Brandy Cherry Brownies with Cocoa Powder


Brandy Cherry Brownies with Cocoa Powder are a decadent chocolate treat for adults that combines dessert and post-dinner drinks! Super simple and easy – ideal for the holidays. No nuts, no chocolate!  Jump to Recipe 

a stack of easy brandy cherry brownies with cocoa powder glazed with brandy caramel

Super chocolatey Fudge Brownies made with Cocoa Powder & Topped with Brandy Cherries! 

Chocolate, cherries, and brandy – a truly decadent combination that makes these little chocolate bombs fun for adults! 

Everyone needs one of those easy-to-throw-together chocolate desserts that can be whipped up in minutes and just thrown into the oven quickly while you’re taking care of all the other day-to-day nonsense. Usually, because your partner or kid waited until the absolute last minute to tell you that they have some sort of event that they can’t show up empty-handed to.

Enter my Brandy Cherry Brownies with Cocoa Powder! And yes, you’re reading this correctly: With. Cocoa. Powder.

overhead shot of three stacked brandy cherry brownies with cocoa powder 

What’s more: I’m not trying to sneak in the cocoa powder as some sort of cost-effective, health-conscious, boring-forward alternative to taking a nice, dark, and decadent bar of chocolate (minus a mandatory nibble or two) and magically transforming it into a baked good. No.

When it comes to finding the best brownies, I have turned over every stone, I have checked under every cushion, and I have raided every tomb (because short-shorts, I work hard dang it) for all the brownie-related wisdom to be had out there. And I have boiled it all down to one ultimate, unassailable truth: cocoa powder beats melted chocolate every time. Full stop. Mike drop.

a stack of the best brandy cherry chocolate brownies made with cocoa powder

It’s hard to wrap your head around at first. Just imagine taste-testing a teaspoon of melted chocolate vs. a teaspoon of dry cocoa powder. It ends up looking an awful lot like the “cinnamon challenge”.

However, here are very good reasons why I use cocoa in this recipe: 

Cocoa Powder vs Melted Chocolate in brownie recipes: 

As beloved as our favorite chocolate bars are, the ingredient list on the wrapper contains far more than just “chocolatey goodness”. At the very least we’re looking at added sugars, additional fats, vanilla, and often emulsifiers and stabilizers. The real key here is the additional fats.

Chocolate bars most commonly use cocoa butter, while brownies made using cocoa powder require the addition of regular butter to make them work. Regular butter is much softer than cocoa butter at room temperature. Also at straight-out-of-the-fridge temperature, if that’s how you prefer to eat your brownies.

a fudgy cherry chocolate brownie on a small plate

This means that on top of having a much smoother texture, cocoa powder brownies won’t get dry and crumbly over time the way that brownies made with melted chocolate will.

Using melted chocolate also means that you tend to have to use more flour in your recipe due to having a higher moisture content whereas cocoa powder actually partially takes the place of flour in bringing everything together. 

You also get a much deeper, truer chocolatey taste using cocoa powder. After all, cocoa powder is 100% cocoa, whereas melted chocolate comes with all the other hangers-on we’ve previously mentioned.

two brandy cherry chocolate brownies on cake plates with cherry blossoms on the side

Which cocoa powder works best in brownies? 

Now, you have several options when it comes to different cocoa powders. Just so we’re clear – more expensive does not mean better here. I have had the best brownie results using the cheap no-name brand stuff we get in Canada. For baking in particular you also have the option of using Dutch-process cocoa powder or even black cocoa powder. It all comes down to preference and budget.

close-up stacked brownies studded with brandy cherries and glazed with brandy caramel

Tips: 

  • If cherries aren’t your thing, don’t be afraid to experiment with other stone-fruit/liqueur combinations. Plums and port, peaches and calvados, or maybe apricot and Armagnac!
  • These tipsy cherry brownies are best enjoyed with sour cherries, but can also be baked with sweet cherries.
  • Make sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder. 

More easy Brownie recipes you will love: 

Did you make and love this easy brandy cherry brownies recipe with cocoa powder? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

a stack of easy chocolate brownies with cocoa powder topped with brandy cherries
5 from 2 votes
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Brandy Cherry Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Chocolate, cherries and brandy - a truly decadent combination that makes these little chocolate bombs fun for adults! These tipsy cherry brownies are best enjoyed with sour cherries, but can also be baked with sweet cherries.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword brownies with cocoa powder, cherry brownies, easy brownie recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 9
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

For the brandy cherries:

  • 50 g sugar 1/4 cup
  • 40 ml juice from the cherries drippings from fresh cherries, or the liquid that forms around frozen thawed cherries, or liquid from a jar of canned cherries, use more brandy if you cannot get to the amount
  • 60 ml brandy 1/4 cup
  • 150 g sour cherries fresh, frozen thawed or from the glass, drained

For the batter

  • 140 g butter 2/3 cups
  • 200 g sugar 1 cup
  • 65 g unsweetened cocoa 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs L
  • 70 g flour 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Put the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan or pan with a heavy base and let it caramelize on medium-high heat without stirring. Deglaze with cherry juice and brandy, bring to a boil, stir and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let the mixture boil for about 5 to 6 minutes so that the sugar dissolves and the sauce is slightly reduced.
  2. Put the cherries in the hot brandy sauce. Simmer everything for 2 minutes, then switch off the stove and let the cherries steep for approx. 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Line a 20 x 20 cm baking pan with baking paper.
  4. Melt the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a bowl over a hot water bath, stirring occasionally. When the mixture appears almost hot, stir everything with a whisk and remove from the water bath. The mixture looks like it has curdled at first, but that happens.
  5. Let the mixture cool until the mass is only warm, then stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the two eggs one after the other, stirring vigorously after each egg.
  6. As soon as the batter appears shiny, stir in the flour and use a wooden spoon to stir the dough vigorously several times. Put the batter in the tin and smooth it out.

  7. Now press the cherries lightly into the brownie batter. Save the thick sauce that has gathered around the cherries. Bake brownies for approx. 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle only comes out with a few moist crumbs. Brush the brownie warm with the brandy sauce and let them cool completely before cutting.

Recipe Notes

  • If cherries aren’t your thing, don’t be afraid to experiment with other stone-fruit/liqueur combinations. Plums and port, peaches and calvados, or maybe apricot and Armagnac!
  • These tipsy cherry brownies are best enjoyed with sour cherries, but can also be baked with sweet cherries.
  • Make sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder. 


2 Comments


  1. Die besten Brownies, da hast du echt nicht übertrieben – hätte nie gedacht dass das ohne Schokolade geht. So super schokoladig. Hab normalen Dr Oetker Kakao genommen! Hatte keinen Brandy und hab Kirschwasser genommen — Schwarzwälder Kirsch Brownies!!!! SO gut!

  2. Thomas Alan Johnson


    Holy cow – these are AMAZING! Mega uber chocolatey. I added some chopped nuts.

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