The summer brings such beautiful bounty with it, that we almost don’t know what to do with so much inspiration! Tomatoes, plums, peaches, eggplants, berries...there seems to be a beautiful ingredient in every corner, begging to be added to the next recipe and enjoyed at its prime.
Shopping at the supermarket yesterday, a huge bag of glossy cherries won the battle of the berries getting my undivided attention. I love eating them on their own, because what is more exquisite than fresh fruit, straight out of mother nature’s kitchen?
But that bag was big, so I thought perhaps I could use some of them to make something a bit more creative. After scrolling through my favorite recipe idea generator, aka Pinterest, and finding some very handsome brownies with Maraschino cherries, this is what came out of my oven: almond and amaranth brownies with fresh cherries. I had a baking business in Peru a few years ago, and have done quite a bit of experimenting with cookies and cakes using quinoa, so I knew cooked amaranth would be a great idea, giving these brownies that delicious moist texture that I love.
If you’ve never used it, amaranth (we call it kiwicha) is an Andean seed from the same family as quinoa, wonderfully nutritious and versatile in the kitchen. Cook it just as you would quinoa (although it may take a bit longer), and also use it in similar ways, keeping in mind that amaranth is smaller and less grainy. The texture is a cross between quinoa and cooked oatmeal. Try it in these brownies, and see how you feel about it. I have no doubt it will be love at first bite!
**Bonus: Turn these brownies gluten-free by substituting the whole wheat flour with 1/2 almond flour and 1/2 cooked amaranth.
- ½ cup butter (melted)
- 1 cup Turbinado raw sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup cooked amaranth
- ¼ teaspoon Peruvian pink salt
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cups fresh cherries (pitted and coarsely chopped)
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Grease and flour a 15 x 15 inch (or similar) baking pan.
- Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl.
- Add the eggs and beat with a fork or hand whisk.
- Add the dry ingredients and the cooked amaranth and whisk until you have a smooth dough.
- Stir in the cherries.
- Pour the dough in the baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Let cool for half an hour.
- To unmold, pass a knife through the edges, turn over on a large dish or baking tray, and tap strongly to push it off the pan.
- Cut in equal portions and serve immediately or store in an airtight container, separated with parchment paper.