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Adding Cherries to Brownies


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#1 Shel_B

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:37 PM

I would like to add some cherries to my brownies.  At this time of year only dried, frozen, or jarred cherries are available.  If dried cherries were added to my brownie recipe, would the recipe have to be changed in any way?

 

It seems that dried cherries would have to be rehydrated before being added to the batter.  What's the best way to rehydrate the cherries?  Perhaps in brandy or some other liquor?  Water - although that seems like it would dilute the cherry flavor?

 

With rehydrated cherries would the liquid in the original recipe have to be adjusted, and if so, how?

 

Or, do the cherries even need to be rehydrated?

 

Thanks!.

 

 


.... Shel


#2 lesliec

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:43 PM

Hi Shel. What about glacé/crystallised cherries? They should go in with no adjustment at all.

In fact, I rather like the idea ...

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#3 Shel_B

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:46 PM

Hi Shel. What about glacé/crystallised cherries? They should go in with no adjustment at all.

In fact, I rather like the idea ...

 

I have no idea what "glacé/crystallised cherries" are.  Something like crystalized ginger, or coated with some sugar glaze?


.... Shel


#4 lesliec

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:49 PM

Kinda like that. They're common here for cakes, etc. They may be what you're calling dried, but they're fairly moist. Our dried ones are quite dry.

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#5 Shel_B

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:00 PM

Kinda like that. They're common here for cakes, etc. They may be what you're calling dried, but they're fairly moist. Our dried ones are quite dry.

 

The dried cherries I'm describing are similar in texture and moisture to raisins ... I'm assuming that NZ raisins are similar in that way to US raisins.


.... Shel


#6 lesliec

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:19 AM

That's a problem - neither of us really knows what the other has to work with. But if your cherries are like our raisins, still with a bit of moisture in them, then I'd say try them in your brownies with no modification to the recipe. Pretty low risk.

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#7 Norm Matthews

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 05:01 AM

I believe the kind of cherries lesliec is referring to are the kind used in fruitcake.  In either case, dried or candied or even coarsely chopped and drained maraschino cherries would probably work. I imagine the one thing you should be wary of is getting the fruit too hydrated or juicy because that could dilute the batter and then affect the texture of the brownies.  As long as the fruit you add does not interact with the brownie ingredients, you should be able to add them without problem. It would be similar to adding chocolate chips, raisins, nuts or other ingredients to cookies.  


Edited by Norm Matthews, 04 April 2014 - 05:02 AM.

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#8 heidih

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 07:38 AM

I think you will have a textural issue with the dried cherries as they are pretty chewy and brownies are quite soft. Without adding other flavors from booze, you could hydrate in warm water and dry well before incorporating. Maraschino and glace (fruitcake style) cherries don't sound like your style at all. When you think about it though, have you ever seen a raisin in a brownie? Maybe failed experiments are the basis for that gap.

 

I do recall my mother making a brownie type of sweet with canned cherries but that is an old vague memory without details.


Edited by heidih, 04 April 2014 - 07:39 AM.

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#9 Anna N

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:33 AM

Do a google search on "brownies with dried cherries". You'll have a number of hits including such reliable sites as Fine Cooking, Epicurious and Canadian Living.
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#10 HungryC

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:49 AM

I use Trader Joes dried sour cherries all the time in baking....soak in hot water until they swell, then squeeze dry in paper towels or a kitchen towel....but I do like to cut them in half or even quarters before soaking. A big hunk of cherry in one bite isn't always the nicest, I'd rather have smaller chunks of fruit. If you prefer sugar preserved cherries to dried, then find your nearest Italian import grocery store and buy Fabbri brand amarena cherries in syrup, sold in a distinctive blue printed milk glass container.

Cherries and almonds play well together, so sub a little almond flour for the wheat flour in your brownies when you add the cherries. And if you don't like the fruit texture in the brownies, mix the cherry syrup from the amarena cherries with some powdered sugar for a drizzle or glaze atop the brownies.
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#11 Shel_B

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 11:02 AM

When you think about it though, have you ever seen a raisin in a brownie? Maybe failed experiments are the basis for that gap.

 

 

 

Yes,I have.


.... Shel


#12 annabelle

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 11:18 AM

I think I'd replace some of the liquid, say a tablespoon or so, with kirschwasser, rather than add whole pieces of fruit.

 

That way you'll still have the flavor of cherries without a change in texture.  This would be my preference as I don't like foreign bodies in my brownies; nuts, raisins or cherries.



#13 Fernwood

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 11:48 AM

I love the dried tart cherries from Trader Joe's.  I haven't put them in my brownies but I make a killer chewy Cherry Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookie with them.  For the cookies I chop them coarsely but don't hydrate; if I was making soft-ish brownies I might steam or soak the fruit first.  

Today I think I will use the dried tart cherries along with dried apricots in Maida Heatter's California Fruit Bars, inspired by this post: http://forums.egulle...bake/?p=1959194



#14 cakewalk

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 12:22 PM

Another vote for Trader Joe's dried tart cherries, they've become a pantry staple. I used them in sweet/tart stuffed cabbage recently, they were great. But I wouldn't put them in brownies, soaked or unsoaked, I think they offer the wrong texture either way. They'd be great in those fruit bars, and I use them in cookies and biscotti instead of dried cranberries.



#15 Edward J

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 12:48 PM

I'd roughly cut the cherries in half, then "massage" in Kirsch.

 

To "massage", I put dried fruit and liquid into a mixer, put in the paddle, and let 'er rip for about 15 minutes on very slow speed until the fruit has incorporated all the liquid.  I do this all the time for fruitcake.  Cherry juice would work, as would pomegranate juice, maybe even apple juice.  Kirsch is, of course a cherry eau de vie, which is very nice but might be a bit over the top for brownies.

 

HTH...



#16 cakewalk

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 07:30 PM

I'd roughly cut the cherries in half, then "massage" in Kirsch.

 

To "massage", I put dried fruit and liquid into a mixer, put in the paddle, and let 'er rip for about 15 minutes on very slow speed until the fruit has incorporated all the liquid.  I do this all the time for fruitcake.  Cherry juice would work, as would pomegranate juice, maybe even apple juice.  Kirsch is, of course a cherry eau de vie, which is very nice but might be a bit over the top for brownies.

 

HTH...

Some people around here don't believe in mixers ... :laugh:  (But that's a nice idea, for the people who do.)



#17 janeer

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:15 PM

I put dried cherries in brownies all the time. I like Mariani brand. Just throw them in.

#18 emmalish

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:48 PM

I love the dried tart cherries from Trader Joe's.

 

Another vote for Trader Joe's dried tart cherries...

 

Well, thanks to you two, I had to swing by the store and pick some up tonight! Not sure what I'm gonna do with them yet...


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?


#19 FauxPas

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 10:23 AM

Trader Joe's also has Morello cherries, though they might be too soft? I don't know what they would be like after baking, though.

 

Here's a link where they are being used in a cherry pie:

 

http://www.themanlyh...eat-cherry-pie/



#20 Shel_B

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:45 PM

I think you will have a textural issue with the dried cherries as they are pretty chewy and brownies are quite soft.

 

I bought some TJ's dried, unsweetened cherries a few days ago, and ate a few along with a piece of the brownies that I make.  Can't say for sure if that's a reasonable test, but the texture combination seemed to be just fine to my taste.  Chocolate chips, which are quite hard by comparison, work nicely in the soft brownie.  I'll just have to bake a batch and see what happens.


.... Shel


#21 Shel_B

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:54 PM

I use Trader Joes dried sour cherries all the time in baking....soak in hot water until they swell, then squeeze dry in paper towels or a kitchen towel....but I do like to cut them in half or even quarters before soaking. A big hunk of cherry in one bite isn't always the nicest, I'd rather have smaller chunks of fruit. If you prefer sugar preserved cherries to dried, then find your nearest Italian import grocery store and buy Fabbri brand amarena cherries in syrup, sold in a distinctive blue printed milk glass container.

Cherries and almonds play well together, so sub a little almond flour for the wheat flour in your brownies when you add the cherries. And if you don't like the fruit texture in the brownies, mix the cherry syrup from the amarena cherries with some powdered sugar for a drizzle or glaze atop the brownies.

 

I am concerned that soaking dried cherries in water might dilute their flavor.  I guess I'll have to try that with the next batch of brownies I make.  Don't really care for sugar soaked cherries of the type you mention, but I've never tried them in brownies, so they maybe they'd be OK.

 

Do you think some almond extract might be a good option with the cherries?  The glaze idea sounds promising ... my ex-wife used to make Kahlua brownies, mixing the Kahlua into the batter and adding some on top as well.  Maybe something like that with cherry juice or the syrup you mentioned.


Edited by Shel_B, 05 April 2014 - 05:55 PM.

.... Shel


#22 Edward J

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 06:06 PM

You don't need to soak dried fruit with water, there are a gazillion other liquid options.  I believe I mentioned a few in my post.


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#23 pastrygirl

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 07:18 PM

Some people around here don't believe in mixers ... :laugh:  (But that's a nice idea, for the people who do.)


I guess those people probably don't have a chamber vacuum sealer either :)

I vacuum pack dried fruit with a splash of liqueur before adding it to baked goods, works nicely.

Edited by pastrygirl, 05 April 2014 - 07:19 PM.


#24 emmalish

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 08:12 PM

You don't need to soak dried fruit with water, there are a gazillion other liquid options.  I believe I mentioned a few in my post.

 

I've soaked dried cherries in orange juice before for cookies. They tasted amazing.


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?


#25 cakewalk

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 09:09 PM

I've soaked dried cherries in orange juice before for cookies. They tasted amazing.

I soak them in Amaretto for one of my favorite cakes. (A Carole Walter recipe.) I add them to biscotti unsoaked, but I dice them first, they're great with pistachios.


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#26 annabelle

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 09:18 AM

A little, and I mean very little, almond extract goes a long way, Shel.