Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Brownies
The BEST fudgy chocolate cherry brownies made completely from scratch are better than box mix and couldn't be easier to make. The cherries and juice melt into the brownies to produce an extra moist, chewy brownie.
There's something so satisfying about bars and brownies. They're one of my favorite baking categories, but this is actually my first brownie post because I really wanted to nail a perfect brownie recipe from scratch. And by golly, we did it.
These chocolate cherry brownies (aka Black Forest brownies) are SO fudgy in the center, and perfectly chewy on the edges. They have that classic crackly brownie top (see Best Brownie Tips for more info) and would make the perfect Black Forest brownie sundae by adding a big scoop of ice cream.
The best part? They're so easy to make and bake up start to finish in one hour. Yes, you need to add a bit of cooling time to that...OR you can just dive right in with a spoon!
If you're looking for something a bit less chocolate, try my Chewy Browned Butter Blondies. They have all the fudge factor with a bit of chocolate added in.
- Dry ingredients. All-purpose flour and dutch processed cocoa powder. This variety of cocoa powder is darker in color and flavor. Use black cocoa powder for an even more dramatic color. Note that Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa is the dutch processed version found in most grocery stores.
- Sugars. Both granulated sugar and light brown sugar are used in the recipe to create the best flavor and chew factor.
- Fats. Unsalted butter, plus canola or vegetable oil. This helps to produce ultra moist brownies.
- Eggs. This recipe uses three full eggs. It's best for them to be at room temperature so they can whip in best. The egg whites are the key to crinkly tops!
- Chocolate. The recipe calls for 4oz. I use ~70% cacao for bars or semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks.
- Cherries. I think frozen cherries (thawed) produce the best version, but tinned cherries or fresh pitted cherries can also be used. Note that these chocolate cherry brownies should not be made with cherry pie filling, which is different from tinned cherries.
How to make Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Brownies
Before beginning, thaw the frozen cherries completely and gently squeeze them to get rid of some of the excess liquid. Then, give them a very rough chop, mostly just having large cherries.
If using the cherries directly from frozen, note that the baking time will increase due to the thawing of cherries in the oven. I recommend thawing first.
STEP 1: Prepare an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350℉/177℃. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside.
STEP 2: Whisk together the melted butter, oil, and both sugars in a large bowl until completely combined.
STEP 3: Add the eggs and whisk vigorously for one minute. Set a timer! Your arm should be burning by the end of it.
STEP 4: Add the sifted dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to gently fold it together.
STEP 5: Throw in the chocolate and cherries and fold again to combine and evenly disperse. Then, pour into the prepared pan.
STEP 6: Bake the chocolate cherry brownies for 40-50 minutes. The center should be set and slightly jiggly, but not sloshy at all. The brownies will continue cooking and setting as they cool. Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least one hour, especially if you want clean cuts!
Best Brownie Tips
- After adding the eggs, whisk vigorously for a full minute. The agitation of the sugar with the egg whites is what produces the sought after crinkly brownie tops!
- Use Dutch processed cocoa powder. Not only does it produce a darker and richer flavor, but it also aids in a fudge brownie than natural cocoa. Read about the difference between dutch-processed and natural cocoa powder.
- Don't over bake the brownies! You'll be tempted to continue baking them, as the center tends to look too underdone. Remember, they'll continue baking as setting as they cool. Over baked brownies turn cakey, and we want fudgy!
- Completely clean off the knife in between each cut for the cleanest brownies. This means rinsing and drying fully. It's a game changer! Time in the fridge produces even cleaner cuts, but is not necessary.
Brownies are made for mix-ins and variations! I'll provide a few ideas of how you can mix it up.
- Cherries. Pitted cherries should be used for any version. I like to use frozen for this recipe, but fresh or tinned can also be used. Additionally, drained maraschino cherries can also be used. You can use either sweet or sour/tart cherries, but I prefer sweet dark cherries for this version.
- Nuts. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, and pistachios are all good options. Nut spreads (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.) are also great to swirl into the tops.
- Chocolate. While this recipe includes the addition of semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate or any other type of chocolate can also be added.
- Liquor. Try adding two tablespoons of Kirsch to the recipe for an extra boozy cherry flavor!
Storing and Freezing
Store the brownies covered with foil at room temperature for 5 days. Alternatively, you can store them in the fridge for one week.
To freeze the brownies, wrap them completely in plastic wrap, then foil, and transfer to a sealed container. Freeze the chocolate cherry brownies for two months. Completely unwrap and thaw at room temperature before enjoying.
What is the secret to chewy, fudgy brownies?
There are a couple factors that contribute to ultra fudgy brownies! First, is using enough sugar paired with the addition of fat (oil, butter, egg yolks, etc). Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs and holds liquid. This means that the sugar holds the oil, keeping the brownies moist the entire way through baking.
Second, is bake time. A perfect bake time is key to fudgy brownies. Over baking leads to cakey brownies rather than chewy brownies, so keep an eye on the time and don't be tempted to over bake. Should brownies be gooey?
This is a personal preference. Some folks like gooey brownies that are slightly under baked, and others like brownies that are baked quite a bit longer to produce a cakey texture. The amount of flour used also contributes to how gooey the brownies will be...more flour equals more cakey!
Brownies can certainly be gooey, you just want to be sure they're baked enough that they're set and not sloshy in the center. What kind of chocolate is best for brownies?
This is also a personal preference, but I prefer a semi-sweet chocolate for chips or around 60-70% cacao for chocolate bars. Milk chocolate just doesn't produce the same depth of flavor (and color) many seek in a brownie, and is a bit too sweet, as well.
For the cocoa powder, it's best to use dutch-processed or black cocoa rather than natural cocoa powder. Can I make this in a 9x9 inch pan?
Yes, definitely! Note that bake time will decrease with a larger pan size, and the brownies will be slightly thinner. Start checking for doneness at the 25-minute mark to be safe.
More Bar and Brownie Recipes to Try
- S'mores Bar Recipe
- Blueberry Pie Bars
- Edible Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites
Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Brownies
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted (170g)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 30ml
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar 150g
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 120g
- 2/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder 56g
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate roughly chopped, or use chunks or chips
- 1 cup pitted sweet cherries halved or roughly chopped (150g) - see notes
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/177℃ and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper slings (or grease the pan).
- Sift together the all purpose flour and cocoa powder into a bowl.
- In a large bowl, add the melted butter, vegetable oil, white and brown sugars to the bowl and whisk to fully combine.
- Add the salt and whisk in one egg at time to combine. Then, whisk vigorously for one full minute.
- Add the sifted flour and cocoa powder to the liquid mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold it in until almost no flour remains.
- Add the semi-sweet chocolate and chopped cherries and fold it in until evenly dispersed, then pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake in the center rack for 40-50 minutes. The center may still look slightly jiggly and underdone. If it looks sloshy, continue baking.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least one hour or until they are only slightly warm.
- Store the brownies, covered with foil and at room temperature for up to one week.
- Fresh or frozen cherries (pitted) can be used. For frozen, thaw completely and lightly squeeze out some of the excess juice. They should be as close to room temperature as possible for effective bake time.
- For the best cutting results, completely rinse and dry the knife blade in between each cut.
- If using a 9x9-inch pan, baking time will be reduced. Begin checking for doneness at the 25-minute mark.