Yield: 8 small black forest brownies // Total Time: 50 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Thick, rich, delicious small-batch black forest brownies that are LOADED with cherries!
Why you’ll love these small batch black forest brownies
If you LOVE cherries, these brownies are just what you’ve been looking for! These brownies are rich, so chocolatey & extremely fudgy. Besides that, they are absolutely loaded with a homemade cherry jam, both in the middle of the brownies and dolloped on top. They’re finished off with some whipped cream, cocoa powder & cherries for delicious aesthetic purposes! Also, of course, they are small batch and come together in just 1 small loaf pan.
We’ll make a super easy homemade cherry jam and whipped cream for these brownies, but you can definitely skip that and use storebought cherry jam and whipped cream to make these even easier (& quicker to eat!) Note that these brownies do take a little bit longer to bake than my standard small-batch brownies due to the moisture from the cherries. If you choose to use a storebought cherry jam, I would definitely recommend checking the brownies around the 25-minute mark for doneness.
Why do you post small batch recipes?
I love making small batch bakes because they are the perfect size myself and others who don’t have a lot of people to bake for in their home. Small batch helps cut down on waste and eliminates the feeling that all that excess dessert MUST be eaten. Here on my blog I like to post a mix of small batch and “regular batch” recipes from time to time. All my recipes can easily be doubled or tripled to fit your need, so long as you use grams to measure!
Weigh your ingredients
- Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient and can easily throw off a recipe. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Mix the batter carefully
- When adding in the flour, only fold the mixture just until no flour streaks remain. Overmixing the dough leads to more gluten formation, which can make the brownies tough and chewy rather than fudgy.
Get those perfectly crackled brownie tops
- The secret to getting those perfectly crackled tops is all in the eggs! In my perfect fudge brownies recipe, I beat together the eggs and sugar separately for ~4-5 minutes which helps contribute to a wonderful, fool-proof crackled top every time. However, this recipe is a small batch and meant for when you want brownies without a ton of hassle. So, to get a slightly crackled top just be sure to vigorously beat in the egg for at least 1 minute!
How to get perfect brownie slices
- Brownies and bars can be annoying to cut, especially when they start dragging the batter and it seems like half of the brownies have ended up on your knife! To get perfect brownie cuts, get a clean knife and a tall glass of hot water. Dip the knife in the hot water, then make a slice in the brownies. Continue dipping and slicing to be left with perfectly cut brownie slices!
How to tell when brownies are done baking
- Fudge brownies are a little more difficult to tell when they’re done since they are essentially meant to be a little raw! For that reason, I definitely don’t recommend using the standard toothpick test. Instead, you’ll know that your brownies are done when the edges have fully set and the middle of the brownies just BARELY move when the pan is jiggled. The listed time for baking is 30 minutes which is true if your oven is at 350F and are using a standard metal baking dish. I highly recommend using an oven thermometer so you know if your oven is actually the temperature it claims to be.
Ingredients and substitutions
For the cherry jam:
Cherries: the star of the show! I recommend using fresh, but in a pinch you can use frozen as well.
Granulated sugar: we’ll use a little bit of sugar to sweeten up the jam.
Corn starch: to thicken up the jam. If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use double the amount of all-purpose flour in its place.
Lemon juice: can be fresh or bottled. Lime juice will work well here too.
For the brownies:
All purpose flour: lends some structure to the brownies and makes them slightly chewy.
Salt: helps balance and bring out the sweetness and flavor of the brownies.
Unsalted butter: makes the brownies tender and gives them that melt-in-your-mouth feel. You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted, just be sure to omit the extra salt from the brownies.
Semi-sweet chocolate: where the main flavor of these brownies comes from! I use chocolate chips as I have noticed that they are better for bringing out that crackled top when compared to using a baking bar. Make sure you use good quality chocolate chips here as this part makes up the entire flavor of the brownies!
Granulated sugar: sweetens the brownies, helps lock in moisture in the batter, and helps contribute to that perfect crackled top.
Dutch process cocoa: lends a deeper chocolate flavor to the brownies. I love using dutch process cocoa because it has a deeper and richer flavor than natural cocoa, but natural cocoa or even black cocoa powder can easily be substituted in here.
Instant espresso*: helps bring out the chocolate flavor from the chocolate and cocoa (*optional but strongly recommended!)
Egg: binds the brownie batter together, adds moisture to the brownies, and is the main contributor to getting that perfectly crackled top.
For the whipped cream:
Heavy whipping cream: to make some homemade whipped cream for topping these brownies.
Granulated sugar: we’ll use a little bit of sugar to slightly sweeten the cream.
Vanilla bean paste: for flavor and to see those cute little bean specks! You can easily substitute in vanilla extract. This is the vanilla bean paste I use and love.
How to: small batch black forest brownies
Here are the steps to follow to make these brownies. You can find the complete recipe (which is printable!) at the end of this blog post.
1. Make the cherry jam. Wash, pit, and cut the cherries in half. Add the cherries and sugar to a small saucepan set over medium heat, mixing and mashing down the cherries until the mixture comes to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and lemon juice together, then whisk it into the jam constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and set it in the fridge to cool.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate. Start by melting together the butter and chocolate, either in the microwave or on the stovetop. Once the mixture is completely melted and smooth, whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar until well combined.
3. Whisk in the egg. This step is super important in getting that classic and desirable brownie crinkle top. You’re going to want to whisk the egg vigorously for at least 1 minute into the batter.
4. Add in the dry ingredients. Add in the flour, salt, and instant espresso (if using). Fold the mixture gently until a few flour streaks remain, then add in the chocolate chips and cherries and fold just until no flour streaks remain.
5. Bake. Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan, then top it with ~2/3 of the cherry jam. Layer on the rest of the brownie batter, followed by dollops of the remaining jam. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are set and the middle only slightly wobbles.
6. Make the whipped cream. Beat together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
7. Serve and enjoy! Slice the brownies once they have cooled to room temperature, then top them with whipped cream and enjoy!
Small batch black forest brownies Q & A
What size loaf pan do I need?
- I used an 8×4″ loaf pan for these brownies, but if 9×5″ is all you have on hand then it will be perfect for the job! Just note that in a larger loaf pan, the brownies will be a tad thinner and therefore will require a little less baking time (probably 2-3 minutes less.) Also – I always use and recommend metal baking pans. If you are using a glass baking dish, your bakes will take much longer.
Can I double these small batch black forest brownies?
- If you are looking for a larger batch of brownies, you can check out my perfect fudge brownies recipe! It is essentially this recipe tripled and baked in an 8″ square pan, just be sure to triple the amount of cherry jam and add that in as well. If you’re looking for more & thicker brownies, use that recipe!
Do I need to use instant espresso?
- Not if you don’t want to! The instant espresso is simply there to compliment and enrich the flavor of the chocolate, you can’t really taste it in them. However, if you are avoiding espresso for any reason you can definitely leave it out and you will still have delicious fudge brownies.
How to store small batch black forest brownies
- Without the whipped cream on top, these brownies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days. With the whipped cream (or without) they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
Did you make these small batch black forest brownies?
If you made these small batch black forest brownies I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Small Batch Black Forest Brownies
- 170 g cherries pitted (1 c.)
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Black Forest Brownies
- 56 g unsalted butter (¼ c.)
- 135 g semi-sweet chocolate chips divided (½ c. + ¼ c.)
- 12 g dutch process cocoa (2 tbsp.)
- 100 g granulated sugar (½ c.)
- 1 egg
- 40 g all purpose flour (⅓ c.)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. instant espresso powder *optional
- 40 g cherries (¼ c.)
- 75 g heavy cream (⅓ c.)
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. vanilla
- Wash, pit, and cut the cherries in half.
- Add the cherries and sugar to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Stir and mash down the cherries ocasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and lemon juice.
- While constantly whisking the cherries, pour the corn starch slurry into the saucepan. Continue to constantly whisk until the mixture thickens (~2 minutes.)
- Remove the cherry jam from the heat and place it in the fridge to cool while making the brownie batter.
Black Forest Brownies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Butter and line an 8×4" loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Wash, pit, and cut the cherries in half.
- In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, melt together the butter and 90g (½ c.) chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval.
- Once the mixture is melted and smooth, whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.
- Add in the egg and whisk vigorously for at least 1 minute. The longer you whisk, the more prominent the shiny crackled top!
- Add in the flour, salt, and espresso powder (if using). Use a rubber spatula to lightly fold the flour into the ingredients. When there are only a few streaks of flour remaining, add in the remaining 45g (¼ c.) of chocolate chips and the cherries. Fold just until no flour streaks remain.
- Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan, then top it with ~2/3 of the cherry jam. Layer on the rest of the brownie batter, followed by dollops of the remaining jam. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are set and the middle only slightly wobbles.
- Beat together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
- Slice the brownies once they have cooled to room temperature, then top them with whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa powder & cherries. Serve and enjoy!
I would love to make these…can I use canned, red tart cherries???
You can definitely sub those in for the jam, hope you enjoy!