Allergy Friendly Sweets for Your Sweethearts
by Kathy Przywara
This is one of my favorite desserts! An ooey, gooey brownie with cherries! What's not to love! I usually bake this in an 8" springform pan, but I use a heart shaped mini Bundt pan for a wonderful Valentine's dessert.
Black Forest Brownies
1/2 cup cherry pie filling
(canned or homemade)
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
OR for gluten free:
1/4 cup white rice or sorghum flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup "starch" - use all tapioca starch or a combination of 2 Tbsp potato starch plus 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup margarine, butter, shortening or liquid oil *(see note below)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup applesauce
Additional cherry pie filling
Whipped cream or non-dairy topping or Whipped Cream Frosting
If making your own Cherry Topping or Pie Filling (see below for recipe), prepare and set aside to cool. When measuring, try to get mostly cherries and not too much of the syrup part.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare your pan. If using an 8" round pan, lightly grease bottom, fit with a parchment round, and lightly grease parchment. The parchment is optional, but highly recommended if you want to remove the brownie from the pan to decorate and serve. If using a mini Bundt pan, make sure it is well greased. Get in all those crevices well or you will have trouble getting it out of the pan!
In a medium bowl, combine cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together well making sure there are no lumps of cocoa.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt margarine, butter, shortening or oil. Add brown sugar and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips and stir until they are melted. Allow to cool for 5 min.
Stir in applesauce until well combined. Add dry ingredients and stir to combine. When almost all the dry goods are incorporated, add remaining chocolate chips and finish stirring to combine. Do not overmix. Add cherries and fold to combine.
Scrape batter into prepared pan making sure to get all that chocolaty goodness out of there. If using mini Bundt pan, fill each well to about 3/4 full. The number of mini cakes will depend on the size. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
Bake at 350F for 18 to 20 minutes or until it tests done. Remove from oven to a cooling rack. If removing from the pan to serve, allow to cool for at least 20 minutes in pan. Run a knife around the edge and invert pan onto a plate or cooling rack. Remove parchment. Invert brownie again to be right side up onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
To serve, this can be simple and casual or dressed to the nines. For a simple presentation, dust with powdered sugar and cut into wedges to serve. Optionally, top each slice with additional cherry pie filling and/or whipped topping.
For a more formal presentation, use whipped topping, whipped cream or Whipped Cream Frosting to pipe a border of rosettes or a large shell border. Fill center with cherry topping. Dust with powdered sugar mixed with a little cocoa or top with chocolate curls.
An undecorated brownie can be stored at room temperature, but if decorated, keep any unused portion (if there is any!) refrigerated.
*You can user butter, margarine, shortening or oil in the recipe depending on your needs and availability. Shortening will produce a drier brownie and I do not recommend Spectrum shortening as this was very dry. If you don't have a soy oil based shortening available, use any light flavored liquid oil. If using shortening, you may find that shortening the baking time by a couple minutes produces a moister product.
Cherry Topping or Pie Filling
1 14 oz can sour pie cherries
1/2 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
2-3 Tbsp arrowroot starch
1 Tbsp Kirsh or other cherry brandy (optional)
Open can of cherries and drain liquid into a small saucepan. Try to get as much of the liquid out as possible. Whisk granulated sugar and arrowroot into the cherry juice.
Place pan over low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. This will take 10 minutes or more – be patient, it will thicken even though it seems like it never will.
Remove from heat and continue to whisk for a minute. Gently stir in cherries and Kirsch if using. Allow to cool, and then refrigerate. To fill a 9” pie, you will need to double this and use 2 cans of cherries.
Kathy Przywara is KFA's Volunteer Coordinator and Assistant Community Manager. She is known as "KathyP" on our forums and has contributed dozens of recipes to our Safe Eats® recipe collection.