Spiced chocolate brownies with cherries and cherry lemonade
It's amazing what a little change in the weather could do to our mind and body. The craving for good food creeps in and the mood elevates to a hyper state to cook up a storm. Besides laziness, I would definitely attribute my lack of energy to the terrible hot weather in the past few months, not that this short rainfall would drastically change the humidity and the dry winds that is to remain for a few more months to come!
When rest of the Indian states are blessed with abundant rain or cursed in some northern parts, the South east indian land is still parched and a slight drizzle, signalling the onset of monsoon is a much awaited change, no matter how short it is. When the temperature drops down and the weather is comparatively better or at least my mind fools itself imagining it as one of those cold winter days, chocolate fills my thought.
It has to be a cake, soft and fudgy fused with spices and cherries, there's nothing else that I would want more than this delicious brownie. Use your best cocoa and best chocolate, you'll love it so much that you might not want to share this with anyone!
The idea of using the spices whole is because, I didn't want the flavour of the spices to be overpowering and yes, you might have to warn people biting into a piece of clove, cinnamon or star anise. I bit into a clove and it tasted rather delicious!
I always stop at the sight of chocolate cake or brownies when I am out. But several disappointing tastes that have always deflated my expectations, have taught me to refrain from reaching for these beauties looking seductively dark and bitter, but laden with baking powder and tasting like sand. There were many chocolate muffins with pretty chocolate chip mound tasting bland and brownies that were either dry or too buttery, were left unfinished with a bitter experience. Now, I no longer earn for those chocolate delicacies behind those glass panels pretending to be delicious, instead I move on thinking, I have a better piece of cake in my refrigerator!
Dark chocolate 100 g
Cocoa Powder 50 g
Sunflower Oil 1/2 c
Dark brown sugar 180 g ( 1 cup packed )
Almond flour 40 g ( 5 tbsp )
Cherries 150 g ( Canned or fresh )
Cinnamon 1" piece
Star anise 1 large piece
Vanilla 1 tsp
Melt chocolate in a double boiler along with cinnamon, cloves and star anise, stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in the oil and cocoa powder until smooth.
Beat sugar and the eggs until pale and thick.
Add in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla. Mix.
Fold in the almond meal gently.
Stir in the pitted and halved cherries.
Transfer to a greased and dusted cake pan and bake at 180*c for 25minutes. The tester comes out with a few crumbs sticking to it.
I have used both canned cherries ( only because I had them and wanted to use them off ) and fresh cherries ( 100 g canned and 50 g fresh )
If using canned, use only the cherries and discard the liquid.
But I would suggest using fresh cherries, they are the best.
The brownies even when chilled will be soft and fudgy and will not become hard and dry.
Cherries 2 1/2 cup
Sugar 100 g
Water 300 ml
Juice of 1 lemon
Combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and cook until the fruits are soft.
Remove from heat and mash using a ladle.
Strain the juice and serve with mint leaves ( add water to taste if necessary).
De seed the cherries and blend with a little water, strain the juice. Measure the quantity of juice.
Combine equal amounts of sugar and water and bring to a boil. ( 1:1:1)( Sugar, water, cherry juice)
Add the strained cherry juice and lemon juice and boil until thick.
Remove from heat, leave it to cool.
Add water and mint leaves to taste and serve.
Can add soda instead of water to make cherry spritzer ( see orange spritzer ).