Hibiscus and Cherry Brownies with Coconut Caramel by Hayley McKee

Ingredients

285 g good-quality dark chocolate (approx. 60% cocoa solids), broken into chunks
115 g unsalted butter
240 g raw (demerara) sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground star anise
1/4 tsp freshly ground cloves
240 g plain (all-purpose) flour
1/4 tsp salt
Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)

The Hibiscus and Cherry Soak:

25 g (1 cup) hibiscus petals, fresh or preserved
300 g (2 cups) morello cherries, pitted
500 ml (2 cups) red wine
250 ml (1 cup) sherry
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise, whole

The Coconut Caramel Sauce:

125 ml (1/2 cup) coconut milk
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
220 g (1 cup) coconut sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) water
60 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Method

Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F). Grease and line a 30 × 20 cm (12 × 8 in) brownie tin with baking paper.
For the hibiscus and cherry soak, bring all the ingredients to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer gently for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat, transfer to a container and leave to steep for a minimum of 1 hour, ideally overnight.

When ready to bake, gently melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until lukewarm, then whisk in the sugar, vanilla and eggs until evenly combined. Remove the cherries and petals from the steeping liquid and fold them gently into the brownie mixture together with the spices, flour and salt to form a batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes, or until set on the surface and lightly puffed up around the edges (this will give you the nice, gooey centre you are after here – so be sure not to over-bake!).
While the brownies are baking, make the coconut caramel sauce.

Warm the coconut milk in a small heavy-based saucepan set over a low heat. In a separate saucepan, whisk together the corn syrup, coconut sugar and water over a medium heat. Continue to whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved, then bring to the boil. Leave to bubble and froth up for 2–3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and carefully pour over the warm coconut milk. Add the butter and whisk to combine, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Remove the brownies from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, then cut into pieces. Dust with a little cocoa powder, if you like, and pour over the coconut caramel sauce to serve.

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