I found this recipe at Fine cooking.com awhile back and put it in my file of recipes to try. We enjoy port after dinner and so do our friends, thankfully after a dinner party just enough port was left in the bottle to make this recipe! I made one change to the original recipe by using bittersweet chocolate instead of semisweet for the port-ganache topping. Our friend, Elias, who is the winemaker at Shafer will be surprised that not only did I put his port in the brownies but that I also ‘reduced’ it for the ganache topping.
For the port soaked cherries:
1/2 cup dried cherries, very coarsely chopped
1/3 cup port
For the brownies:
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the port-ganache topping:
1/2 cup port
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
Soak the cherries:
In a small saucepan, bring the cherries and the port to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Make the brownies:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9″ square metal pan.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in the sugar, followed by all four of the eggs and the vanilla. Stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt (I mix all these together before I stir them into the butter, egg, sugar mixture),
starting slowly to keep the ingredients from flying out of the pan and stiring more vigorously as you go. Stir until the batter is smooth, about 1 minute. Add the port soaked cherries.
Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it out to evenly fill the pan. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool the brownies on a rack.
Make the topping:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the port to a boil. Boil until the port is reduced to 2 tablespoons, 3-6 minutes. Pour it into a small bowl. Thoroughly rinse the pan. Bring the heavy cream to boil in the pan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the chopped chocolate and reduced port until mixture is smooth and the chocolate is melted.
Pour the ganache into a bowl and let it cool to room temperature, give it an occasional stir. When it’s cool, spread it evenly over the cooled brownies. Let the ganache set, it takes about an hour, before you cut into squares.
Keep the brownies at room temperature, well wrapped.