2017 was the year I tasted my first Luxardo cocktail cherry. I had never even heard of them before! No surprise that my sophisticated friend Laura introduced me. We went to to BevMo to buy a jar. She told me they were expensive but I didn’t realize they were $20 a jar expensive. Woah, I wasn’t sure any cherries were worth $20 a jar. But then I tasted them and boy oh boy was I wrong.
Luxardo maraschino cherries were first made in Croatia, home to the Marasca cherry, after which maraschino gets its name. After WWII the only surviving member of the Luxardo family fled to Italy to restart his family’s cherry business. Luxardo sour Marasca cherries are candied fresh and steeped in cherry juice and sugar.
Those cherries along with my favorite chocolate cherry cake recipe (recipe to come) inspired these brownies. I was about to take the plunge and go buy my own jar of Luxardos for this recipe when I was grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and spotted a jar of “Amarena” cherries for a much easier to swallow price. Laura and I both tried them and decided that they are good – much better than maraschinos but still didn’t hold a candle to those Luxardos. But they are pretty great in these brownies.
I used one of my favorite brownie recipes from a cookbook I have called Dulce: Desserts from Santa Fe Kitchens. The brownies use ground up almonds in place of some of the flour for texture and taste. Don’t add too many cherries to the brownie mix or it will over power them, those little guys are potent.
Chocolate Cherry Brownies
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 oz. dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup almond meal/flour
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8-10 amarena, luxardo, or maraschino cherries*
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment. Chop cherries into small bits. Melt together butter and chocolate. Set aside to cool.
- Beat eggs and sugar together for 2 minutes by hand.
- Add in chocolate and butter mixture and stir a few times.
- Add in dry ingredients and stir till just combined. Add cherry bits.
- Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes.