Chocolate-Cherry Fudge Bars

I come back to this recipe every February: chocolate, cherries, pink. Nice. And a real winner  if you’re a fan of marachino cherries and fudginess, which I

Quite festive, n'est-ce pas?

certainly am on both accounts.  I’ve tried substituting cocoa powder for the baking chocolate, and the baking chocolate comes out better. It’s also important not to overbake this recipe, or it will come out more cakey than fudgy. I pulled it from a collection of Kraft recipes years ago. I’m leaving out all the branding, but I’m sure if you use all Kraft products, the brownies will taste, umm, Krafty.

Chocolate-Cherry Fudge Bars

4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
3/4 c. butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1 pkg. (small–4 serving size) chocolate instant pudding dry mix (1/2 c.)
3/4 c. maraschino cherries, divided
7 T. maraschino cherry juice, divided
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 13×9″ baking pan with foil, ends extending over the side of the pans. Spray foil with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Heat chocolate and butter in small saucepan (or microwave in a bowl in 30 second increments) until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate has also melted. Add sugar and mix well. Blendin eggs and vanilla. Add flour and dry pudding mix. Combine. Stir in 1/2 c. of the chopped cherries and 5 T. (1/3 c.) of the cherry juice. Spread into the prepared pan.

3. Bake 30-35 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Place pan on a wire rack to cool.

4. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and remaining cherry juice until well blended. Drizzle over cooled dessert [I find this works best by dipping a fork into the glaze and quickly drizzling across the top of the brownies, moving from left to right; speed’s the key]. Top with remaining 1/4 c. cherries. Use foil handles to remove dessert from pan before cutting into bars. Store leftovers in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

Note: If using a glass baking dish, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees.

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