Dark Chocolate Walnut Brownies with Brandied Berries
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 24 hr
Cook Time: 30 min
For the Brandied Berries:
- ½ Cup Cherries
- ½ Cup Blackberries
- ½ Cup Raspberries or Blueberries
- ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup Brandy
For the Brownies:
- 105 grams (3/4 cup) All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Coarse Kosher Salt
- 170 grams (6 oz) Dark or Semisweet Chocolate, Finely Chopped
- 150 grams (2/3 cup) Unsalted Butter
- 170 grams (3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon) Granulated Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Brandy
- 1 Tablespoon Cold Butter for Greasing the Pan
- ½ Cup Walnuts
Note: This batter can be a bit temperamental, I’ve broken it on several occasions by trying to save myself an extra bowl to wash and taking a shortcut. This recipe is a bit of extra work but worth it in my opinion.
- Do 12-24 hours ahead: Pit the cherries and halve the blackberries, leave the raspberries whole. Add all the berries to a jar and cover with sugar, then the brandy. Seal tightly, shake to mix, and store in the fridge. Shake it every time you open the fridge and in 12-24 hours it will be ready. (See below the recipe for a faster way to prepare the berries)
- Place an oven rack on the top rung and preheat your broiler to high for a few minutes.
- Use a bit of cold butter to lightly grease the sides and bottom of a 9x9 dish, set aside for the brownies.
- Scatter the walnuts on a sheet pan and broil them just until they began to char on their raised edges, about 2-3 minutes. Allow the walnuts to cool and lightly crush them with the bottom of a bowl.
- Put the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Whisk together the flour and salt, set aside.
- Melt the butter on the stove over medium-low heat. As SOON as the butter is melted shut off the heat and stir in the chocolate. Continue to stir until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is glossy, this may take a few minutes. Remove from the burner.
- Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, brandy, and vanilla, and whisk until just combined. Then add the butter/chocolate mixture and gently stir to combine, take care not to overmix.
- Add the flour/salt mixture and gently fold it in with a spatula until combined then fold in the walnuts.
- Transfer the mixture to the pan you greased and bake for 30-35 minutes. If you mixed the batter properly your brownies will have the crackly top. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then serve with a generous scoop of the berries and a drizzle of their syrup. For fudgier brownies, cool completely and then chill for 1-2 hours.
Did You Make It? Tag Us!
- Vegetarian: Yes! This dish is naturally vegetarian.
- Gluten Free: Use all-purpose gluten-free flour and you’re good to go!
Meal Prep: Follow these steps if you want to prep ahead of time:
- Make the berries up to 1 week ahead of time. The brownies can be made and baked up to 1 day ahead of time.
Do the berries really need 24 hours?
- Not entirely, if you need to speed up the process you can put the berries in a mixing bowl with the brandy and sugar. Keep them at room temp and stir them every 20 minutes and the sugar will dissolve faster. You can probably have them ready to go in 1-2 hours.
How does the batter break?
- Typically, this happens when you try and combine a fat with something too quickly or if you expose it to extreme heat or cold. This has happened to me by overheating the butter and failing to mix in the chocolate properly. It separates and then never binds with the batter, leaving you with greasy, burnt-tasting brownies.
Can I grease the pan with oil?
- Technically, yes. But using butter ensures you will get a really crispy edge, one of my favorite things about brownies.
Can I use the berries for anything else?
- Absolutely! Use them in this sangria recipe https://www.cleavercooking.com/?s=sangria or simmer them with a little water until they break down and spoon over ice cream with some torn basil or mint.
Can I substitute another liquor for the brandy?
- Not in this recipe. I tried it with bourbon and it really just wasn’t the same. You could give it a try with rum but I would honestly recommend waiting to make this until you have brandy on hand
Ramblings of a Line Cook
I grew up eating the Best Choice boxes of brownie mix that you would add an egg and some oil to before whisking away half the lumps and dumping it into a 9x13 casserole dish greased with cheap canola oil. And no one complained! An average brownie is still a brownie and is better than half the things you’ll find in a coffee shop pastry case on any given day.
But when you decide that you’re willing to wash a few extra bowls, willing to be present with a recipe and your ingredients, something really special can be created. Taking care that the butter is JUST melted and hasn’t boiled before stirring the chocolate into it, whisking the eggs into the sugar just until they’re combined so that your brownies don’t trap too much air and become cake-like.
Watching the walnuts carefully under the broiler and pulling them when their edges begin to char and gently pressing them with the bottom of a bowl until they pop apart but aren’t turned to dust, you’re on the right track.
And those berries… Saturated for 24 hours in equal parts brandy and sugar, you won’t believe the deep thrill they bring to this dark, decadent dish.