TWD: French Chocolate Brownies

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

For me, one of the simple pleasures in life is sitting down with a warm, fudgy brownie and an ice cold glass of milk. It just doesn’t get much better than that! So, when I learned that this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was for French Chocolate Brownies, I was psyched. You can never have too many brownie recipes in your baking arsenal. My thanks go out to Di from Di’s Kitchen Notebook for selecting this recipe.
These are not your regular run of the mill brownies either. They contain some ingredients that are not typical of the average brownie, namely, cinnamon, raisins and rum. The cinnamon I could handle, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of raisins and rum in a brownie. I needed to make some substitutions. What I ended up using instead were dried sweet cherries and creme de cassis. Creme de cassis is a black currant liqueur. It is fragrant and fruity and very delicious! I had actually wanted to use a cherry brandy or liqueur, but I didn’t have either.

I was very pleased with the end result. The brownies were incredibly moist, dense and and chocolaty. The cherries were the perfect counterpoint to that. While I would have never thought to put dried fruit in a brownie, this combination worked really well together.

Would I make these brownies again? Maybe. It’s not my favorite brownie recipe, but it is a very good one.

If you’d like to see some other creative takes on this recipe, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll.

French Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar


Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you’re using it.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you’ve got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it’s better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
Makes 16 brownies

48 responses to TWD: French Chocolate Brownies

  1. On June 03, 2008 at 8:28am, joanne at frutto della passione said...

    I’ll be right over – don’t worry, I’ll being my own milk!

  2. On June 03, 2008 at 8:40am, bakingwiththeboys said...

    I thought about cherries. Great substitution!

  3. On June 03, 2008 at 8:54am, LyB said...

    I wouldn’t have thought of putting dried fruit in brownies either but I ended up liking these a lot. I love your idea of switching the fruit and the alcohol, wonderful variation!

  4. On June 03, 2008 at 9:07am, Engineer Baker said...

    Creme de cassis sounds like a wonderful substitution!

  5. On June 03, 2008 at 9:26am, Flanboyant Eats said...

    oh wow… i love love love brownies like my designer shoes!and even better with rum.

  6. On June 03, 2008 at 9:36am, Manggy said...

    Those may not be your favorite but they look pretty darn perfect from here!! (Note to self: Stop reading food blogs at 11:30PM. Stomach complaining.) I could eat the whole plate up there!

    Not that we’re even a little bit French here, but I love Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut chocolate bars, so I’m pretty psyched by raisins in chocolate (my brother hates them).

  7. On June 03, 2008 at 9:40am, ann marie said...

    i put raisins in my brownies all the time…..and candied ginger too…..i love that combo.

  8. On June 03, 2008 at 9:45am, rainbowbrown said...

    I could just stare at that second picture forever. Yum.

  9. On June 03, 2008 at 10:12am, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Joanne- Come on over! I’ve got one with your name on it. 😉

    BakingwiththeBoys- Thanks! It’s a little like Black Forest cake.

    LyB- I really liked them too. I do think the cherries were a better choice.

    Engineer Baker- It was. I love cassis!

    Fanboyant- Glad you like them! Brownies v. Shoes….that’s a choice I wouldn’t want to make! 😉

    Manggy- Lol! I know what you mean. I’m usually cruising the blogs late at night too.

    I love the Cadbury F&N bars and Raisinets too, but coudn’t bring myself to put them in brownies. Don’t know why.

    Ann Marie- I’m sure they’re great, but see above.

    RainbowBrown- Thanks! Glad you like it!

  10. On June 03, 2008 at 10:51am, Nikki57 said...

    Your substitutions sound fab. I love rum and all, but creme de cassis just sounds tastier

  11. On June 03, 2008 at 10:54am, Mary said...

    Nice looking brownies! Love your blog too.

  12. On June 03, 2008 at 11:21am, PheMom said...

    I love your sub’s! Yum! Beautiful job as always!!

  13. On June 03, 2008 at 11:27am, SiHaN said...

    Great idea! Plus your platter on brownies certainly look irresistible!

  14. On June 03, 2008 at 12:28pm, The Kitchen Vixen said...

    they look wonderful! great job.

  15. On June 03, 2008 at 1:05pm, CookiePie said...

    Gorgeous brownies! I love the cassis idea – I have a huge bottle for blueberry pies, always wanted something else to use it in – I’ll have to try this recipe.

  16. On June 03, 2008 at 1:06pm, Mike of Mike's Table said...

    😮 those look delicious! Its been too long since I had brownies. And good call on cherries–they’re like my new strawberries now that they’re in season, lol.

  17. On June 03, 2008 at 1:22pm, Mary Ann said...

    they look so good! Great job

  18. On June 03, 2008 at 1:53pm, Mara said...

    ooooh i used chambord and raspberries..i love your cherry and creme de cassis variation too. there are so many wonderful ways these brownies can be enjoyed. yours look nice and thick!!!

  19. On June 03, 2008 at 3:14pm, Jen of A2eatwrite said...

    What a wonderful recipe! I wonder how chopped candied orange and cointreau or grand marnier would work. I’m a sucker for orange-chocolate anything.

  20. On June 03, 2008 at 4:04pm, Mary said...

    Raisins do sound odd in a brownie, but I could definitely go for one with cherries and creme de cassis! Your’s look delcious!

  21. On June 03, 2008 at 4:33pm, Melissa said...

    Your crackly top loos so pretty!

  22. On June 03, 2008 at 5:47pm, Heather said...

    Your brownies look delicious! Great job!

  23. On June 03, 2008 at 5:50pm, Christine said...

    Next time I am so doing dried cherries! Chocolate and cherries oh yum! Your pics are beautiful and your brownies look delicious!

  24. On June 03, 2008 at 6:21pm, likesprinkles said...

    Your pictures are absolutely beautiful! Great job. And it’s good to hear that you enjoyed the brownies!

  25. On June 03, 2008 at 7:47pm, Nicole said...

    I think you made a good choice substituting cherries for raisins. I am not hot on raisins except in cereal. But with Cassis on hand… maybe you should go for a Kir instead of milk with these French brownies!

  26. On June 03, 2008 at 8:06pm, Kevin said...

    Those brownies look good. I never would have thought to use rummed raisins in brownies.

  27. On June 03, 2008 at 8:34pm, Rebecca said...

    I’m impressed with your willingness to experiment with this recipe. I didn’t make any substitutions (just dropped the raisins), but I will next time!

  28. On June 03, 2008 at 9:45pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Nikki- Thanks! I really like the fruity booze, especially in desserts!

    Mary- Thank you. Come back any time! :)

    PheMom- Glad you like them!

    SiHaN- Thanks! They didn’t last long.

    Vixen- Thanks!

    CookiePie- Glad you like them! I love cassis too. It really went well with the chocolate.

    Mike- Thank you! Yeah, I’m really feeling the cherries these days. Hard to resist them!

    Mary Ann- Glad you like them!

    Mara- Lol! I almost used Chambord too. But then, I noticed the bottle of cassis. I’m glad you liked my variation.

    Jen- Orange and Cointreau would be divine! I love orange and chocolate together too.

    Mary- Thanks! I definitely liked the cherries better.

    Melissa- Thanks! A lot of people complained about their crackly tops, but I really liked it.

    Heather- Thank you! Glad you liked them!

    Christine- Thank you so much! You’re very sweet!

    Likesprinkles- I’m so glad you enjoyed the pictures. Brownies are delicious, but not very photogenic. 😉

    Nicole- Thanks! A Kir sounds like a great idea! 😉

    Kevin- Neither did I, but it works! :)

    Rebecca- Thank you! It was an easy swap. I’m usually not terribly adventurous with these things. 😉

  29. On June 04, 2008 at 1:54am, Mochachocolata Rita said...

    i never made brownies before…and this one sounds doable…lemme preheat my oven hehe

  30. On June 04, 2008 at 2:15am, Grace said...

    nice recipe tweaking! my preferences for fruit are completely baffling to me–for example, i love grapes and hate raisins. fresh cranberries don’t do it for me, but i could eat an entire bag of ’em dried. i love oranges and grapefruit but can’t choke down their juices. i have no explanation for these things except that i’m a fickle, fickle gal. :)

  31. On June 04, 2008 at 3:37am, noskos said...

    Job well done, they look great!

  32. On June 04, 2008 at 8:30am, CB said...

    Currant liqueur! How fun. Great job!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  33. On June 04, 2008 at 12:38pm, Shari said...

    Wow-dried sweet cherries and creme de cassis. Sounds delicious!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  34. On June 04, 2008 at 12:54pm, Cakespy said...

    That shot of the insides makes me want to faint. It sounds like you’ve added some delicious touches to a good recipe! Sometimes it is nice to try something a little different, even if you don’t make it again!

  35. On June 04, 2008 at 1:19pm, noble pig said...

    Yum. These look so moist and yummy! Love em’ just love em’!

  36. On June 04, 2008 at 3:00pm, Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

    Raisins in brownies is just pure insanity………someone needs some prozac that thought up that recipe.

    I love the cherry idea….chocolate covered cherries. Fatwitch makes a cherry brownie and it is to die for.

    I like chocolate covered raisins.

  37. On June 04, 2008 at 6:04pm, Cakelaw said...

    Just gorgeous Susan – save one for me please!

  38. On June 04, 2008 at 6:43pm, The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

    I’d be loath to put raisins in my brownies too.

    However, I’d do rum. But your choice of booze was good too.

    If this isn’t your favorite brownie recipe, then I’d love to know what is your favorite brownie recipe. How can one not want the brownie recipe of someone who calls her blog Sticky, Gooey, Creamy Chewy?

  39. On June 04, 2008 at 6:59pm, Kim said...

    Susan, they look so good. Not a milk drinker but wouldn’t mind having one with a cup of coffee.

  40. On June 04, 2008 at 8:58pm, ann marie said...


    i couldnt wait for the tc thread

  41. On June 05, 2008 at 2:53am, Rose&Thorn said...

    I’m getting fat just reading about these brownies!

  42. On June 05, 2008 at 8:25am, Patricia Scarpin said...

    I love how the top of your brownies looks, Susan – not to mention their beautiful color!

  43. On June 05, 2008 at 8:58am, Cookie baker Lynn said...

    I was a little dubious about raisins in brownies. Your substitution is inspired! Also, drop by my site to pick up an award. :-)

  44. On June 05, 2008 at 6:58pm, Susie Homemaker said...

    They weren’t my favorite either – but you sure made them look like you loved them with those gorgeous pics! Nice job, and I look forward to your tarts next week!

  45. On June 05, 2008 at 11:56pm, Dolores said...

    Another cherry lover! And I’m intrigued by the addition of creme de cassis… if I try a cherry brownie again I will do it your way.

  46. On June 06, 2008 at 9:45pm, Jaime said...

    your brownies look so perfect. i enjoyed these w/cherries as well… rum didn’t sound great w/them but i couldn’t really taste the rum anyway…cherry liqueur sounds amazing

  47. On June 07, 2008 at 11:31pm, Maria Lamadore said...

    OMG!!!! Can you mail me some of these :) They wouldn’t be the same if I made them. Miss you. Maria Lamadore

  48. On June 08, 2008 at 7:35pm, White On Rice Couple said...

    your first sentence got me….fudgey brownies with ice cold milk! I want some so bad Susan!

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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