Monday, May 24, 2010
My husband and I rarely go out for dinner. Weird as it may seem, I don't find eating out relaxing. My everyday wear is jeans and Danskos, so to dress up and put on a skirt and heels isn't relaxing. I worry about the hygiene in the kitchen. Did our server look like the kind of person to spit in our food? And I fret about the cost. Why should I pay outrageous prices for something that I can jolly well cook myself for a fraction of the cost? And tip on top of that??
For my husband's sanity and the sake of our marriage, I've reached a compromise. I'll happily go out if I can wear my jeans and comfy shoes, if the caliber of the restaurant suggests cleanliness is not a special order, and if I can order something that's too time-consuming or tricky for me to make at home.
Recently hubs and I had just such a dinner out. It was lovely and we both enjoyed our food. But when we looked at the dessert menu, it just wasn't right. There was nothing deeply chocolatey. While we scanned the menu, we bounced ideas back and forth about the perfect dessert for that moment. We arrived at fudgey brownies with cherries and a dark chocolate cherry ganache. That wasn't on the menu, so when we got home I made them. Mmmmm, perfect ending for the best dinner out in a long time!
Cherry Brownies with Chocolate Cherry Ganache
1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 oz (90 g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (220 g) sugar
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (90 g) cake flour, sifted
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup drained, chopped canned sour cherries (juice reserved)
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. (180 C). Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving at least 2 inches hanging over the edge of the pan, and lightly grease the foil.
2- In a saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and chopped unsweetened chocolate. Heat, stirring often,until melted, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. Sprinkle the sifted flour over the mixture and stir until just blended. Gently stir in the chips and chopped cherries.
3- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost completely clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Crumbs may cling to the toothpick. Do not overbake, or you'll lose that marvelous fudgey texture!
4- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5- While the brownies are cooling, make the ganache. Place the reserved juice from the sour cherries plus enough juice to equal 1/2 cup into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, till the juice is reduced and is the consistency of syrup.
6- Add the cream to the saucepan and warm just till small bubbles appear around the edges. Pour the cherry-cream mixture over the chopped bittersweet chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir until all the chocolate is dissolved.
7- Pour the ganache over the brownies and let them sit for an hour for the ganache to set up. This can be speeded up by popping the brownies into the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
8- When the ganache has set, pull the brownies out of the pan, using the foil as handles. Set them on a cutting board and peel back the foil. Cut into 16 or 25 squares (depending on how big you like your brownies).