Monday, May 24, 2010

DIY Dessert

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).


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

When I go out to dinner I have to be WOWED and more often than not come home disappointed. What a lovely way to end the meal with a homemade, satisfying chocolatey dessert.

Bruce Craig said...

Lynn, you forgot the best part. You were able to make up this recipe on your own!!! You took a standard brownie recipe and change it into something truly wonderful.

Thanks for being a wonder baker and the love of my life.


Jennifer Jo said...

Sooooo, where did you go out and what did you eat???

Melinda said...

I love to go out for dinner but I don't like getting all dressed up either. Too fussy!
The desserts are very unimaginative at most of the places we usually go. But if this chocolate cherry brownie was on the 'puddin' menu, I would definitely order that, with a side of your home made ice cream!

Natalie said...

I have the same attitude about dining out. I enjoy it every once and a while, but only when I'm craving something that I can't (or don't want to) make at home. Otherwise it seems like a waste!

Those brownies look delectable!

Abby said...

Now CHERRIES in dessert? I'm all about that.

Re: Raisins. Wellll ... if I never ate another raisin in my life I wouldn't shed any tears! But you know I've never soaked a raisin before baking with them; that's a good idea! Perhaps that would pull me over to the dark side.

The Blonde Duck said...

I feel your pain. Not only do I have a hard time eating at places where I know I can fix it better (and healthier) at home (esp. Mexican; but I review and write stories about restaurants for work all the time. I'm afraid I've become quite bitter and jaded (and learned all sorts of not so pleasant things)! and when you add in my FIL owns a restaurant--you can imagine we're a nightmare to eat out with!

Peabody said...

Oh but some of the best places to eat wouldn't pass the health inspector. :)

But I'm with you on the lack of dessert choices. Usually so disappointing. This however, does not disappoint.

kickpleat said...

I love going out to dinner, but I've never gone to a place where I have to dress up for. I'm not very fancy & neither is my husband (plus, we're kind of cheap!). Love the sounds of this brownie....I LOVE sour cherries.

Elle said...

How could they not hove somethign sinfully chocolate? On the other hand, it they did we wouldn't have gotten this lovely chocolate and cherry recipe...and you wouldn't have eaten the perfect dessert.

grace said...

i find getting all dolled up to be a hassle as well, but i do enjoy eating out. rarely, though, is the dessert as decadent and delicious as something i could make at home for a fraction of the cost. good call, lynn!

CaSaundraLeigh said...

Cherry and chocolate?! Yes please!

Kitchen Corner said...

I love cherry added in brownies as the bits of sour taste is great with the rich brownie. Good combo!

Maria said...

Cherry and chocolate are soooo good together! Love this dessert!

Barbara said...

After reading Kitchen Confidential by Tony Bourdain years ago, I worried about eating out too. But I really think it's places like McDonalds you have to worry about, not the nicer places.
We have a favorite place nearby; the food is fabulous..except for desserts. Every time I'm there I tell the waiter they should hire a pastry chef!
Yep, desserts are important!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Well, those are keys to a successful marriage: compromise and chocolate. :)

SteamyKitchen said...

Awwww what a cute note in comments from husband!!!

Big Boys Oven said...

Wow! he is nice! lol! hahaha same with Jaden's hubby too! :) we guys alway nice!:)

Unknown said...

I'm usually underwhelmed with restaurant desserts too. The brownies sound delicious!

eatme_delicious said...

I made some dark chocolate cherry cookies before and they were amazing so I can imagine how delicious this cake is! I'm always so disappointed when I look at dessert menus and don't see anything over the top like something really chocolatey.