Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cranberry Chocolate Brownies

Cranberry Chocolate Brownies b2-w

"Sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of."

I can vouch for the sugar, heck maybe even a bit of spice, but clearly the author of the poem forgot the most important part. That indulgent secret of the ancient Aztecs: liquid gold, aka chocolate. Show me a woman who can refuse chocolate. Only a few of us are strong willed enough. The rest succumbs weak kneed every time to the magical promises of the wonder drug, telling ourselves "just one more bite". 

When our first godchild was born - a little boy - I celebrated by making savoury muffins. This time around the kidlet on the way is a little girl and when I was asked to bring something edible to the babyshower it was virtually impossible to drag my wandering thoughts away from chocolate-y treats. I also wanted to try and incorporate the theme "A touch of pink" and so I scoured the online world for berry filled brownies.  

Cranberry Chocolate Brownies a3-w

I was all set to go. Until I got to our local grocery store (who shall remain nameless - they can be thankful for that!). Now I didn't expect to find fresh berries, after all, it's definitely not in season. But the frozen goods aisle was devoid of berry goodness as was the tinned goods aisle.

I very nearly stomped my feet and made a scene (to accomplish what, I don't know), when I remembered that I still had a bag of dried cranberries at home. And wouldn't their tart chewiness be the *perfect* counterpart to the oozy chocolate surrounding them? 'Course yes. Not to blow my own horn, but the brownies were a hit. Of course, it was bound to be, what with the insane amount of chocolate and butter that went into them. 

These cranberry chocolate brownies are definitely not your everyday snack - for that they are far too rich. But if you need a pick-me-up or perhaps you're celebrating a little girl of your own, these are absolutely perfect. And naturally, only women are able to fully appreciate them. At least, that's what I like to tell TheHusband in order to make sure I get more than my fair share. You'll back me up on that, won't you?

Cranberry Chocolate Brownies d4-w2

Cranberry Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Coconut & Lime
Makes about 24

150g dried cranberries
185g (3/4 cup) salted butter
360g (8 oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cake flour

1. Place cranberries in a small bowl with hot water and allow to soak for 15 - 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. 
2. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) pan and set aside. 
3. Melt butter in a fairly large saucepan over medium-high heat. Turn heat off and add chocolate pieces, stirring until all is melted.
4. Remove from the stove and add sugar, stirring to combine. Add eggs one by one and beat well after each addition. The batter should look glossy at this stage. 
5. Add vanilla essence and cranberries, gently stir through, then add cake flour and mix thoroughly to ensure all is evenly incorporated. The batter will be fairly thick.
6. Spoon batter into the greased pan, smoothing on top, then place in oven and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool down before slicing into squares. Brownies will keep in the fridge for a few days (if you're able to make them last that long...).

When I made these brownies, I drizzled the top with a simple icing made of icing sugar, a tiny bit of water and a drop of red food colouring for a touch of colour, but this is entirely optional and doesn't really have much of an effect on the taste.


Sylvia on April 20, 2011 12:43 am said...

Looks delicious and I love the cranberries and chocolate combination

Joanne on April 20, 2011 1:47 am said...

I am so loving the idea of tart cranberries against that liquid gold base. And yes, chocolate is certainly what girls are made of. I mean...they do say "you are what you eat"...

Valerie Gamine on April 20, 2011 2:02 am said...

Cranberries and chocolate, that's brilliant! These look delicious...definitely 'girly' brownies. :D

Homemade Heaven on April 20, 2011 10:12 am said...

I am glad to see for the first godchild you didn't try making something with Frogs and snails And puppy-dogs' tails!
Love these brownies - a wonderful celebration for a girl!

Marisa on April 20, 2011 10:30 am said...

@Rosemarie - I thought it might be better not to! Imagine the taste. :-)

Juanita on April 20, 2011 11:14 am said...

Such a good idea using the food colouring-icing sugar as a decorative drizzle.
Really like the use of the matching pink flowers as well. Very girly indeed :-)

Colleen on April 20, 2011 11:59 am said...

YUMMY!!! Brownies are, after all, essential to life! These look delish. Do you know that eating chocolate on a daily basis while pregnant makes for a happy laid back baby?? S'trooooo :) xx

Délices d´Ispahan on April 20, 2011 8:35 pm said...

The pink flowers and the pink icing looks very nice...

Cindy on April 21, 2011 5:28 am said...

Very pretty :)

Anonymous said...

I think you just perfected the brownie.
:-) Mandy

Linda Harding on April 21, 2011 4:20 pm said...

Oh wow, whomever was the lucky recipient of these gorgeous brownies must be smiling indeed! So beautiful! Now the only problem what on earth will we make to top this for YOUR baby shower?? xx

Yum Yucky on April 23, 2011 3:47 am said...

Those are the prettiest brownies I ever done seen. They belong in my stomachs, of course.

ming-cheau on April 24, 2011 3:48 am said...

Such gorgeous photographs lady. Congratulations again :)

Nina on April 26, 2011 8:37 am said...

Marisa, the images are outstanding. light perfect!! The brownies......I will erase the image from my memory while I detox this week!!

Koek! on April 26, 2011 1:02 pm said...

Those are the prettiest brownies I've ever seen!
Robyn x

Mindy on April 27, 2011 8:17 pm said...

Brilliant! I love chocolate covered cranberries but never thought of putting them together in brownies. Clearly I have been living under a rock. We shall rectify that immediately.

kankana on May 05, 2011 3:49 am said...

it looks divine .. so pretty and I love brownies a lot. With that cranberries .. mm mm mmmm

Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy on May 05, 2011 9:29 pm said...

Really like the styling with little pink flowers..brings up the essence of cranberries.I eat so many brownies around city bakeries but never baked them at home.Look awesome.
Thanks for stopping by :)

Julia @Mélanger on May 06, 2011 1:48 am said...

I love your alternative for the brownies. I would never have thought of cranberries. The tartness would be delicious with the sweetness of the chocolate - and sugar!

Lovely photographs, too. :)

Maria on May 06, 2011 9:42 am said...

Yum they do look delicious!

arcadia on May 07, 2011 8:03 am said...

Dit lyk amazing! En so pretty.

sheila @ Elements on June 25, 2011 6:50 pm said...

These look scrumptious! I've been in the mood for brownies, and I've been wondering what to make with those cranberries in my freezer so I'll bookmark this so I can give it a try sometime. The icing on the top looks great! Makes the brownies look so festive and pretty! :)

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