This past weekend, I brought home a couple of containers of fresh local cherries from the market and immediately started thinking of ways to use them (besides just eating them on their own!).
I'm not sure why, but whenever I think about cherry recipes, I always want to pair them with chocolate - it's one of those combos that just goes together so well! So after enjoying a chocolate coffee cherry smoothie for breakfast on Sunday, I decided to make cherry brownies as a treat that I could bring into work the next day.
Since I'm not usually the biggest fan of chocolatey desserts myself, I don't have a lot of experience making brownies. Luckily, some of the experts on vegan baking in the blogging world have already perfected their own brownie recipes that I was able to use as guides!
For my brownie base, I mostly followed Oh She Glows' recipe (also in her cookbook that I own), with some of these tips from Edible Perspective, except that I used a mix of oat flour and all purpose flours instead of almond meal, so mine are not gluten-free.
Instead of just adding the cherries as is to the batter, I was inspired by Annie's Eats to roast them first with a bit of maple syrup so they were nice and sweet and juicy!
While my coworkers could still tell that these were a "healthier" brownie (or maybe they just guessed because they know me and my baking by now), I loved how they turned out!
They held together well (a problem with vegan brownies I've tried in the past), and they were definitely chewy and fudgy in a stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth kind of way, with just the right amount of chocolate flavour. I also thought the roasted cherries were the perfect addition to add some extra sweetness and cut the richness of the brownies a bit.
I've still got some cherries leftover, so if you have any other favourite cherry recipes or ideas that I can use, feel free to let me know!
Vegan Roasted Cherry Brownies
Adapted from Oh She Glows, Edible Perspective, and Annie's Eats
1 cup (heaping) fresh cherries
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1.5 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
1 1/3 cups oat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
100g dark chocolate, chopped (I used 1 Lindt bar), or ½ cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup sugar*
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp instant coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 450°F. Slice the cherries in half and remove the pit (or use a cherry pitter). Places halved cherries in a small baking pan and toss with the maple syrup. Roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until they start to release their juices. Remove and let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Mix flax and water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken (I find it helps to let it sit in the fridge until all the water is absorbed).
In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, all purpose flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil, either in the microwave or over a double boiler on the stove. Add the sugar (*I followed Ashley's tip to grind it in the blender first so it's more powdery), almond milk, instant coffee, vanilla extract, and the flax mixture to the melted chocolate and stir well to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated (batter will be very thick and dry). Fold in the roasted cherries (with their juices) and the remaining chocolate chips.
Pour batter into an 8x8 or 9x9 pan (I used an 8x8) lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 30-37 minutes, until the edges have hardened and the surface is just barely firm (I baked mine for 35 minutes). Remove and let cool in the pan for at least 30-45 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to cool completely (you can remove brownies from the pan first and transfer to a wire rack). Once completely cooled, slice into pieces.
Makes 20-25 small brownies