I’d like to say that I was fueling up for a winter hike or hard workout with these Trail Mix Brownies, but the truth is that sometimes you crave a gooey brownie while lounging on your couch and need a fix. I’ll vaguely attempt to rationalize the nutritional value of these dark chocolate dessert bars by saying that the addition of chopped dried cherries provides antioxidants, sliced almonds offer protein, and oats lend fiber but really they are straight up fudgy and satisfying. Enjoy… in moderation of course.
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I prefer 66% cocoa)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup quick oats
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
¼ cup sliced almonds
Place 1 to 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan then place a glass or metal bowl over the pot making sure it doesn’t touch the water. Add the butter and chopped chocolate to the bowl and adjust the heat under the pot to medium. Melt the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat an oven to 350ºF degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish insert a parchment sling that measures 6 ½” wide by 19” long lengthwise into the pan; allow 3 inches to hang over the ends. Grease the parchment paper as well.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until frothy, about 3 minutes. Whisk the cooled chocolate mixture into the sugar and egg combination then stir in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, salt, milk chocolate chips, chopped dried cherries, and sliced almonds. Gently fold these dry ingredients into the wet chocolate mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 38 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cook time. If your oven runs hot, test the brownies after 32 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs on it.
Set the pan of brownies on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting. Alternatively, refrigerate the brownies until cold for cleaner edges when cutting. Once cooled, grip the parchment handles that hang over the edges and gently lift the brownies from the pan. Cut brownies into squares with a very sharp knife, cleaning the cutting edge with hot water after each slice.
Article originally published in the Boston Herald on February 14, 2018.