Gluten Free Chocolate Covered Cherries Brownies Recipe
Tomorrow is my father’s 88th birthday. He has a special fondness for chocolate covered cherries and all things that combine the flavors of chocolate and cherries. I am always trying to come up with tasty gluten free treats for him that feature his favs.
When my Dad came to live with us about a year and a half ago we were uncertain as to whether he would see his next birthday much less the next one. But I am happy to say, Dad is doing just fine these days!
For anyone that has elderly parents in not the best of health living with them, you know there are challenges. Often my father’s appetite is less than hearty; he would rather eat sweets than protein and has a bit of the “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” attitude.
I get torn between trying to get him to eat healthy stuff and the idea “hey, he is 88 years old – let him eat what he wants.” In truth, being a caretaker for an elderly parent is somewhat similar to raising kids.
So I just do what I did with my kids: I trick him! I make treats that are of course gluten free, but often dairy free and I often cut way back on the refined sugar and sneak in the healthy stuff without saying a word. It is an arrangement that makes him happy and me feel better.
These brownies are gluten and dairy free, replace bad butter fat with good coconut fat, use coconut sugar instead of refined sugar and they also happen to taste amazing – rich chocolate brownies studded with sweet maraschino cherries and topped with a decadent dairy free chocolate ganache. These brownies aren’t health food, but they are certainly a healthier alternative to a big box of chocolate covered cherries or “regular” brownies!
Serve with an ice cold glass of (dairy free) milk!
Click here to see my cooking demonstration of this recipe on Daytime TV!
- Gluten-free nonstick cooking spray
- 24 maraschino cherries without stems – use divided
- 12 ounces dairy free dark chocolate chips – use divided
- 1 cup coconut oil (solidified)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons tapioca or corn starch
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract – use divided
- ½ cup coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with gluten-free nonstick cooking spray. Place a piece of foil or parchment paper into the pan letting it hang over two of the edges by a couple of inches. Lightly spray the foil or paper with more nonstick cooking spray.
Dry the cherries well with paper towels. Keep 16 of them whole and coarsely chop the remainder. Set aside.
Combine 8 ounces of chocolate chips with the coconut oil in a food processor. Pulse a few times to break up the chips a bit. Add the eggs, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, tapioca or corn starch, espresso powder (if using), 2 teaspoons of vanilla and process for about 45 seconds. The mixture will not be completely smooth, that’s fine.
Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Place the whole cherries on top of the batter in four rows of four each. Top with the remaining batter, smooth the top and bake for 35 minutes or until the brownies are firm to the touch and appear baked through. Let cool for 10 minutes.
While the brownies are cooling, pour the remaining 4 ounces of chips into a bowl, heat the coconut milk with the remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla until it just begins to boil and pour the coconut milk over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 5 minutes and then stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour the chocolate mixture over the brownies and sprinkle the reserved chopped cherries over the top. Refrigerate for at least an hour or until the brownies are fully cooled and the ganache has firmed up. Pull the brownies from the pan with the foil or parchment, put on a cutting board and cut into 2 inch pieces.
The brownies are easier to cut when cold but taste best when the chill has come off them so it is preferable to let them sit out of the fridge for about 10 minutes before serving.
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