Cherry season is popular in my house, I can tell by the heavy stained shirts and crimson red chins. So when my wife brought home a huge three pound box of cherries (thanks Costco) it was time to get my cherry pitter ready! These cherry chocolate almond blondies were about to go down.
As much as I like brownies I think I might prefer blondies. The dark brown sugar gives them that malty flavor and they’re such a blank canvas for so many ingredients. I messed around with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen where Deb calls them “Infinitely Adaptable” and that’s so true. Before I bake with cherries I like to add some extra flavor and soften them up a bit. Usually a drop of liquid and some sugar will reduce them down into a syrupy sauce and then you can fold them in to whatever you’re baking. Another benefit to doing it this way is that the soft cherries will break apart and you’ll end up with more of a swirl through the dough rather than a whole piece of fruit. I’m all about the swirl and mixing my flavors!
When I saw Deb’s recipe I knew it would be good. Heavy on the dark brown sugar and lots of butter makes for a perfect blondie. All I had to do was add my squishy cherries, big chunks of salty dark chocolate and almonds. I almost went with white chocolate but after a quick Facebook poll, it fell to the dark stuff, next time I’m definitely using white chocolate. Because I added extra ingredients, the baking time took a little longer but watch it carefully. You want these blondies to be moist, a slightly under cooked blondie wont kill you but a dry blondie will make you sad. No drippy tears are allowed in these blondies!
Cherry Chocolate and Almond Blondies
- For the cherry mixture:
- 3 cups cherries washed and pitted
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar dark or light
- 2 tablespoons cherry jam
- Zest of 1 orange
- For The Batter:
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted, 4oz
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1 bar of good quality dark chocolate chopped into big chunks, plus half a bar for melting and drizzling on top., 3.5oz
- Seas salt for sprinkling on top
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 brownie pan with parchment paper.
- Combine the cherries, brown sugar, jam and zest in a pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 12-15 minutes and the cherries are soft. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer mix the melted butter and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla. Beat well making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl down between mixes.
- Fold the flour in using a spatula then add the cherries, almonds and chocolate.
- Gently fold through and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
- Spread the mixture out bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the blondies with some sea salt when they come out the oven and let cool.
- Once cool, melt the leftover chocolate and drizzle it over the blondies. Cut into 9 squares or smaller if preferred.
If you don't let the pastry rest in the freezer, the sides may shrink when baking. Adapted from From Smitten Kitchen, http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/11/blondies-for-a-blondie/