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Chocolate, Cherry and Walnut Brownies

These are to die for! I have had so much enjoyment (as you can imagine) trying out different versions of brownies and I think these tick all the boxes – rich, not too sweet, a little bit fruity and a little bit nutty, gooey in the middle with a crisp top.

makes nine to twelve good-sized brownies

takes about 25 minutes to bake

200g unsalted butter

200g dark chocolate

(70% cocoa solids), chopped

3 large eggs

300g granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

125g plain flour

a pinch of salt

100g dried cherries

100g walnut pieces

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4.

Grease and line an approximately 20 by 30cm rectangular baking tin, 3 to 4cm deep, with greaseproof or parchment paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or gently in the microwave. With an electric hand whisk, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until they are lovely and thick and creamy. Mix in the melted chocolate and butter. Finally stir in the flour, salt, cherries and walnuts. Pour into the baking tin and cook for about 25 minutes until the top is cracking and the centre is just set. Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve warm or, if you can resist leaving them, cold.

PS. . . If you’re a hard-core chocoholic, you can have a double-chocolate fix by adding 150g chopped milk or white chocolate chunks to the mixture before baking. To serve the brownies as a dessert, whip up a delicious orange mascarpone cream to serve with them. Beat together 200g mascarpone, 50g sifted icing sugar and the finely grated zest of 1 small orange until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. If it seems too thick, just beat in some milk to loosen. Serve a big spoonful on top of the warm brownies so it melts over them.

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