Sour cherry and pecan fudge brownies

Ingredients:
230g Dark chocolate at least 80% coco solids (I used Green & Blacks)
225 butter
150 ground almonds (you might have to add a bit more if consistency is too wet)
185g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
100g sour cherries and roughly chopped pecans (approx. measurement, I usually just throw in by hand.  You can use any fruit/buts combo you like)
Handful of dessicated coconut (again approximate)
3 eggs beaten (I used large eggs, medium would also work but it won’t be as wet)

Method:
Preheat oven to around 175C. Butter and line a brownie tray roughly 20×30 cms, you can use a smaller one or different shape baking tin

Melt butter and chocolate over a very low heat in a heavy based saucepan, stirring well.  Once melted take the pan off the heat and add the vanilla essence and sugar, mix well and the let it cool slightly. Next add the eggs and ground almonds and mix thoroughly before adding the nuts, fruit and coconut, save a few pecans to scatter on top.  At this stage if the mixture looks too wet you can throw in a bit more almonds or coconut, fruit or nuts and give it another mix.  The mixture will be loose and will also seem to move as one as if there is an emulsion round it – so not sticking to the pan particularly, it’s weird but it’s fine!

Tip the mixture in to the brownie tray and smooth out.  Then scatter your reserved pecans on top.  I also stud in a few more sour cherries at this point as I love them.  Place in the middle of the oven for approximately 25-30 mins.  I ended keeping mine in for closer to 30 mins.  You have to judge it, the top should be firm, and when you insert a skewer it will come out with moisture and crumbs on it.  Press the top lightly as well, it should feel quite firm.  Take the tray out and leave to cool for a bit  in the tray before lifting out on to a cooling rack.  Make sure they are completely cold before you cut them up, with a very sharp knife dipped in hot water on a flat surface. Then lightly dust with icing sugar.   They will be quite gooey and sticky (hence the hot water for the knife), but if bits falls off they are easily squidged back on – once dusted with the icing sugar no one will ever know! Delicious on their own or with a dollop or cream or creme fraiche.

Mind you, you’ll be lucky if they make it to the really cold stage, they always get eaten warm in my house.  TIP: Mini marshmallows work incredibly well in this as an alternative to the fruit.

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