Feb 20, 2011

Barcelona Brownie Bars (and Madeleines) with Cherries Macerated in Kirsch

I love the word "macerate." It sounds so much more stylish than "soak." Especially if you are macerating something--dried cherries in this case--in kirsch. My Free Choice cake is a reprise of the Barcelona Brownies, but with said cherries macerated in said kirsch substituting for the pecans. And no ganache plugs this time because 1) they caused me trouble last time and 2) they're really not necessary because these brownies are so moist and lovely on their own.

As I write, we are having Blizzard #22 in Minnesota. To be honest, it may not be the 22nd blizzard but it feels like it. At least with the brownies in hand, and the short ribs in red wine I'm planning to make tomorrow, we'll be happy in our snowed-in condition. I don't want to hear a peep out of those of you who live in Florida or anyplace else where it's 80 degrees outside.

I'm done with my winter rant now and will go back to the cake. When I was looking for a cake to do for Free Choice week, I saw this variation. But when I went to my liquor cabinet, which, as you know, has grown mightily during this cake-baking project, I found that I was - oddly - bereft of either kirsch or cherry heering. Did I really want to invest more money in another bottle of some obscure liqueur? Oh, sure. But not cherry heering, which sounds too much like fish.

I did something that I thought was very clever, and that saved a pan. The directions say to melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, and then transfer it to the mixing bowl. I just used the mixing bowl as the top of the double boiler. OK, maybe everyone else has thought of this too, but I'm usually such a slave to the directions that I feel inordinately pleased with myself when I do something more or less creative.

In no time at all, the batter is mixed up and ready to be poured into the financier pans (or whatever). I swear I own two financier pans. I must, because I've made numerous batches of financiers. But I could only locate one of them. I decided to use my madeleine pan for the leftover batter. Financier/madeleine: they're both French words, right?

45 grams of batter went into each financier slot, whereas the madeleine pans held only about 20 grams each. At 12 minutes, when I checked the financiers, they were very liquid. I checked again at 15: still not done. A surprise, because usually my convection oven, set 25 degrees lower, finishes fast. I decided that at low temps (325F - 300 in the convection), maybe there wasn't much of a difference. I raised the temperature to 325 and removed them from the oven after another few minutes. Two of them were still not completely done, but Jim and I ate them to protect other people from the horror of underdone brownies.

I was going to drizzle them with a little cream cheese frosting, but, after tasting them, decided they didn't need anything else. My investment club is meeting at my house on Tuesday, and I'll sprinkle them with powdered sugar before I serve them, assuming any are left. Perhaps we'll be moved to invest in a chocolate company. Or in NordicWare.

The tasting panel was called on account of the blizzard, and the brownies, as of Sunday night, were tasted only by Jim and me, both of whom were crazy about them.


Monica said...

Marie, I'm going to talk to the weather gods and make sure to send you some florida weather your way... right away!

We got plenty to go around!

Marie said...

I'll be waiting.

Vicki said...

Madeleine Brownies~brilliant! That storm of your's made the news out west. What a whopper! The weather in northern California is so peculiar....literally 32 degrees at night, first sunny day with snow snarling the foothills, rain coming back yet again, with daffodils and trees blooming. The horses have shed out their winter coats and now it's back to freezing. But it's better than zero visibility fog.

doughadear said...

The snow that hit you earlier is now descending on us. I'll be so glad when this brutal winter is finally over. Hopefully by the time we get back from our week in the Dominican it will be almost done.

Anyway your little chocolate morsels look devine and I would be quite happy indulging in a few myself.

Jenn said...

Marie, it looks awesome and yummy. Love your substitution to cherry.

HanaĆ¢ said...

I’m with you on the weather comment as well as the Cherry Heering sounding like fish :o) Funny, I made Brownie Bars too (so did Raymond). I was certain I’d be the only one since these have been made very early on in our bake-along (not that I was trying to be unique). I considered going the “dried fruit” route (craisins + OJ) but couldn’t figure out if you throw away the soaking liquid, I mean, the liquid that the dried fruit has macerated in :o), or if you use both the remaining liquid and the macerated fruit. So I subbed almonds for pecans and used my mini brioche molds. Your Madeleine brownies are cute!
Btw, have you tried making my Baghrir recipe yet? (for those who haven’t seen my post, Baghrir are yeasted Moroccan pancakes).

evil cake lady said...

Good call on the macerated cherries in kirsch--yum! I do not envy your winter weather any year but particularly this year--I hope you get a nice spring thaw soon.

Marie said...

Oh--daffodils sound heavenly!

When are you going to the DR? We're leaving for Puerto Rico in two weeks. I'll be happy to leave winter behind.

I wish I could say I'd made the cherry brownies for Washington's Birthday, but I didn't think about that until now. Maybe I'll claim it anyway.

I didn't know about the liquid either, but there was very little left after the cherries had plumped, so I tossed it in along with the cherries.
I haven't made the waffles yet--I have so many things on my "to try" list!

We were having a lovely thaw only last week, with temperatures in the low 50's several times. A lot of snow melted last week; otherwise there'd be no place to put this new stuff.

doughadear said...

We're leaving for Punta Cana in two weeks as well.
We'll almost be swimming distance apart.

liquor cabinet said...

it looks delicious. Love it.