Beginnings can be daunting – so why not begin with brownies? Not that these are exactly your average slab of chocolate slice kind of deal. Yeah, they taste a hell of a lot like chocolate and, yeah, they’re awesome, but there’s no chocolate (per-se) in them, or butter, and they’re not so much like a comforting crocheted blanket pulled up to your chin on a winter’s night as they are like a comforting kick in the face.
Really the only reason I made these was because my mum came to stay with me after a trip to Canberra. She’d been to Costco while she was there – adventure city that our national capital is – and bought me a huge bag of dried cherries. I hadn’t been baking much at the time, because I was pretty busy, kinda poor – oh, and my oven sucks. Then the cherries arrived and I decided brownies were in order.
These are boozy, dark and full of tart-sweet kahlua-soaked cherries. Given the only fat in them is half a cup of oil, they aren’t as heavy as most brownies. However, they are very intense and also rather shiny, like a gilded chocolate breastplate (I’ve been reading A Clash of Kings). If for whatever reason you can’t/won’t use dried cherries, you could use craisins. Or even substitute the kahlua for rum and the cherries for raisins for rum ‘n’ raisin brownies. Do what you like. I’m not your mother.
1 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup kahlua (or some other liqueur)
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup vegetable or nut oil
1 cup cocoa
½ cup plain flour
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ tsp salt
Soak cherries in kahlua overnight (or you can put them in the microwave for a few minutes until they soak up some of the liquid). When your cherries have plumped up, combine eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in flour, cocoa, coconut, salt. Then add the cherries and kahlua. Pour mixture into lined brownie tin. Cook in moderate oven for about 30 minutes or until the top of the brownies looks set. If you wobble the tray and nothing moves of its own accord: they’re done. Let the brownies cool and cut them into squares.