yao and Han populations. Alcohol. 2008 May;42(3):219-29.


Engineer Baker said...

Did you just seriously footnote a TWD post? And link TWD with a healthier life? AWESOME.

Bumblebutton said...

We enjoyed Chukka cherries on a recent Seattle trip too! Nice brownie addition!

April said...

Your brownies look great!

Teanna said...

So, what are the health benefits of French Chocolate Brownies?! haha! They look great!

PheMom said...

Nice job! Your variation sounds interesting with those cherries.

April said...

Those looks amazing!

Amy said...

Yeah, rum is healthy! Your brownies look great!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Mmmm...chocolate covered cabernet cherries? Sounds scrumptious!

Susie Homemaker said...

Maybe you can be an advocate for making brownies an option for Cholesterol sufferers! I'd much prefer a brownie a day to a pill!
Nice referencing - I like that!

Heather said...

ohhh...cherries and brownies. Sounds out of this world delicious!

Christine said...

Chukka cherries sound delicious! Brownies look great!

Rebecca said...

Your brownies look like slices of fudge! Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I'm trying cherries next time for sure! Your brownies look like decadent slices of choco-goodness!

Sharon said...

They looked great, kind-of like a slab of great fudge

Shari said...

Cabernet chocolate sound delicious!
Your brownie looks like a big hunk of fudge.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Anonymous said...

Your brownies look fantastic. Great write-up.

The Kitchen Vixen said...

wow your brownies look great!

Mara said...

is that your brownie or straight chocolate?!? i can't tell, but either way it looks SO GOOD!! i love how your blog says 'eating healthy' but then you have a big brownie photo...go girl!

Jules Someone said...

Those look really rich and dense. Mmmmm.

Jaime said...

wow, your brownies look like pure fudge!!! i used cherries too, loved them

Allison said...

Chocolate and cherries are such a wonderful combination. Your brownies look great.

...And you've been tagged for a meme! Happy blogging!