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Black Forest Brownie Bites

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black-forest-brownie-bites-300x2921The Whole Foods in Colorado Springs has this amazing Black Forest cake.  On my daughter’s and my son’s birthdays, I would always try to convince them to not have me make a cake at home, but to order a Black Forest cake.

Not only did they use tart cherries, but they had a buttercream frosting with a hint of almond extract that was virtually addicting.

My friend Stephanie and I met up at a farmer’s market a few weeks ago after she found this vendor who sells pitted tart cherries by the bucketful. Now, how could I resist trying to make brownies that taste like my favorite Black Forest cake?

Black Forest Brownie Bites

butter and granulated sugar for muffin pans
4 1/4 cups ultimate brownie mix (Click here)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Almond Buttercream (recipe follows)
2 cups tart cherries, fresh or from a can
1-2 tablespoons sugar (optional)*

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the insides of 12 standard muffin tins.  Dust the butter with sugar, just as you would with flour.  Set aside.

2. With a wooden spoon, combine brownie mix with eggs, butter, and vanilla. Mix until well combines. Divide batter among the muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the center brownies are cooked through. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Top with Almond buttercream. Mix cherries with sugar in a small bowl, and place a spoonful of cherries on each brownie bite.

*My tart cherries were already sweetened, so I didn’t need to add any sugar. If yours are unsweetened, add sugar to your liking.

Almond Buttercream

4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and almond extract with an electric mixer. Beat until smooth. Add in heavy cream, incorporating a little at a time to prevent splattering. When all the cream has been added, turn the mixer to high, and beat until soft peaks form.

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